Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Reading these days... VIII

Lets start with a TERRIBLE question (and an even worse answer):
Is Sugar Toxic?


It didn't get much attention here in Italy the fact that S&P delivered a blow for US debt by lowering the outlook of its debt for the first time in history. And while this could be helpful for Understanding the S&P report and Krugman insists that is not really important and Poor Standards are in play, it's worth nothing that Obama administration officials tried to keep S&P rating at ‘stable’. But why, anyway? Perhaps, as it is suggested, because US account are like Enron Writ Large? Or because, besides the official one, there is in the US The Other National Debt to consider? Or maybe because, quite amazingly, in the US now Government Handouts Top Tax Income?

Not like we in Europe are faring much better, as while Trichet says that ‘All’s Well’, we can see that a battle is going on, the one of Euro vs. Invasion of the Zombie Banks. Bad news for critically hit countries (Greece, Ireland, Portugal... soon others) and some of them might start considering A parable of two debtors. In any case, The ECB Have All the Means to Prevail? Perhaps it would it be worthwhile (or unavoidable) to embark in Europe’s long road of tears to fiscal union (for that matter, EU corporate tax reform: Weighing the pros and cons).

To be noted that US fiscal policies are a factor in Soaring Inflation Poses Risks Beyond China’s Borders. Even if China is doing its own part as, once again, Krugman easily explains in Inflation, Here and There (Wonkish) (I hate his politics, but have to admit when it sticks to his own field the guy knows how to explains things easily). Anyway, we are probably just seeing The great global rebalancing and its implications, but Don’t blame the (mostly) efficient markets hypothesis.

And while we are at it, Is Germany competitive? Is Norway?. If you consider the banking sector (which also gives a pretty good number of answer to many questions about the EU role in the financial crisis), one wouldn't think so: German Banking: visibility needed

It must be to take its collective mind off economic troubles that now the EU awaits UN approval for deployment of ground troops (and unfortunately, Italy went ahead adn already shipped military instructors...). All that while Riots break out in Muslim north Nigeria as Christian Jonathan wins by landslide. But you do not have to go that far to have more problems with islamics, after all as 'London Taliban' is targeting women and gays in bid to impose sharia law

Finally... how I love to be in the eight most taxed countries in the world (and receiving way less services for my tax money than in any of the other most taxed countries, I would bet)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Reading these days... VII

First of all, surprising from Germany,
Breaking Ranks: How To Become an Accidental Conservative. Favourite line: "A person who lives a leftist life is living with the appealing awareness of being in the right, in fact, being right all the time." to which I would personally add "and being on a higher moral ground of anyone else, about anything, always". Which is actually good news for conservatives: many vote against the left , rather than for the conservatives, for their intolerant and intolerable obnoxiousness...

For the ones who haven't paid attention, with several euro country on the verge of bankrupcy, the ECB raised interest rates.. suppose that's Why People Say "Eeh!" When They Learn About the ECB . Things are looking really grim for the eurozone so much that we are to welcome to the great big fat Euro fiasco.

In the meanwhile, Banks Face $3.6 Trillion 'Wall' of Debt: IMF while the BRICS demand global monetary shake-up, greater influence (That wold be, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.... but I assume the latter will end up like Zibabwe within 10 years, so I wouldnt't worry about it)

And while the U.S. plans new push on Arab-Israeli peace, to the point os maybe, in September, not vetoing a UN resolution recognizing Palestine as a state, an Italian activist found dead in Gaza after abduction. To be noticed that the guy was part of the Turkish "Freedom" flottilla that challenged Israel's embargo of Gaza, was working in humanitarian projects in the strip and routinely denounced the oppressive Israeli regime (apparently never noticing teh plumes of the rockets being fired by the oppressed...). Way to go as a thank you... even if, perhaps in recognition for his merits, the guys did hang him, rather than beheading him.

Still in the arab world, US, Britain, France vow to push ahead in Libya, even if the U.S., allies see Libyan rebels in hopeless disarray and Nato appeals for more planes. Now, exactly why a No-Fly resolution by the UN which doesn't deal at all with the political scenario would require Gheddafi to leave power, hundreds of ground strikes in support of a side in essentially a civil war and more ground support and attack planes, that's beyond me. But then again In the Ivory Coast, France Does Regime Change, so why not Libya, I guess? Nevermind that 1,000 attack non-Muslim village in Nigeria... why christians, heere or in Sudan or other places, should be protected, after all?

And how to get more planes, anyway, when Obama Guts Defense, which leads Gates and Mullen vs. Obama (that'd be, the Secretary of Defence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff). But, after all, Obama Is Just Plain Bad at Politics while being the Presidential Divider.

