Saturday, January 21, 2012
Is This Who?!?!
(In case you can't see the name that iPhoto proposes for Mitt Romney, the question it asks is, "Is this Ronald Reagan?")
Alas, the Fickle Finger of Pols in Need of Populist Love
The European parliament pressed on Wednesday for a crackdown on film and music piracy on the Internet, raising fears among online rights groups that a new law will soon follow.
January 20, 2011:
Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes has joined the throng of high-profile opponents to the controversial US internet legislation Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). In a message on her Twitter feed, Kroes said: "glad tide is turning on SOPA: don't need bad legislation when should be safeguarding benefits of open net".It’s nothing new: the cultural mucki-mucks of the continent’s zeitgeist, even former Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes: they’ve always like the idea of legalizing the theft of other people’s IP, as long as it isn’t European.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Don’t Mention Les Talibanlieusardes
I suppose the point is to throw red meat at their own delusions and find some contrivance of "social realism” that feeds their prejudices that the whole of the United States (apart from those who are too well off are a slum.
To delve into the topic of social inequality in the United States, a French university has turned to a slice of American popular culture: the HBO series The Wire.So they turn to ‘political art’. How cute. Never mind the fact that most French people who ask about life in America still think that it’s 1958 in the American south, most of them also seem to condescendingly want to believe by extension that dramas like “The Wire” represent all urban America, and all African Americans.
The critically acclaimed show, created by former journalist David Simon, had previously been the subject of a course at Harvard, but now will be used by students at Paris' University Nanterre La Défense to look in on American social ills from the outside.
From January 13 to June 1, several seminars will take place within the walls of the university, the latest tribute to the gritty realism of a series depicting the largely African-American, crime-plagued neighborhoods of Baltimore. The course will focus on subjects such as the American city, the representation of African Americans and the role of institutions as they are depicted in The Wire.
As if these things weren’t universal enough to make them realize that they are no better, while their strange fantasies about American society continue: they play at detesting it, and pretend that they need to prove they’ve got a “street cred” in that same “fake thug” fantasy world that their own pop culture is assuming American cities to be.
Nanterre c’est west side yo. Pour faire un « The Wire » en France faudrait surtout trouver un journaliste qui limite pas ses enquêtes à son compte twitter.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Photos From the Tuscany Coast
Le naufrage du navire, qui a coûté la vie à 11 personnes, a offert une série d'images plus saisissantes les unes que les autres, illustrations de la course au gigantisme que se livrent les armateurs.
A Non-2-Dimensional European Reads the Newspaper
The truth is that Italy wastes its subsidies and uses the costliest sources. Nuclear energy was mothballed before the power stations were fully depreciated, bringing forward billion-euro decommissioning costs by decades. In 1992, Italy adopted the CIP 6 measures, which for assimilated energy – gas treated as a renewable source – will end up adding €20 billion in incentives to bills over its 15 or 20-year lifespan. In 2007, energy watchdog chair Alessandro Ortis managed to put a €600 million cut in place by interpreting the avoided fuel cost’s tariff component very strictly. But this only lasted two years until the Council of State upheld appeals from the big groups that had cornered all the public resources. Compensatory price hikes loom.
In 2012, aid for renewables gets into full stride. Some €160-170 billion is budgeted from 2005 to 2034, much of it concentrated in this decade. It’s a huge burden on household energy bills without even creating a national manufacturing base for the sector,
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
For a Country Always Giving Yanks Lessons on Civility and Gun Control, There Has Been an Amazing Amount of Kalashnikov-Related Killings
[À Marseille] le mois de décembre a vu s'enchaîner des meurtres spectaculaires.In the land that is always giving clueless Yanks lessons on gun control and on remaining civilized and in a Zen state of conscience, Le Monde features on its front page the photo of… a 17-year-old gunned down by a Kalashnikov burst.
Indeed, while Frenchmen remain blinded (or because they remain blinded) to all types of crimes — as noted in Pamela Gellar's Atlas Shrugs story on the Serial Rapist in France [Who] Asks Victims Their Nationality and Religion Before Raping Them (hmm — what religion might he be part of?!) — we learn that homicides and attempted homicides are rising amidst bursts of Kalashnikov fire and spectacular murders.
