Monday, August 31, 2009

THE PICTURES that Hugo Chávez doesn't want you to see.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

TED, WE HARDLY KNEW YE: Javier Rupérez -- Spain's ambassador to the US between 2000 and 2004 and currently Consul General in Chicago -- writes a laudatory piece today remembering Ted Kennedy, in which he slips this detail (link in Spanish, my translation):
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.

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.
See them at the link (of courrse!)

FRANKLY, I think it couldn't be more appropriate for Cubans, faced with a toilet paper shortage, to use Granma to wipe their butts. And if they don't have one handy, I'd tell them to try with a picture of Fidel.

Friday, August 28, 2009

THE RICH HAVE FEELINGS, TOO: a short story by Tom Wolfe in Vanity Fair. "Losing billions is stressful, and the brave financiers who risk other people’s money need a way to cool out—hopping on the GV, say, for a bimbo-boffing weekend in the Bahamas. Thanks to the bailout, that’s history. The author imagines one fictional highflier’s shock as he rejoins the commercial-aviation herd."

THERE'S A PART OF ME who wants this dual-screen laptop . Right now.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

OBAMA'S UNCLES do seem hostile to him...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

TED KENNEDY'S BODY is still warm, and his name is already being used to push for the healthcare reform. Stay classy, guys.

IS GERMANY'S ECONOMY really powering ahead?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

ARE SPAIN'S BANKS as good as they look? More here.

UPDATED. And yet more, here.

Monday, August 24, 2009

OPENING A NEW FOLDER FOR "if Barbara Bush had done this": A few days ago, Michelle Obama went to a burger place in DC with the daughters. While she was there, "fellow patrons had their cellphones temporarily confiscated to prevent pictures from being taken." Can you imagine the loud screams ("censorship! fascism!") if it had been the wife of evil Booosh?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

AN EULOGY for the late Rose Friedman, by Guy Sorman.

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.

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.”
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:
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?")...

ANOTHER CASUALITY of the Spanish Civil War: the authenticity of the iconic "Falling Soldier" picture by Robert Capa.

HOW SILLY OF THEM. They'll now miss the fantastic healthcare! "Four members of the Cuban national basketball team have requested political asylum in Spain."

GOOD NEWS (NOT)  FOR A SUMMER FRIDAY: 20% of Spanish mortgages are now considered to be high risk.

WHILE MANY PEOPLE IN SPAIN, mostly those close to Zapatero and his clique, say that the solution to the financial disaster in the country is to push the sectors in which Spain "is the world leader, like solar energy" (yes, they say that), reports like this in the New York Times puts Spain as an example of how NOT to do things in the solar market.

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.

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.
Sure, anyone can make a mistake, you're probably thinking. But take a look at why:
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.

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.”
So they didn't make a mistake: they lied.

NO, STAGED PHOTO-OPS of government officials and planted supporters is not just an American phenomenon. Look at what happened in France.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

HOW CAN HE TRY to convince the public to expand healthcare when he's not able to take proper care of what he's already managing?
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.

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.
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...

FOR ANTI-WAR GUYS it's as it there was no war or foreign troops in Iraq or Afghanistan. They don't protest anymore. It's almost like they never really gave a damn about Iraqis or Afghans, and were only targeting Bush!


Monday, August 17, 2009

BUNDESBANK PRESIDENT Alex Weber warns about a second wave of the financial crisis...

A NEW BATTERY could change the world, one house at a time.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

AHMADINEJAD has appointed three women as ministers, the first females in the cabinet since the Islamic revolution in 1979. Cosmetic change? You bet. Still, better than nothing...

Saturday, August 15, 2009


GOOD FOR HAMAS! No, really, just for once:
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

SHAME: Zapatero has decided to send back home 51 Honduran soldiers that were going to join the multinational forces in Lebanon under the Spanish flag, because Spain doesn't recognize the Micheletti government, according to the Madrid daily ABC (link in Spanish). This, as even the US is finally changing its tune. What a disgrace.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION plans to track visitors to officials websites, using cookies. Remember when Bush's NSA did it? Don't expect the same outrage, of course. That's change for you, citizens!

10 DRUGS you shouldn't take while driving your car:

Monday, August 10, 2009

WHAT IF Star Wars was real? Of course, there no evidence, but that's just because the conspirators are burying it -- which only confirms there's a conspiracy!

WOW, THEY MUST BE REALLY FEELING THE HEAT! Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer, in an op-ed in the USA Today, call town hall protesters "un-American".

ORGANIC FOOD NOT ONLY doesn't have health benefits, according to recent studies. It's also a tax on the gullible.

A BANK will allow its customers to deposit checks by iPhone. Photoshop artists rejoice!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

THAT'S HILARIOUS: 23 badly placed internet ads.

FLYING AT 70,000 FEET on board a U2 spy plane: great video.

TECH HEROES OF THE PAST -- Where are they now?


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

SO A U.S. MISSILE kills the Pakistan Taliban commander Mehsoud and most people sees it as a "natural" thing (which it is). But if instead of blowing him into pieces the CIA had captured him, ferried him to Guantánamo, and kept him standing up for eight hours while interrogating, there would be so many that would be shouting "torture, torture!" off their lungs. That's a pretty good incentive to kill, no?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

IS THERE ANY COUNTRY that has managed to weather the recession? There's quite a few, at least for now: Nouriel Roubini takes a look.

GREEN SHOOTS in Palestine.

COFFEE SHOPS, at least in NY, are starting to pull the plug on laptop users who sit down for hours without ordering anything more than a single cup of coffee. Fair enough.

GREAT MOMENTS in Spain's law enforcement:
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.

THE WHY OF THE TIE. After many years of wearing them daily, about ten years ago I realized that it had more to do with me, as a young executive, wanting to look more formal, more 'grown up', to be taken more 'seriously' by the people I was doing business with. Later not only I wasn't so young, alas, but I started to work mainly from home.

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.

'CASH FOR CLUNKERS' does virtually nothing to save the environment:
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.

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's downtown San Francisco bureau to the nearest subway station. Which is only a few blocks away.
Keep reading.

SHEPHERDING on steroids.  Wow.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

WHAT HAITI can teach us about Honduras.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

HEZBOLLAH is stockpiling 40,000 near Israel border:
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.

Monday, August 03, 2009

NEGATIVE THINKING can make you... happy.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

CRISIS? WHAT CRISIS? Michelle Obama has 22 attendants. Here's a list with names and salaries.

FIFTEEN THINGS you probably didn't know about your body.