Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Shortly after the Iraq war started I saw Senator Kennedy in a public session of the U.S. Supreme Court. As we were taking our seats he briefly took my arm and told me he greatly appreciated the attitude of the Spanish government regarding the decision taken by the White House because, he said, "although you know my position " -- he was one of the few senators to oppose the authorization for the war -- "I appreciate the solidarity with my country in times like this." "I would appreciate if you relay this to President Aznar," he added.Interesting. Let me see if I get this straight: if it's good to show solidarity with the US "in times like this", why did this only apply to foreigners? Why didn't he start with himself? I understand the "politics ends at the water edge" principle, but it's one thing not to criticize, and another to send a clear, precise message like this. Of course it may be he was acting as a politician, telling his interlocutor what he wanted to hear. But still, the opposition to the war in Iraq was a topic in which Ted Kennedy was very vocal, and it's certainly odd he said this, if he did.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
A father-of-two has spoken of his disgust after spotting fruity cartoon characters appearing to have sex on SWEET wrappers.See them at the link (of courrse!)
Simon Simpkins was buying Haribo MAOAM sour candies for his children when he noticed the 'pornographic' illustrations of limes, lemons and cherries romping with each other.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Spain’s cash-strapped Socialist government is poised to emulate the UK and increase taxes on the rich, reversing its policy of tax cuts and prompting protests from the conservative opposition.Why doesn't the government start tighting its own belt? They're spending money like drunk sailors. They started already when they thought the economy was strong; upon taking over, they found the coffers were full and started giving it away (€400 to every taxpayer; €2,500 to the parents of every newborn, and so forth) not thinking that it's precisely in the good times when you need to hoard in case it gets tough (plus it was clear it was going to get tough). It was like a chile who suddenly gets hold of some unexpected money and, instead of using it wisely, he buys candy, burgers and a Wii to himself and his friends. Now they need the money and they don't know where to get it. But raising taxes is not the solution:
The impending U-turn – designed to plug the gaping budget deficit arising from the global economic crisis – was signalled this week by José Blanco, public works minister. “If we need to raise certain tax rates in order to guarantee social policies or public investment, then we’ll have to do it,” he said in a radio interview.
“I believe in helping those who most need it, and if in order to help the needy those who can most afford it have to tighten their belts in times of hardship, then we must say so clearly to the public.”
My feeling is that the Spain of Zapatero looks more and more like the Hungary of Gyurcsany with every passing day, and I say this more from the point of view of the twin deficit problem, and the impression the administration gives of things being totally out of control and no one knowing what to do, than anything else.
I am not at all party political, and my observation should in no way be read in that sense. The situation has only deteriorated since Solbes and Vergara were ousted, and the only mystery for me is why exactly they were replaced with a team who have no understanding of macro economics whatsoever. For the record, I predict the IMF will have a permanent delegation in Madrid before 2011 is out.
Friday, August 21, 2009
Survivors of a 1972 plane crash who resorted to cannibalism to stay alive are urging fellow Uruguayans to sign up for a government-run organ donation program.A PR masterstroke? A campaign in bad taste? Time will tell. But you got to admit this really opens up to some gallows humor ("What, they were feeling hungry again?")...
Thursday, August 20, 2009
THE NEXT TIME you see a report by a group of ecohysterics claiming that the icecaps are melting like an icecream under the sun, or that the sea level is rising like the water of Michael Moore bathtub when he goes in, remember this:
The outgoing leader of Greenpeace [Gerd Leipold] has admitted his organization’s recent claim that the Arctic Ice will disappear by 2030 was “a mistake.” Greenpeace made the claim in a July 15 press release entitled “Urgent Action Needed As Arctic Ice Melts,” which said there will be an ice-free Arctic by 2030 because of global warming.Sure, anyone can make a mistake, you're probably thinking. But take a look at why:
Under close questioning by BBC reporter Stephen Sackur on the “Hardtalk” program, Gerd Leipold, the retiring leader of Greenpeace, said the claim was wrong.
“I don’t think it will be melting by 2030. … That may have been a mistake,” he said.
