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May 16, 2010

Take Responsibility? No!

So much has gone on at such a rapid pace and all of it directed towards the proverbial lemming cliff, that commenting has hardly been worth the effort.

But I would like to take a moment and tell Greece to get bent.

Bloomberg) -- Greece is considering taking legal action against U.S. investment banks that might have contributed to the countrys debt crisis, Prime Minister George Papandreou said.

Honestly, step up and man up. When you dig yourself into a literal hole, don't blame anyone but yourself if you throw the shovel away.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 05:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Europe

July 23, 2008

No Brainer: Europeans Prefer Obama to McCain

Whoda thunkit?

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Didn't they prefer Kerry to Bush back in 2004? Remind me again how that worked out.

Once again, Europeans think that it's their frakking business whom we elect president here in the U.S. They look down their collective noses, tut tutting at our boorishness, our bullishness, our cultureless culture, our lack of historical stature...whatever it is they can think of. Yet they're happy for us to do things like pay most of the UN's dues and shoulder the financial and man-power burden of their defense so that they can spend their money on their cradle-to-grave social programs. And if there's some kind of natural disaster, they complain if US aid doesn't arrive fast enough or isn't as generous as they believe it should be.

I'd be more than happy to pull our soldiers out of Germany and other European countries. Any missiles still there? Bring them home too. (Let's stay in Poland; Poland is a true friend that needs and appreciates our help.) And next time there's a tsunami or major earthquake, let's see how they like it if we snap the pocketbook shut. After all, when we have a natural disaster here (most recently, flooding in the Midwest that the media has already forgotten about), the rest of the world couldn't care less.

Just like bratty teenagers who hate Mom and Dad one minute but are asking for the car and gas money the next, Europeans disdain America because they think they know better than we do about everything.

Time for them to put their money where their mouths are.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 10:38 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0) | Europe

June 22, 2007

Worldview: How Bad is Anti-Americanism and Anti-Europeanism?

Has George W. Bush provoked the current anti-American sentiment so prevalent in Europe these days? And what about anti-European sentiments here? The show Worldview, showcased on 18 Doughty Street, takes on that question. Here's a five-minute clip:

The entire show can be viewed here.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 02:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Europe

June 19, 2007

Living Free Not an Option in Europe?

The upcoming Die Hard movie starring Bruce Willis entitled Live Free or Die Hard is being hyped both here at home and abroad. The Brussels Journal located both the US movie poster and the European one, and they ask you if you can find the differences between the two.

The first 50 readers to correctly identify the differences get a "get out of shari'a free" card. (Okay, I made that part up.)

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:57 PM | Comments (71) | TrackBack (0) | Europe

May 07, 2007

Sarkozy Has Work Cut Out for Him

The French took a step in the right direction yesterday by electing Nicolas Sarkozy as their next president. Beating out Socialist Segolene Royal by a margin of 53.06% to 46.94% (with about 84% voter turnout), Sarkozy plans to free up labor markets, do away with France's 35-hour week law (he believes anyone who wants to work more should be allowed to), and eyes tougher immigration and criminal measures.

Now he has to hope that parliamentary elections, which take place in June, keep his conservative UMP party in control, otherwise his planned reforms will go pffft.

I razz France a lot, but I really do hope that the country manages to rise up from the socialist muck it's gotten itself into. Keeping fingers crossed!

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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Europe

May 02, 2007

Germans Are Fat and Lazy

Gosh, I thought only us big, bad Americans had a weight problem:

Germany has laid claim to the dubious distinction of being the most obese country in Europe, the International Association for the Study of Obesity reports.

The report said 75 percent of German males and 59 percent of German females are overweight, and cited several factors, the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported. Among them were poor diet, mounting consumption of alcohol, and less and less physical activity in a country where 60 percent of people would rather drive than walk.

Germany nudged out last year's three-way tying countries of Britain, Cyprus and the Czech Republic.