In the meanwhile, what was once an example of muslim moderation, Turkey, is in Turmoil: Obstruction in Libya, Interference in Syria, Discrimination at Home. In effect, only people who haven't looked at what is going on in Turkey since the beginning of this century can be surprised... it's not turmoil, it's the normal state of affairs of the last decade.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reading these days... VI

In the
Daily Presidential Tracking Poll Obama scores his lowest approvla rating ever. Might it be because Gas Prices Climbing Toward $5 Per Gallon (which, incidentally, if my math is correct, would be around 0.9 euro per liter, 2/3 of what we pay in Italy, at 1.6...)? Or maybe, as Bill Gross of Pimco notes, because the United States has a year or two to change course or face a debt crisis akin to what Greece, Portugal and Ireland have experienced? In any case, some good news for him as Gadhafi endorses Obama re-election!

Why do I care, anyway? Because anything happening in US has repercussion on my country and this president has been so utterly disastrous on all fronts I care about that the most catastrophic are his policies for him, th eleast probable thy will be proposed here...

Speaking of which, this article is US-center, but in effect it rings true for my country an dmost of Europe, I would say, where we find Big Government on the Brink

And in effect, economics are starting to be so dire here that Anger begins to infect Europe’s prosperous core. In the meanwhile, a bit on Monetary Policy, Deficit Reduction, and the Ryan Plan (the first page of teh article being more interesting than the rest)

Anyway, even if money is running short, We're All Interventionists Now! But what for, one wonders, if in the now going democratic and happy Egypt, Two Killed In Cairo After Night of Protests, while Egypt Sentences Blogger to 3 Years. Notlike the Muslim Brotherhood is stirring things up?

In the meanwhile, we are glad to see that South America isn't left out and finally we have Al Qaeda in Brazil... and it didn't take long before a Brazilian Muslim kills 11 children in shooting.
But after all, we are helping.. for example Why Is Germany's Angela Merkel Strengthening Enemies of Israel and the West?

And while China tells U.S. to quit as human rights judge, Tata chief warns of India unrest as India accuses companies in telecoms probe

For the Star Wars, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica and just about any science fiction fans' dlight out there: Laser gun fired from US navy ship

One does wonder where we will get the power for it tho, as Nuclear Power Fears at New Heights Despite Safety, Viability (interesting, little known outside the people workin in the field, fact from the article: a coke plant emits 100 times the radiations than a nuclear plant) andit's proved that Wind power is even worse than you thought...

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Reading these days... V

And after a few days off due a short vacation in Germany (where, btw,
Alles (not) in Ordnung) ... back to reading.

So I found out that While I was away there was the Obama Libya Speech: How the President's War Has Won Him Arab Respect. This while, apparently,we had Washington in Fierce Debate on Arming Libyan Rebels. That's interesting, as it was also revealed that Obama authorizes secret help for Libya rebels already. So, in practice, Intelligence on Libya rebels shows "flickers" of Qaeda, we will have Jihadis who killed Americans get U.S. support in Libya. And in effect, the Libyan rebels struggle to explain rift. That said, an interesting question: What If Gadhafi Had Gone Nuclear? If I were a dictator in the world now, I'd definitely do anything in my power to get a hold of nuclear weapons, since giving it up does not seem to help.

Ah, speaking of countries speeding to nuclear weapons: How the Obama Administration Can Get Serious About Iran Sanctions

Anyway, if we intervened in Libya, why not in Syria, where Syrian cabinet resigns amid unrest,
or in Yemen, where the Trends 'Not Good'? Or Ivory Coast (where actually the French army once again intervened by itself... truth to be told)?

Not to mention that is we are to defent human rights, what to do with China's Crackdown on Bloggers and Human Rights Activists and the Worsening Crackdown in China?

In effect, the overall situation is such a nonsense that Saudis ‘So Unhappy' With Obama They Sent Emissaries to China, Russia Seeking Enhanced Ties while Gates tries to soothe Saudis rattled by unrest. Oh, and speaking of censorship and crackdowns, Indian state bans controversial book on Gandhi... ah, those Censorius Souls.

Not to mention the effects of this in Israel. If you are not aware, in September an U.N. Vote on Palestinian State Could Force Israel's Hand and create major Shock Waves. What could it be
Bibi’s Choice?

Anyway, while Opec set for $1,000bn in export revenues, the western "green" biofuel mania is having Food Prices Stir Concern About Biofuels Mandates . In effect, i always tought that, i a world where hunger is a real problem, having food converted to fuel isn't exactly a smart idea, but what do I know? And besides, not like prices can get any worse, right? Except Wal-Mart CEO Bill Simon expects inflation.