An investigation by Yves Bordenave and Laurent Borredon into the Marseilles drug rings teaches us the following:
Le rituel est le même dans chaque cité. Les policiers ont à peine montré le bout de leur calandre que le "Arrraaah !" retentit de bloc en bloc, d'immeuble en immeuble, de cage d'escalier en cage d'escalier. Les guetteurs, des gamins, pas plus de 15 ans, veillent avec vigilance sur le commerce de la drogue. Parfois, un ou deux scooters escortent le véhicule jusqu'à ce qu'il sorte de la cité. Font-Vert, le Clos la Rose, la Castellane... toutes sont touchées, organisées, structurées par le trafic.
… cela fait en réalité trois ans que ces cités se mènent une guerre qui ensanglante la ville. Dans son bureau de l'hôtel de police, à l'Evêché, Roland Gauze, le patron de la police judiciaire (PJ) marseillaise, fait ses comptes : "En 2010, dans Marseille, on a dénombré 54 homicides et tentatives dont 17 relevaient de règlements de comptes ; en 2011, on a fini à 38 homicides et tentatives dont 20 règlements de comptes."
Une année plus calme donc, mais gâchée par un mois de décembre particulièrement meurtrier. Cinq morts en quatre semaines. Cinq jeunes hommes, dont un policier, tombés sous les rafales des kalachnikovs. Les victimes ont entre 18 et 38 ans. Elles sont plus ou moins connues des services de police pour leur implication à des degrés divers dans des trafics de drogue. Le scénario : deux ou trois individus cagoulés font irruption dans une cité, armés le plus fréquemment d'une kalachnikov. Ils s'approchent de leur cible, vident le chargeur et repartent à bord de puissants 4 × 4 aussi vite qu'ils sont apparus. "Les gains en argent sont tellement faciles, alors on tue", explique Yves Robert, délégué du SNOP, le syndicat majoritaire chez les officiers.
Parfois, la violence monte d'un cran encore. Dans la nuit du 25 au 26 décembre 2011, trois cadavres de jeunes gens ont été découverts en partie calcinés sur le siège arrière d'une Audi A3 aux Pennes-Mirabeau, à quelques encablures de la Canebière. Ils avaient 19 et 20 ans. Les hommes de la BAC se souviennent d'avoir contrôlé l'un d'eux quelques jours avant sa mort : "Il portait un gilet pare-balles !" Leurs assassins les ont exécutés à l'arme automatique avant d'incendier leur voiture pour faire disparaître toutes traces, certes, mais aussi pour marquer les esprits. Pour impressionner l'ennemi, on ne lésine ni sur les moyens ni sur la méthode.
Yves Bordenave and Laurent Borredon point out that there are places that the police do not dare go.
Une course-poursuite débute. Elle tourne court dans un cul-de-sac. Le passager s'enfuit en courant. Un policier le poursuit, mais revient vite : l'homme s'est engagé dans une zone d'ombre, où une dizaine de personnes veillent. "Trop dangereux", explique-t-il. Rien à reprocher au conducteur, connu des policiers mais resté sur place. Un coup pour rien.
… Des réseaux, il y en a des dizaines. "Impossible à chiffrer", indique prudemment Roland Gauze. Chacun veille, arme au pied, à défendre son territoire, sa part de marché. Le kalachnikov, c'est le nec plus ultra, un signe ostensible de puissance qui a remplacé le fusil à pompe d'antan. Ça fait du bruit. Ça impressionne. Mais les récentes saisies ont mis fin au fantasme d'un déferlement de mitraillettes sur le Vieux-Port. Il s'agit souvent d'armes anciennes ayant déjà servi.
A chaque opération, les enquêteurs mettent la main sur des butins à peu près identiques : quelques dizaines de kilos de cannabis, quelques milliers d'euros en liquide et quelques armes. A la Visitation, les salaires mensuels variaient de 5 000 euros pour les plus mal payés (les guetteurs) à 10 000 euros pour le "charbonneur".
Alan’s Parsing Project
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
A Love that Dare not Speak His Name
Anti-Americanism is, of course, as European as ApfelstrudelHe goes on to detail implausibly stupid Norwegian attempts at comparing US troops to, you guessed it, the Nazis:
Still, it wasn’t until I ran across an article the other day in the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet that I realized European anti-Americanism, thanks to Urinegate, is once again in full bloom. The article, written by somebody named Asbjørn Svarstad, begins by noting that the American soldiers who filmed themselves urinating on dead Taliban members may not be the first GIs to have behaved in such a manner. “American commandos who were dropped over Snåsa [in northern Norway] toward the end of World War II,” writes Asbjørn Svarstad, “are suspected of having displayed the same kind of contempt for their enemies.”It’s also worth noting that this blog gets a great number of its’ hits from the European continent from image searches, having posted a few pictures of Hitler in various articles, we have become enlightened to a larger European public, not just those we meet having a “nuanced” view of the murderous Charlie Chaplin impersonator.
