Saturday, March 30, 2013

France, the Eldorado of America's Fast-Food Chains

La France est le pays où les KFC sont les plus rentables, avec un chiffre d'affaires par restaurant de 3 millions d'euros en moyenne, à peine inférieur à celui du leader du secteur, McDonald's (3,4 millions d'euros). C'est pour cette raison que KFC a démarré sa conquête de l'Europe par l'Hexagone.
   Remember all the brouhaha about America's awful food and the malbouffe that their fastfood joints are introducing to le pays de la gastronomie? No, neither do we.

In a full-page Le Monde article (La France, paradis du fast-food américain), Chloé Hecketsweiler and Julien Dupont-Calbo explain that for fast-food chains, France is a paradise and an Eldorado, a country that provides the largest number of restaurants and in which they make their best sales, in addition to being the nation that the Yanks in the mold of Ray Croc invariably use as a stepping stone to other markets in Europe.

   The hamburger has become haute couture in France, the country has become the second-largest market for McDonald's, Burger King's Marseille outlet attracts 2,000 customers per day, and Kentucky Fried Chicken opened its 150th restaurant recently (KFC is already busy planning for the next 150).

More McDonald's articles here…
Ivan Schofield, le directeur général pour l'Europe de l'Ouest de KFC … [le] patron britannique du groupe américain n'est pourtant pas très enclin à discuter malbouffe, même avec son français impeccable. Il voudrait plutôt parler de l'inauguration du 150e KFC de France, situé dans le centre commercial de Rivesaltes (Pyrénées-Orientales), au bout des pistes de l'aéroport de Perpignan.

Pour KFC, ce chiffre est un vrai cap. "Nous voulons ouvrir 150 restaurants [de plus] d'ici à 2017, ce qui devrait représenter 17 % de croissance annuelle jusqu'à cette date", dit M. Schofield. Les ventes dans l'Hexagone ont déjà bondi de 8 % en 2012. Devant son expresso, il ne doute pas un instant que ses poulets figureront souvent au menu des Français, aux côtés des burgers de McDonald's ou des sandwichs de Subway.

Véritable eldorado pour le groupe américain, la France n'est pas pour autant un marché facile à conquérir. "Le déploiement demande beaucoup de temps et d'argent", explique M. Schofield. KFC cherche "des emplacements en périphérie [des villes], idéalement situés sur un rond-point en face d'un hypermarché".

 … Depuis 2001 et la relance de l'enseigne en France, la maison-mère, Yum ! Brands (aussi propriétaire de Pizza Hut et de Taco Bell) a investi près de 500 millions de dollars (380 millions d'euros) dans le développement du réseau.

Pour séduire la clientèle, le roi du poulet pané a aussi dû adapter ses recettes, suivant les traces de son rival McDonald's, le premier à avoir fait le pari d'une "francisation" de son offre. Ainsi, les Français ne raffolent pas des "buckets", ces "seaux" d'ailes ou de pilons frits qui ont fait la réputation du "colonel Sanders", l'homme qui fonda KFC dans les années 1930 – ils ne représentent que 10 % des ventes en France. Les petits soldats du colonel ont ainsi concocté une gamme de sandwichs, tel le "Brazer" – du poulet mariné cuit au four –, adaptés au goût des Français.

Et pour limiter l'effet "bombe calorique" (1 300 calories pour un repas complet tout de même), KFC propose de remplacer les frites par un épi de maïs ou une salade. …
 … Les poulets de KFC pourraient quoi qu'il en soit bientôt se lancer à la conquête de l'Europe. "La France est un modèle. Si l'on réussit ici, on réussira partout", plaisante M. Schofield. Ce que cette expérience lui a appris ? Mieux vaut jouer la carte de l'outsider que celle du leader mondial. Une "french touch"... pas très française.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Marriage has always been a forward-looking institution aimed at nurturing the next generation of children, not a love license for the adults of the present

Before the judiciary settles [the same-sex marriage] question — or perhaps leaves it unsettled — it would behoove us to pause in this rush, and ask what purpose the institution of marriage serves in our society
says Ed Morrissey (thanks to Robert Tracinski) in a The Week post which mirrors my own post from almost two years back (To Understand Liberal Issues Like Gay Marriage Correctly, It Is Vital to Get the Basic Premises Right).
Let's start by refining the argument. Supporters of same-sex marriage talk of "legalizing" gay marriages, but that's not an accurate depiction of current law. No U.S. state, regardless of its definition of marriage, will prosecute same-sex couples who call themselves "married," nor should they, outside of an intent to defraud — which is a crime regardless of the sexual circumstances. In fact, the government has a very limited legitimate interest in sexual or living arrangements. Especially after the Lawrence v. Texas case, the government has no role in regulating sexual activity with the exceptions of consanguinity (close blood relations), use of force and victimization, commercial trafficking of sexual favors, and exploitation of minors.

