Bridesmaids

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Ukraine is only ready for Europe in the sense that a bankrupt company is ready for receivership.

via Kiev Isn’t Ready for Europe – NYTimes.com.

For Turkey to continue its rise as both a regional power and a global player, it must re-embrace the European Union’s liberal democratic values…

via The E.U. Needs Turkey – NYTimes.com.

 

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Another scramble

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…drawn to the example set by the fast-growing economies of Asia like China, Singapore and Malaysia — all of which achieved phenomenal growth under modernizing authoritarian governments — a group of African leaders has emerged that openly declares its admiration for this mode of government.

via Africa and the Chinese Way – NYTimes.com.

 

And… lederhosen are silly.

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…it demonstrated Germany’s unfortunate tendency to respond to any criticism of its economic policies with cries of victimization.

via Those Depressing Germans – NYTimes.com.

Has Europe’s strongest nation really chosen to become the world’s biggest Switzerland?

via Rethinking German Pacifism – NYTimes.com.

 

There are wingnuts everywhere.

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“This is the real face of America,” he said, stopping at a drawing of Lady Liberty with a hooked nose and diabolical smile that was labeled “Satan.”

via Former American Embassy in Iran Attracts Pride and Dust – NYTimes.com.

 

Modern family

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– The Smiths would spend 20 percent of their income, or $10,440 each year, on an arsenal of guns, tanks and drones to defend their house against threats or invade the occasional neighbor over lawn-pesticide disputes and access to the gas station.

via What if a typical family spent like the federal government? It’d be a very weird family..

 

Lessons 1 and 2 on how to keep things in perspective.

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“It’s been terrible,” Jeter said. “It’s been a nightmare.”

via A Reminder of the Yankees’ Failed Plan Deals Them Another Defeat – NYTimes.com.

“I will be cross-examined by the man who shot me.”

via Victims to Again Face Gunman in Fort Hood Trial – NYTimes.com.

“A child. Fourteen years old. Fourteen years old. Gone. Shot in the head. By police.”

via Teenager Is Shot and Killed by Officer on Foot Patrol in the Bronx – NYTimes.com.

 

‘Hello? Watana Siam? Yes, I’d Like to Order the Chicken Panang’

He argued that “modest encroachments on privacy” — including keeping records of phone numbers called and the length of calls that can be used to track terrorists, though not listening in to calls — were “worth us doing” to protect the country.

via Administration Says Mining of Data Is Crucial to Fight Terror – NYTimes.com.

As Barack Obama’s presidency lurched farther down the track of “I Never Thought I’d Be Doing [expletive deleted] Like This,” on Friday he in all seriousness tried to justify what even jaded wire service reporters were calling “sweeping” surveillance of Americans’ private lives.

“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” Mr. Obama said.

Well, probably nobody. And, if they are, it’s under an entirely different part of the program.

via Intelligence for Dummies – NYTimes.com.

For my part, I say, Fine. Have at my phone records. I make so few phone calls that all I would be giving away are the numbers of a few good Thai places near my house and a car service that stubbornly refuses to make reservations more than 15 minutes ahead of time.

The problem here is one of the governing’s oldest: The cat, if it wasn’t already out of the bag, sure as [expletive deleted] is now.

You should not think that recent events will simply cement a previous status quo in place, rather it moves us down a very particular path and probably makes the entire problem worse.

via The loss of privacy and the collapse of creative ambiguity.

Mr. Obama, again in all seriousness, told reporters that spying on ordinary Americans is “not what this program is about.”

There he is wrong.

The worrisome thing isn’t that the government has gobbled up all those phone records, and whatever else. The worrisome thing is that it did it and no one even burped — not until now, anyway. Seemingly reasonable lawmakers and cabinet chiefs have tried to reassure Americans that, in all this snooping business, the government scrupulously followed the rules. Never mind that these are rules the government made up for itself.

Is it fear-mongering to ask where it will end? Maybe it is, but even the government’s shills, including one writing in The New York Times, couldn’t avoid pointing out the obvious.

On the surface, our system of checks and balances seems to be working. We cannot rule out the possibility that the voluminous records obtained by the government might, some day, be illegally misused. But there is no evidence so far that that has occurred.

via Making a Mountain Out of a Digital Molehill – NYTimes.com.

In the end, who cares about phone records? As we all know from the First Law of Movie Technology, “Enemy of the State” Clause, any freaky spying technique you can properly portray in a film is probably a generation behind existing technology, anyway. And, I’m asking here, are there any serious criminals hatching schemes over a 4G network?

In his infuriating remarks on Friday, Mr. Obama briefly showed his human side when he, probably reading from a script, told reporters that he had had “a healthy skepticism” about the spying when he first learned of it. But it apparently didn’t last long.

“You can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience,” Mr. Obama chirped.

And so here we are, snug up next to 100 percent security.

How does it feel? And, more to the point, was I right to order the chicken panang?

The great escapes…

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Only three made it all the way to freedom—a Dutchman and two Norwegians, all flyers with the British Royal Air Force. Heres their remarkable story…

via NOVA | Escaping a Nazi Prison Camp.

 

Put Out More Flags

This federalist analysis of how Europe will escape its debt crisis through the creation of a political union repeats and magnifies the original error made in the development of the European single currency. This mistake is to underestimate grievously the strength of national identity in the countries that make up the European single currency.

via Europes Zero-Sum Dilemma | The National Interest.

Look What They Did!

To crystallize our conversation today, allow me to use a very – and I stress very – clumsy sentence to summarize the current state of affairs: In the last three plus years, central banks have had little choice but to do the unsustainable in order to sustain the unsustainable until others do the sustainable to restore sustainability!

via PIMCO | Viewpoints – Evolution, Impact and Limitations of Unusual Central Bank Policy Activism.