Although he admitted Greenpeace had released inaccurate but alarming information, Leipold defended the organization’s practice of “emotionalizing issues” in order to bring the public around to its way of thinking and alter public opinion.So they didn't make a mistake: they lied.
Leipold said later in the BBC interview that there is an urgent need for the suppression of economic growth in the United States and around the world. He said annual growth rates of 3 percent to 8 percent cannot continue without serious consequences for the climate.
“We will definitely have to move to a different concept of growth. … The lifestyle of the rich in the world is not a sustainable model,” Leipold said. “If you take the lifestyle, its cost on the environment, and you multiply it with the billions of people and an increasing world population, you come up with numbers which are truly scary.”
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
President Obama has made health care his top priority. He says the cost of Medicare and Medicaid is “the biggest threat” to the nation’s fiscal future. But to the puzzlement of Congress and health care experts around the country, Mr. Obama has not named anyone to lead the agency that runs the two giant programs.You bet it does. It's been seven months since Obama took office, and he hasn't named the chief of a vital program he's trying to expand by a factor of many. Good luck convincing the public...
The agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is the largest buyer of health care in the United States. Its programs are at the heart of efforts to overhaul the health care system. If it had an administrator, that person would be working with Congress on legislation and could be preparing the agency for a new, expanded role.
“The vacancy stands out like a sore thumb,” said Dr. Denis A. Cortese, president of the Mayo Clinic, often cited by the White House as a health care model.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
A radical Muslim sheikh called Friday for the creation of an Islamic emirate in Gaza, sparking clashes with Hamas forces that left 21 people dead and injured at least 121 others.
Hamas forces blew up the home of Sheikh Abu al-Nour al-Maqdessi, leader of the radical group Jund Ansar Allah, or Soldiers of the Partisans of God, Hamas sources said.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Saturday, August 08, 2009
SOME SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS, HUH?:
This is a picture of the Sahara desert. According to National Geographic, parts of it are... greening, because of increased rainfall, due to global warming.
Friday, August 07, 2009
Thursday, August 06, 2009
A Nigerian convicted of assault in Spain was acquitted when he was found to have been the only black man in an identity parade used as key evidence in his conviction, the government-run news agency EFE reported on Tuesday.
No, I'm not one of those guys who work from home on their pajamas: in order to mantain some sanity, I don't sit at my computer until I'm showered, groomed, dressed --casually, but dressed-- and had breakfast; then I 'commute' to my home office. I believe you need to keep that routine almost as if you were going to the office, not only to be mentally better focused on work when you're working, but also to separate the professional and private lifes (disclaimer: I still haven't had the strength to stop checking and responding email on the road on my cell, but nobody's perfect).
Still, one thing is to be presentable even if you're working alone at home; wearing a suit and tie would be a bit too much...
UPDATE. Edited, but just to break the entry into paragraphs; I realized it was all in one big chunk of text.
Some simple calculations suggest that the existing program will save only about 365,000 metric tons of CO2 a year. Compare that to 29,028,000,000 tons of CO2 emitted worldwide every year, according to U.S. government estimates.Keep reading.
To put 365,000 metric tons in perspective, China's CO2 emissions have been increasing by an average of 644,000,000 metric tons each of the last four years, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. As of 2006, China was producing 6,017,690,000 tons of CO2, and the United States was producing 5,902,750,000 tons.
Put another way, if the world's output represented the driving distance from San Francisco to New York, car-for-clunkers' share of CO2 emissions is the distance from CBSNews.com's downtown San Francisco bureau to the nearest subway station. Which is only a few blocks away.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Three years after Israel fought a bloody war in Lebanon against Hezbollah, there are growing fears that hostilities could erupt again this time with the militant group better armed than ever.
According to Israeli, United Nations and Hezbollah officials, the Shia Muslim militia is today stronger than it was in 2006 when it took on the might of the Israeli army in a war that cost the lives of 1,191 Lebanese and 43 Israeli civilians.
Hezbollah has stockpiled up to 40,000 rockets and is training its forces to use ground-to-ground missiles capable of hitting Tel Aviv and anti-aircraft missiles that could challenge Israel’s dominance of the skies over Lebanon.