No one wants the government to dictate who may or may not share a bed, outside of those exceptional circumstances. Those who choose to cohabit in non-traditional relationships have ample options for formalizing their arrangements through the private contract process, which government enforces but does not sanction. That leaves adults free to choose whatever sexual arrangements they desire outside of the actual prohibitions that are objectively applied to everyone. That is actual freedom and equality.

Marriage, however, is a unique status even apart from religious concerns, which I'll address later. Marriage licenses exist as government recognition of the unique procreative potential of heterosexual relationships. The government takes a special interest in that potential for good reason — because a failure of the procreators to act as proper guardians forces the government to build safety-net systems for children whose parents either cannot or will not provide for them. Marriage provides a structure for assigning responsibility for children potentially produced by heterosexual relations. Put simply, it fixes responsibility for paternity on the husband, regardless of who may have fathered the children during a marriage — a fact that more than a few cuckolded husbands have discovered during divorce settlements. That structure ensures that the state can enforce responsibility for the care of its most vulnerable citizens, even to the extent of criminal prosecution for neglect.

In Western societies, including the U.S., marriage has always been a forward-looking institution aimed at protecting and nurturing the next generation of children, not a love license for the adults of the present.

Most states, until relatively recently, provided incentives for marriage and disincentives for divorce. Social experimentation undermined both, and safety-net programs accelerated the process. Thanks to no-fault divorce laws that put the whims of adults over the needs of children, the results of devaluing marriage for heterosexual unions have produced heavy social costs for the past few generations that have fallen outside of the traditional family structure.
 … In pushing to overturn a referendum passed by a large majority in California that enshrined the traditional definition of marriage into the state constitution, the opponents of Proposition 8 argue in essence that both the process and the policy chosen by the voters are entirely illegitimate. Voters used a direct-democracy mechanism that has existed in California for decades to amend the constitution no differently than other such propositions, and affirmed the definition of marriage that has existed during the entire history of this country. The challengers don't like the outcome, and argue that nine justices should only accept as a legitimate result of that referendum a definition of marriage that until the last few years few would have accepted, and negate a legitimate outcome in an election. That's an argument for an oligarchy or an autocracy, not a democracy. 
Tolerance, it seems, works only in one direction — and that brings us to the religious argument, but not in the manner one might think. 
While as a practicing Catholic my definition of marriage involves its sacramental character, I understand that others may not share my faith and perspective on its meaning or value. That, however, will not work both ways, as recent examples have made plain. For example, a baker in Oregon faces potential criminal charges for refusing to provide a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because of his religious beliefs. What happens when churches refuse to perform such ceremonies for the same reason?
Most people scoff at this question, but religions have partnered with the state on marriages in a way that bakers have not. Priests, ministers, rabbis, and imams act in place of the state when officiating at wedding ceremonies, and states that legalize same-sex marriage are eventually going to be forced by lawsuits to address that partnership, probably sooner rather than later. In similar partnerships, that has resulted in pushing churches out of business. 

… It's not difficult to see the writing on the wall when it comes to the ability of churches to perform a core sacrament in any meaningful sense once the government changes the definition of marriage.
The best outcome would be for Americans to recall the limited state interest in marriage and preserve it as a forward-looking institution, and return to incentivizing families rather than lowering barriers to failure.
Indeed. To return to the no-fault divorce laws "endemic to a governmental regime whose very existence is predicated and dependent on the power to remove children from their parents", Stephen Baskerville writes that the
practices and powers [of the nation's family courts] are undermining constitutional government in its most fundamental principles. The power to take children from their parents for no reason is arbitrary government at its most intrusive, since it invades and obliterates all of private life. Yet we have created a governmental machinery that exists for no other purpose.
Lenin: "Destroy the family, and you destroy society"

Those Wicked, Wicked Bankers! You Know Where All Those Bastards Are From, Dont'cha?

Xavier Gorce:
• So many bank charges for one tiny overdraft?!
• I hate bankers!
• They're all Krauts!
• So they're not Jews anymore?!