Overall, more than 50 percent of Europeans are overweight, the report said, warning of serious economic consequences if left unchecked, particularly among children.

Must be all the bratwurst, creamy potatoes and cheese-covered spaetzle.

And if you're wondering about my post title, I thought I'd take a page out of the German media's book:

US-Kids sind fett und faul (US Kids are Fat and Lazy)

Surely they won't mind...

(Don't get me wrong, I love German food. My favorite local restaurant is Old Heidelberg. I just can't help but laugh how they are quick to point their own fat fingers at us.)

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Hardly on the Weight Watcher's list of approved foods

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Posted by Pam Meister at 05:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Europe

April 23, 2007

Sarkozy and Royal in Runoff

France had an election yesterday, and I thought whomever came out on top would win the whole enchilada, but apparently there will now be a runoff between the two top contenders, since it was a multi-party race. From WaPo:

PARIS (Reuters) - French presidential candidates Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal went back to the campaign trail on Monday as they battled for votes from the undecided centre ground that will be key to their May 6 runoff.

Sunday's first round ballot set up a classic race between left and right in France after Sarkozy, the conservative former interior minister, scored a resounding win with 31.2 percent against 25.9 percent for the Socialist candidate Royal.

Opinion polls give Sarkozy a firm edge heading into the decisive second round, with between 52-54 percent support against 46-48 percent for Royal.

But the result had both candidates eyeing supporters of centrist Francois Bayrou, who captured 18.6 percent of the vote after a dynamic campaign based on a pledge to sweep aside the ruling elite and overcome traditional political divides.

From everything I've seen, Segolene Royal seems a lot like Mrs. Bill Clinton: looking to be her country's first woman president, big on socialism, big ego...pretty much a nightmare.

Sarkozy will, in my opinion, be the kick in the pants France needs. He "was unapologetic when one of Royal's fellow socialists called him an ''American neo-conservative with a French passport.''' He is also proposing tough immigration law, both by cracking down on illegal immigrants and by setting higher standards for those admitted legally. (Are you listening Mr. Bush?)

Here's what I like best about him:

Unlike most of the French ruling class, Mr Sarkozy did not go to the Ecole Nationale d'Administration, but trained as a lawyer.

See, most of the people who end up in positions of power in France go to the school mentioned above for the sole purpose of entering government, and so don't have any clue as to what the real world and real people are like. It makes me wonder why the French bothered overthrowing their royalty -- it seems as though today's governing group is royalty, but without the fancy titles and crowns to go with it.

But France will get the president it deserves, which means it probably won't be the president I think it should have. I'll be very interested to see who is the final winner on May 6.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 07:56 AM | Comments (82) | TrackBack (0) | Europe

April 06, 2007

Why the EU Doesn't Work Beyond Trade

Using the recently resolved British sailor incident as a backdrop, Charles Krauthammer nails it (no pun intended):

Why was nothing done? The reason is simple. Europe functions quite well as a free trade zone. But as a political entity, it is a farce. It remains a collection of sovereign countries with divergent interests. A freeze of economic relations with Europe would have shaken the Iranian economy to the core. Yet nothing was done. "The Dutch," reports The Times of London, ``said it was important not to risk a breakdown in dialogue.'' So much for European solidarity.

Like other vaunted transnational institutions, the EU is useless as a player in the international arena. Not because its members are venal but because they are sovereign. Their interests are simply not identical.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 12:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0) | Europe

January 31, 2007

Tired at Work? Consider a Move to France!

Napping on the job would get most American workers a reprimand and, if the habit continues, a pink slip.

But in France, a study is being proposed to see what health benefits could be reaped by sleeping during work hours:

France launched plans this week to spend $9 million this year to improve public awareness about sleeping troubles. About one in three French people suffer from them, the ministry says.

Fifty-six percent of French complain that a poor night's sleep has affected their job performance, according to the ministry.