The main character in Svarstad’s story is none other than William Colby, who would later become head of the CIA but who back in 1945 was a 24-year-old major in charge of the Norwegian Special Operation Group (NORSO) under the command of the OSS. NORSO, which sounds rather like Brad Pitt’s unit in Inglourious Basterds, consisted of Norwegian-Americans and Norwegians who were operating behind enemy lines on a mission called Operation RYPE. On May 2, 1945, Colby’s men, who were stationed at a farm called Gjevsjøen, were discovered by five German soldiers, whom they quickly dispatched. According to Svarstad, local Norwegians – and here’s the meat of the story – later claimed that they were then invited by the Americans to urinate on the Germans’ corpses.
One of Svarstad’s sources is Norwegian journalist Ola Flyum, whom he describes as an authority on how northern Norway experienced World War II. Flyum’s verdict on the NORSO episode is as follows: “This kind of behavior says a great deal about the way in which the Americans conducted themselves. The Norwegians were shaken. Such a culture was unknown to them. I see many reasons to examine whether this was a war crime.”
Yes, you read that right. The local Norwegians had lived for five years under the Nazis, who had come to subdue and tyrannize them, to execute troublemakers and cart Jews off to their deaths. But, if Flyum is to be believed, the real trauma for these folks was being invited by their American liberators to relieve themselves on the bodies of their oppressors
So it comes as a shock to us that those same anti-Americans also use him their silent hero as a stick to beat people with. The posted articles’ comments he cites are even more masturbatory:
A couple of readers cited the Allied bombing of Dresden as proof that America and the western Allies were at least as bad as the Nazis; one recalled having “seen videos from WWII of P51 planes mowing down German farmers in May 1945.” Several readers insisted that it wasn’t the Western Allies that whupped the Nazis and freed Norway, but the Soviets: “America would have been a**-f***ed in a one-on-one against Nazi Germany.”And in a unsurprising turn among leftists, we find elitism, racism, cultural condescention, and fictional assumptions about their straw-man, one no different than the type the Nazis cultivated in “The Eternal Jew”:
A running theme was that American soldiers are, as one reader put it, “typical American white trash.” Indeed, the words “white trash” recurred frequently. Left-wing readers who undoubtedly pride themselves on their purported respect for people (especially the underprivileged) of all races and religions, and who fret about the human rights of even the most loathsome members of the species (such as Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden), were quick to deride American GIs as poor, dumb – and, indeed, barely human – hicks: “There’s no doubt that white trash from the US…have lukewarm attitudes toward morality. Without the local minister and sheriff they fumble around, unwashed and drunk, and rape, kill, and film their crimes. They’re garbage.”I only point this out because it is banal and typical of any bar-room on the continent, and because it seems to be the only public evidence of Europe’s cultural legacy, having otherwise abandoned any virtues not connected with the kind of enforcement of public morality that the state would dispense.
What then is the result of all of that helpless grasping for proof of their being right in their attitudes? A strange, nearly erotic affection for Nazis.
Le Monde Suggests that the Fault for the Concordia's Shipwreck Belongs Not to Captain Schettino, But to… American Capitalism!
Elsewhere in Le Monde, we hear (from Sylvain Cypel) that the Republicans, or that their debates, as well as their focus on capitalism (imagine: private equity!), let off a nauseous stench, no less.
And so, it should come as no surprise that, even if it is only one paragraph in a major article in Le Monde, at one point in his portrait of the Concordia's skipper, Philippe Ridet seems to find that the fault for the shipwreck lies not with Francesco Schettino, but with… capitalism — making sure to point out that the culprit is American capitalism!
