Tuesday, February 20, 2007

[french presidency] segolene fighting rearguard action

One photo says it all. A beautiful woman appeals to the ordinary citizen for a fair chance. Trouble is, politics is cruel.

"I will be the president who will battle against youth unemployment," she told an audience of ordinary citizens on French television … She is widely seen as now seeking to revive her campaign after a series of gaffes and policy disputes. Overall, French papers agreed it was a solid but lacklustre performance, which failed to ignite enough sparks to re-start Ms Royal's campaign. Her standing in the polls has continued to slip despite a 100-point platform she unveiled on 11 February.

Opinion polls published just hours before the appearance showed less than a quarter of people intended to vote for her in the first round of ballot on 22 April. This was her worst showing since she won her party's nomination in November. Two new polls also indicate that the candidate who came third in voting intentions for the first round, Francois Bayrou of the centrist UDF party, would beat either Mr Sarkozy or Ms Royal if he made it to the run-off.

Count me in as one who admires her demeanour, her presence but sadly, that alone is not going to make her president, for these reasons:

1] She's a political lightweight with no real agenda although she's tried to rectify that. Can you see her in negotiations with North Korea and China, getting the better of them? With Cheney or the Taliban?

2] She has loopy ideas based on some sort of vague, PC, love-everyone niceness, which brings us to the next point:

3] She's too nice, too naïve. Of course she's a clever woman who knows how to get what she wants but her comment about the UMP's dirty tactics is the comment of a schoolgirl, which is really how many view her. Too pretty for power.

4] There's Sarkozy. Disliked and distrusted by many, he's still a hardened campaigner who knows where it's at. Everyone in France, deep down, knows that.

[iran] russia's bane

The Bushehr nuclear plant in southern Iran is an embarrassment for Russia. They're claiming that the project might be delayed because of non-payment for work done but as the UN Security Council deadline is due to expire on Wednesday for Iran to stop the enrichment of uranium, this may be the real reason.

Looked at strategically, would it suit Russia's book to have a nuclear power, with madmen at the button, right on her doorstep? It's bad enough having the Americans encroaching into Europe. Russia has some serious thinking and hard talking to do before half this year is out.

[warning] notice to dearieme and dsquared

Gentlemen, you are firmly in my sights and I'm collecting material. Blogfriends and readers - please help out with any juicy dearieme or dsquared snippet you've come across. Please, please send it to me - e-mail is near the top of my left sidebar. Here is a trailer from Stumbling and Mumbling, one of their regular haunts:

Surely the answer is, by raising the benefits replacement ratio (this is my big point of disagreement with your Citizen's Basic Income proposal - it means that there is, for practical purposes, a cap on the replacement ratio at quite a low level, which institutionalises this sort of power relationship).
Posted by:
dsquared February 19, 2007 at 03:19 PM

"The firm pays above-average wages": the bastards - is there no trick to which these capitalist swine will not stoop? So if you take this generous offer, you might worry a bit that you might find it hard to keep this job or replace it. But experience probably suggests that a CV bearing just such a job on it is probably the best passport to another such job. 'Nothing succeeds like success' as they used to say.
Posted by:
dearieme February 19, 2007 at 06:34 PM

I wonder if they ever look at this blog.

[guest bloggers] a breath of fresh air

Tom Paine, at The Last Ditch, has suggested some 'guest blogging'. I think the idea would be great and yet there are clearly issues here, many of which are starting to be discussed over at Blogpower. My thoughts are:

1] How many do you invite? There might be 12 people you'd love to see at your site but the moment you start with three, as I have, inviting Tom himself, Lady Ellee and Mr. Eugenides, then others may well feel miffed. The solution is to invite more the following week and hope that your guest posts within the week.

2] A blog is like a person's home and the guest is just that. You have your own style - ranter, 'issue discusser in depth', 'short grab poster' or 'long piece devotee'. You might be a historian and she's in PR. You might be a swearer and he's not. Clearly, the styles must match at least to a small degree.

3] The guest might feel reticent for a number of reasons.

# Firstly, your blog is below his or hers in the pecking order and it is descending for him or her to post on your site. It would also brand him or her as a consorter with the 'little people'.
# Secondly, there is the time factor. To do your host justice, and a guest blogger would wish to do that, it takes time, research and thought.
# Thirdly, it cramps your style - you can never let loose as you would on your own blog although that is precisely what the host is hoping for.

4] Then there is the question of editing. I was edited almost out of existence by one host and the piece never appeared. I think if you invite a guest, then you trust that person enough to recognize the style of your blog and you do the same in reverse. As a libertarian, I think it's outrageous to edit another person's work and yet I don't know how many c--ts and f--ks I'd like to see on my site, as it's read by many from my town here.

Anyway, it's worth a try.

Monday, February 19, 2007

[avalanche] what you should do in one

How are you for avalanches over there, after the weekend tragedies?

"A cascade of avalanche-related deaths hit Utah on Saturday as snowmobilers and skiers traveled into the backcountry for a long Presidents Day weekend."

The USDA Forest Service Utah Avalanche Center Web site at www.avalanche.org/~uac/ offers these tips:

* Venture onto slopes one at a time, leaving someone in a safe spot. Split large groups and stay in visual and voice contact.

* Plan an escape route. What will you do if you trigger a slide?

* Use slope cuts. Keep up your speed and cut across the starting zone, so that if you do trigger an avalanche, momentum can carry you off the moving slab into safer terrain.

* Watch for cornices and give them a wide berth. Never walk to the edge of a drop-off without first checking it out.