It wouldn't be all so complicated if not for Human Complexity: The Strategic Game of ? and ?.

Let's go to the movies to get some relax... this is another I'll try to watch once it gets out: ‘Atlas Shrugged’

Exit question: Is it time to outsource cities?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reading these days... IV

While the NATO "protection of civilians" mission on Libya continues, we discover that
Usa may supply Gaddafi rebels with weapons. Now, that seems indeed a good idea, considering that Al-Qaeda snatched missiles' in Libya. But what do we have to be afraid of, it's not like Energized Muslim Brotherhood in Libya eyes a prize, the "Freedom fighters" and "rebels" are pro-democracy, civil people, not like Libyan rebels appear to take leaf from Kadafi's playbook or, like, we have cases of Revolutionary Justice in Benghazi.

In the meanwhile, the question is Will Syria be Next? While we find out, I'm slightly troubled that 'Abbas would give up US aid to reconcile with Hamas'. Wasn't he a western-supported, democracy nurturing leader? In the meanwhile, my new heroine of the month (and let's hope she will be alive at the end of it) is a Pakistani Actress Bravely Unloads on Mullah & Media. But then again, nothing of this really matters, since an Iranian Video Says Mahdi is 'Near'

In case you haven't been following the last two years of economics news (were you in a coma or something? In case, I hope you didn't have stocks in your portfolio when you went under), you might be interested to know Why European Banks Are Stressed Out. Also because this is what could happen The Day When the Debt Comes Due. In effect, What happened to stimulus vs. austerity?

Of course, all of this seems pretty reasonable, considering how broker seem to be making investments these days and relying on young actresses while taking Outside Edge: Hathaway conquers sage and screen

Good think that The City keeps its composure... ok, maybe not: 200 arrested as protesters cover Trafalgar Square in graffiti

Well, at least they will not be able to vandalize cars for much longer as EU to ban cars from cities by 2050. The thing about steep increases on jet fuel worried me, tho, as it's a huge part of my monthly expenses.

At least, one of the things I always thought has been scientifically proved: Employers, you should Indulge your employees so they don’t mess up. More Facebook in the office!

I'm not yet sure I will be go and watch "Sucker Punch"... but definitely Iwill go and see The Adjustment Bureau!

And finally, two VERY politically un-correct articles: First of all, stop being all melodramatic about Berlusconi’s Teenage Whore and, was Gandhi indeed a Great Soul?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Reading these days... III

First of all, Something I always suspected: Men May Be Jerks...But Women Are Insane (the article is much more serious than the title, worth a reading and I find myself 95% in agreement)

So, in short, there is no need to be afraid that the Arab uprising will necessarily lead to islamist government in those countries. After all, there is no evidence of links between uprising and, say, Al Qaeda. Right. Too bad that...
In the meanwhile, More Protests Across Syria... which makes me wonder, no one noticed that all the countries affected (Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria) so far were the ones were the governments were, indeed corrupt autocracies, but secularist or trying to be?

In the meanwhile, on the economy news are comforting... well, nevermind that:

Not like the news from the old continent are much better Portugal teeters on brink of bailout, with the WSJ suggesting that the Weak Educational System Hobbles Portugal (but read the original title of the article...). Eventually, the Collapse of Euro Not 'Unthinkable', says Warren Buffett.

Americans are startig to address the problem tho, even if somewhat indirectly: CBO: Taxing mileage a 'practical option' for revenue enhancement.
Really, American politicians are starting to think that highways should have a toll? How amazing. But it will never work, US have the strongest Teamsters Union of the world, and with Rocky as president for a time ;)

And speaking of marvelous ideas, and Emotional voter ID bill debate ends in passage. Apparently they realized that requiring an ID with a picture (as opposed to, say, a library card) might be a good idea to avoid vote frauds. Even more amazing, how could they come up with such a notion, I wonder.

All this while Japan's Nuclear Crisis Worsens. However, I shall point out that, no matter what everyone writes, they are wrong: the power plant had withstood a quake 100 times stronger it was designed for without major problems... then a hour later came a tsunami twice as high (14 meters) as planned. But in all the chaos and despair, you can always count on Japanese people to do something superhuman and earn the title of Badass of the Week: Hideaki Akaiwa (or, the mainstream media less cool version of the story For one quake survivor, self-help in the face of seeming helplessness).