The Tsunami's Japanese Ghost Town

Le Monde carries Google's virtual visit of Namie, a ghost town a few kilometers from the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It Ain't Easy Livin' with a Femen Protester!

Ukraine's bare-breasted female protesters from the Femen movement with messages written on their (not unattractive) bodies have inspired copycats in France, leading Plantu to make a topless cartoon:

• T'ain't easy livin' with a Femen protester!

• Today is the day to take out the garbage!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Rest in Peace Hugo Chávez, Says a Mural in Paris Filled with Portraits of Venezuela's Caudillo

This Maria Thunholm photo of a mural from the Northwest of Paris saying "Rest in Peace Hugo Chávez" adjoining a massive portrait of Venezuela's late Caudillo was shared with us by Carine, a New-York-based Frenchwoman who asked if we now understood why she doesn't miss France…

Indeed, melanietoulouse comments :
you have to see it, to believe it… :D Comme les larmes et les phrases de Jean-Luc Mélenchon qui n’a jamais vécu sous une dictature communiste, brrr…
Apart from that, feel free to visit the Swedish photographer's photo website

On the same wall in the same street (Rue Ordener) is another mural saying "Long Live Chavez!" along with "Patria O Muerte" (Fatherland or Death).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Obama is going to use the same tactics Communists used to control public opinion

Obama is about to launch a new campaign that will pick up where the old one left off
writes Thomas J. Basile in Forbes.
He’s going to use the same tactics Communists used to control public opinion. Back in the days of the old Soviet Union, the massive state-run information apparatus would fill news outlets with a persistent message about how ‘evil’ the United States was and the danger it posed to the world.

The Obama strategy is to do the same thing, leveraging liberal media bias, the latest technology, robust data and grassroots community organizing techniques, to smear the Republican Party as extremist, out of touch and disconnected from the needs of the majority of Americans.

  …What does the national GOP have to counter this juggernaut? In short – nothing. Of course, Republicans are quick to remind anyone who will listen that they supposedly have the intellectual high road and to a degree they’re right. More people in this country self-identify as conservative as opposed to liberal. Ask virtually any group of people and the majority of them will tell you they would choose a government that costs less, taxes less and provides fewer services over a government that costs more, taxes more and provides more services.

The problem is that in any pitched battle with [Obama for America, transformed into a 501(c)4 organization, Organizing for Action (OFA)], Republicans are faced with their own records of spending and giveaways that makes the President seem less radical than he actually is.

Republicans need to both hear and understand this point: Obama’s victory was not a vindication of his policies. It was the result of effective communication and an aggressive political infrastructure. He will win again and again without organized opposition.

 …We can’t rely on solely Congress to combat Obama and drive a rehabilitation of the conservative brand. Bottom-up organizing on a national level is what is needed. Go around Congress. Look beyond tired institutions like the national political committees to solve the problem if they are too paralyzed to act. Stop thinking about the beltway and start acting locally.
 … This is the way our system is supposed to ensure that the natural tension between freedom and collectivism is sustained.
Obama understands this better than anyone in recent history. He’s benefitted from not having an organized opposition. OFA will sell ice to Eskimos while conservatives worry about labels, party affiliation and litmus tests when they should be worrying about how best to preserve freedom. The infighting, the lack of vision and the insular thinking on the right has to come to an end.

If the Republicans are just going to rely on Obama moving too far to the left for moderates and conservative Democrats, they have another guess coming. It’s time for a summit of conservative leaders and organizations to define a series of priorities and commit to aggressive, coordinated outreach to a broader range of people than ever before. It’s time for conservatives to stop the bickering and start cooperating and organizing. It’s time to raise an army to turn this mismatch into a fair fight for freedom.

Illegal immigration is to immigration what shoplifting is to shopping

Arresting people for illegal activity is scandalous?!

 … Robbers are real people too, but we don't rush to their defense with the argument that they're somehow too special to get arrested…
Jerry Agar points ou that Illegal immigration is to immigration what shoplifting is to shopping (thanks to Instapundit).
• Related: It So Happens That Every Illegal Alien in America Already Does Have Papers

• No one talks about legal immigrants who are hard working men and women, who wait for the frustratingly slow process that seems to discriminate against those who want to do it by the book

• Sarah A. Hoyt on Being American

• Phyllis Schlafly's Rules for Addressing Amnesty