* Look for alternatives: Follow ridges, thick trees and slopes with safer consequences. You can usually go back the way you came.

* If there's no other choice, go underground. You can almost always weather a bad storm or bad avalanche conditions by digging a snow cave in a protected area. You may be uncomfortable, but you will be alive.

So if you're in London, Edinburgh or maybe Adelaide, you'll know what to do.

[notice] well, the blog's sort of back

Hello again. I'm sort of back but everything's everywhere, like shifting house. Thank you to the people who sent kind wishes - they were much appreciated.

The technician was here seven hours today, [I had very tolerant clients], and finally he made it all work after the fan blew out and one of the boards melted. We had to buy new components but it turned out fine.

Just before he left and as I was getting ready to go to the Ministry, he went to the bathroom, twisted the tap handle off and water went everywhere. It's now off at the mains. This is tomorrow's job and I'll do the car the next day.

The plan is to be back and visiting tomorrow and putting together a Blogfocus. This evening I'll have to come out of the net and arrange all the components in their right places. By the way, I'm now in Beta or whatever has superseded it. This equally applies to DTB.

Have a lovely evening and see you guys tomorrow.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

[news] why the blog's been dormant

I'm posting this while the technician artificially holds me in the internet.

The system has crashed and I need new processor, new hard disk and a different internet provider. We've done the latter but the other two must be done on Monday morning. We have to reinstall Windows and the other programmes in conjunction with this. He says the FAT 32 is useless for what I'm trying to do. I haven't a clue what he means.

On every seven or eight tries, the blog opens for about ten minutes so I'll try to get three pieces together and post them in one hit tomorrow around lunchtime. I'll have to wait till Monday to surf and say hello to you.

Trouble is, yesterday my wiper motor rod broke in the car in the excessive snow [that's a post in itself] and today the vacuum cleaner went down and the threaded rod sheered on the old tap in the bathroom - that one was my fault entirely for not replacing it sooner. These have to be fixed first. It's a fun time coming up to the birthday but the health is fine [touch wood].

To regular readers - the Blogfocus will be on Tuesday now. Hope you're all right yourselves, nothing broken and see you then. Miss you.

Friday, February 16, 2007

[consumer debt] worse for older men, single mums

The Consumer Credit Counselling Service has seen a boom in demand for its services in the past year, with a 65% increase in clients. However at the same time, charity Citizens Advice said it had seen a 15% increase in debt cases year-on-year.

The bottom line was that it’s the older male and the single mother who are in most trouble.

The latter are problematic because one has to ask why they’re single. This gets into age, the lessening attractiveness of marriage and the unwillingness of the new male to take on the burden of a partner with a more feminist ‘in it for myself’ perspective.

It’s partly his own debt problems and partly the new hedonism. With the new girl giving sex virtually on tap [the pub scene], there’s no incentive for any young man to tie himself down any more and provide for a girl.

As for the older male, aspiration and the spiralling costs of affording key items like houses and cars, together with trying to maintain the ‘good life’ and re-mortgaging have pushed these people into credit debt upon credit debt and the result is always the same.

The answers are: for the girls - only have sex with someone you intend to marry and who intends to marry you and for the older males – live within your means and cut your lifestyle to suit your wallet. To both – use no credit, only debit cards.

If the answers sound glib, I say it’s perfectly possible. It just takes a little willpower.

[climate pact] disquietening political aspects

Amidst the spin over the latest global agreement, one paragraph stuck out in my mind:

The informal meeting also agreed that a global market should be formed to cap and trade carbon dioxide emissions. The non-binding declaration is seen as vital in influencing a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol, correspondents say. The forum's closing statement said man-made climate change was now "beyond doubt".

I don’t believe they’d have made their move unless it had been based on sound science. These are very calculating people and they’ve obviously factored in the backlash and its ability to prove there is no climate change. Their ‘beyond doubt’ is seriously worrying.

The other worrying aspect is ‘global market’. Clear to see where that is leading.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

[snoring] how to resolve the problem

Men and women can both snore but this article deals with the usual situation:

“I am a snorer and it sometimes drives my wife mad. I know this because she tells me! As the snorer, it is difficult in this situation. I don't like the thought of her [or me] sleeping in another room. That could be a total relationship killer in my view, but then again so is the snoring! Catch 22. Neither of us is a fan of the Darth Vader Mask either. I do appeal to the all the snoring victims out there, spare a thought for the poor snorer too; it's not a deliberate act and it is very frustrating for us too!”

“I sent my husband packing to the spare room almost two years ago when I figured out his snoring was contributing to me being depressed. He was shocked to see the video of it. My brain was simply not getting enough of the feel good chemicals, and my body was stressed. Ever since we have slept apart, he gives me a cuddle every night and every morning for at least 5 minutes [smart man, he knows what women want].”

Real estate writer
Mark Nash writes about it in his book 1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home, saying US home builders have documented the emerging trend to create a "snore escape" near the main bedroom. These rooms are usually no bigger than 12-feet by 12-feet and are often soundproofed with acoustic gyprock.

All the catamarans and trimarans I’ve designed have compartments fully sealed off from one another both for secondary buoyancy and for the reason of snoring. Mine is always the furthest away. One lady had no problem with my steam train impersonation. The other few, over the years, did have a problem with it, inversely in proportion to their ages. It’s not a beautiful topic and most snorers either try to conceal the fact or become ultra-defensive.

It’s certainly a topic which requires resolution, one way or the other. Have a good night. I’m for bed.