Francesco Schettino, un coupable idéal ? Pour la compagnie, propriété de la société américaine Carnival qui règne sur les trois quarts du marché des croisières avec Royal Caribbean, la thèse de l'erreur humaine est essentielle. Alors que l'action de Carnival a perdu, le 12 janvier, 17 % à la Bourse de Londres, l'entreprise doit à tout prix sauver au moins sa réputation. Costa, qui avait prévu de serrer ses prix en 2012 pour affronter la crise, prévoit une perte de 90 millions d'euros, soit le chiffre d'affaires attendu par le Concordia en 2012. Le navire, assuré pour une valeur de 450 millions de dollars, effectuait une rotation par semaine sur un parcours passant par Savone (Ligurie), Barcelone, Palma, Tunis, Palerme, Civitavecchia (Latium).
I know the Taste of our Readership...
All Metrobuses are now equipped with drivecam systems, which capture these types of incidents. When WTOP asked for drivecam videos from August and September, we received 134 near-collision videos, along with dozens showing collisions, traffic violations and even pedestrian accidents.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Ah, l’Éloquence: Politics Highlights Importance of Language in France
The French are in love with wordswrites Christine Ockrent.
Written words, spoken words, words to sing or to scream or to declaim. Their elite schools train them to believe that once they forge an elegant formula, the problem they have to confront is already half solved.
Nowhere does it show better than in politics.
…a few days ago [François Hollande] published an “open letter to the French” in the newspaper Libération. It is two full pages long, beautifully written, an ode to the basic principles of the Republic and a description of the many evils the Sarkozy regime purportedly inflicted on the country.
All the right words are there: truth, willpower, justice, hope, the suffering of the common people; the need to contain the deficits, reduce inequalities, share wealth and regulate markets; the decisive moment for our future and that of our children. In short, a great piece of French political literature — completely abstract and theoretical from beginning to end, and almost impossible to translate into any other language.
Here’s a sample: “The French are suffering. They are suffering in their own lives ... . They are also suffering in their collective soul; they feel there is contempt for the values and the institutions of the Republic, the social contract is under attack, the influence of the country is damaged and they watch with anger France being humbled, weakened, damaged, downgraded.”»
… Language in France is a major issue. Politicians feel compelled to publish a book if they want to be taken seriously. Whether they actually write it is another matter — it is not considered proper to name a ghostwriter. [Nicolas Sarkozy] has put his name to three books, Hollande to at least four.
The latter is a master at the profuse and crisp vocabulary of the well-educated senior civil servant. The former, a business lawyer, tends to take liberties with grammar — and the French do not like that. …
Sarkozy believed that at the start of the 21st century, the French wanted a young, energetic, modern leader who talked like them, after 26 years under two aging presidents locked in old-time rhetoric. It turned out he was wrong. He has since assumed the sort of public restraint and presidential solemnity expected of their president by the French.
The Rest of the Time the Bien Pensants are Enamored with Jew Killers
"SS canonised," leads Tageszeitung, with a front-page photo of the leader of the Nazi organisation, Heinrich Himmler, on a visit to SS volunteers in Estonia in October 1943.The most amusing part is the sudden shock that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” might apply to their ugly past.
The Berlin daily is referring to a bill that the Estonian Minister of Defence is hoping to have adopted in March. According to the text, all those who took part in the fight against the Soviet Union during the Second World War will be granted the status of “freedom fighters,” which includes Estonian members of the SS
Sunday, January 15, 2012
According to Clint Eastwood's Screenwriter, J Edgar Hoover Is the Dark Side of Harvey Milk, the Latter Being a Hero and the Former a Monster
In an interview with Le Monde's Samuel Blumenfeld (that accompanies Thomas Sotinel's Behind the FBI, Clint Eastwood Targets America), Dustin Lance Black makes the following comparison (retranslated back from the French):
I cannot help but see in Hoover the dark side of Harvey Milk. The latter came out of the closet to start a fight for freedom. Hoover repressed his homosexuality to become, in the end, a monster.
Je ne peux m'empêcher de voir en Hoover la part obscure d'Harvey Milk. Ce dernier est sorti du placard pour engager un combat pour les libertés. Hoover a refoulé son homosexualité pour, au final, devenir un monstre.
I Never Ask for an Explanation of Past Positions
Germany and Italy undermine French bid for financial taxSo if we use the EUvian attitude toward Britain as an example, aren’t Germany and Italy “isolating themselves”? Seriously, where are the comparisons to the sinking of the Titanic here?
German and Italian leaders at a meeting in Berlin said they would only back a financial transactions tax at the level of the EU-27, not just the eurozone-17, dampening France's campaign for the levy. Merkel said her earlier comment on Monday backing a eurozone-17 tax was a "personal opinion" only.