In unrelated news, considering the body's track record, I suppose the resolution was written in ancient Aramaic and therefore absolutely impossible to understand if the UN rights body ditches call to condemn religious ‘defamation,’ focuses on freedom of belief. In fact, it sounds too good, I'll have to find the text and see how the journalist got it wrong.

If you are into macroeconomics, you might be happy to know that the
and you might also want to check
even because the dream of an universal online library might be over as it looks like while they try
Explaining the Google Books Case Saga.

Nevermind, movies would be good for distraction so I've read the new movie from teh director of 300 is out, however ‘Sucker Punch’ Review: Strong on Action, Average on Story. Well, maybe I will watch it. Or not? "Sucker Punch" goes beyond awful, to become commentary on the death of moviemaking (granted, with such a headline one is compelled to go and see it just to see how bad it is...).

Speaking of movies, Legendary Oscar-Winner Elizabeth Taylor Dies at 79. I shall add that she died, artistically speaking, heir-less. Who would be, in fact, her modern day version?

Yes, he was the supreme leader of his contry at the beginning of the XX century, supported eugenics and he thought that his countrymen "have no business to permit the perpetuation of citizens of the wrong type". No, it's not Germany and Adolf Hitler, it's the United States of America and Theodore Roosevelt. What, you didn't know the USA flirted with eugenics?

Ok a laugh is sorely needed: ways to avoid getting the sack: HR recommends and, if you are economics inclined, Planet Money's Toxic Asset.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Reading these days... II

Japan quake: Power lines reconnected to Japan's quake-damaged nuclear plant
Related to:
* Tokyo (Japan) : Tokyo (Japan) News and Photos
* Nuclear energy 101: Inside the "black box" of power plants
* Quake leaves Tokyo waiting for the Big One
Yes, I can tell you, it's a busy time for wheoever works in the nuclear sector...

Libya war: Germans pull forces out of NATO as Libyan coalition falls apart
Related to:
* France Says New Non-Nato Body To Lead Action
* U.S. Says Libyan Campaign to Ease as No-Fly Zone Is Secured
* Split on Libya averted as Nato given military control (doesn't seem so averted at all, in fact...)

Gulf Cooperation Council Between Two Fires in Bahrain and Libya
Ah, the joy of the straightforward policy of western democracies that always intervene for the defense of civilians like in Kossovo and Lybia. Except, of course, in Darfour, Iran, Bahrain, Yemen, Congo, Tibet, Birmania... ok, nevermind.

Work of Depressions Watch
Not the most interesting, but probably one of the last articles of Krugman I'll read, since the New York Time is switching to payment service next week

Happy Birthday: The Mighty William Shatner Turns 80 Today
Oh my goodness... Captain Kirk is 80??? Now I feel old for real...

Pray for Japan, Worry for Europe
Related to: US Approaching Insolvency, Fix To Be 'Painful': Fisher
It's a good time for not having debts... just wondering wheter I should start buying a few gold ingots...

Yes, sex can kill you, U.S. study shows

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reading these days...

Nicolas Sarkozy declares multiculturalism had failed
Related to:
*Merkel says German multicultural society has failed
***Erdogan’s Visit to Germany Offends – Again
And Also:
*Cameron's Multicultural Wake-Up Call
***Why Cameron is Right on Multiculturalism
***Concerned With Muslims, Gay Activists Cancel Parade in England
***U.K. Court: Christian Beliefs are Harmful to Children, Christian Couple May Not Be Allowed to Adopt
And also:
*Australia ex-PM Howard attacks 'multiculturalism'
*José Maria Aznar attacks multiculturalism

Did the Copts Miscalculate in Egyptian Elections?
Related to Egypt to Vote Tomorrow on Constitutional Amendments

The Long and Short of Energy Prices

How Obama turned on a dime toward war
Related to Egypt Said to Arm Libya Rebels

Clash Warfare

47% of Germans think Israel exterminating Palestinians
Related to Are Israeli Settlers Human?

The Bankrupt Nihilism of Our Fallen Fantasists
Related to:
*Sanity and Sanctity: The Ennobling Fantasy of J.R.R. Tolkien Part 1
*The Order of Grace: The Ennobling Fantasy of J.R.R. Tolkien, Part 2
*Eucatastrophe: The Ennobling Fantasy of J.R.R. Tolkien Part 3
*Bored with the Good: The Ennobling Fantasy of J.R.R. Tolkien Part 4

Europe: Northern exposure
Related to:
*Greeks adopt ‘won’t pay’ attitude
*Why the eurozone will survive
*The Eurozone’s new clothes

Illiteracy Rules

Where Have The Good Men Gone?

Degrees and Dollars