"Why not a nap at work? It can't be a taboo subject," Health Minister Xavier Bertrand said Monday. He called for further studies and said he would promote on-the-job naps if they prove useful.

The French have 35-hour workweeks. They also have five weeks of vacation...not because they earn them, but because the government dictates to businesses how much vacation time they must offer. France may be number five on this list of countries by GDP, but the US has a GDP more than five times that of France.

And their government is thinking of giving a green light to snoozing at work? George Costanza would give his eyeteeth to be Fwench!

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Posted by Pam Meister at 11:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0) | Europe

November 22, 2006

Dutch Await Election Results

As the Dutch await the results of today's parliamentary election, it will be interesting (and possibly instructive) for the rest of us to see who ends up in power: current Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who is looking to make immigration more restrictive, or his challenger Wouter Bos, who would grant citizenship to thousands of asylum seekers who have been living in the Netherlands illegally.

Balkenende has made cuts in welfare and brought the Dutch jobless rate to only 4% (the lowest in Europe), and he wants to integrate immigrants more fully into the culture.

I find it interesting, though, that some put the onus on the country for immigrants to integrate:

...Ismael Dirie, a Somali-born Dutch citizen, said that little positive was being done to help immigrants integrate.

"For me, most doors are closed in the Netherlands," he said. "Nobody is happy, but it is still better than Somalia."

Makes me wonder how much people like him want to integrate.

This is one to watch.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 09:28 AM | Comments (137) | TrackBack (0) | Europe

September 19, 2006

Chirac: Sucking Up to Iran

Is anyone surprised?

President Jacques Chirac has broken ranks with the US and Britain by calling for the suspension of UN Security Council action against Iran during negotiations over its nuclear programme.

In a radio interview yesterday before flying to New York for the UN General Assembly, the French President provoked a diplomatic storm by backing Iran's demand that the Security Council should halt its involvement in the nuclear dossier.

[...]

With the US publicly pressing for sanctions against Iran, M. Chirac said on the Europe-1 radio channel: "I don't believe in a solution without dialogue. I am not pessimistic. I think that Iran is a great nation, an old culture, an old civilisation, and that we can find solutions through dialogue."

It seems France doesn't learn from its own history of appeasement. We can predict the ending to this story...

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Recalling days of Gallic glory

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Posted by Pam Meister at 12:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Europe

September 14, 2006

Blair: We Need U.S. Involvement

Tony Blair tries his best, but the poor guy is beating his head against the wall:

"The danger is if they decide to pull up the drawbridge and disengage. We need them involved," Blair said, spelling out his political vision in a pamphlet published by The Foreign Policy Center think-tank.

"The strain of, frankly, anti-American feeling in parts of European politics is madness when set against the long-term interests of the world we believe in," he said.

[...]

Responding to those who have criticized the White House, Blair said in his pamphlet: "The danger with America today is not that they are too much involved."

"We want them engaged. The reality is that none of the problems that press in on us can be resolved or even contemplated without them," he added.

Frankly, it's tempting to let Europe rot. I'd love to pull out of world affairs and watch them mire down in their own incompetence. But that's not our way...and the problems that face Europe eventually affect us.

Sigh...

Moonbattery also takes a look at this story.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Europe

March 19, 2005

Zut Alors...French Populace Doesn't Embrace EU Constitution

A recent poll in France shows that 52% of those questioned wouldn't vote "yes" on a referendum to ratify the upcoming European Union Constitutional Treaty.

Jean-Pierre Raffarin, prime minister, put a brave face on the poll, published on Friday in Le Parisien newspaper, suggesting it would help to galvanise the campaign. "This uncertainty about the result is going to create a debate," he said yesterday. "If the result is known in advance, then people do not feel personally responsible. But with a 50:50 situation, the French will be personally responsible for their choice." The European Commission said on Friday it was "disturbed" by the growing No campaign in France, but denied that its controversial services directive was largely to blame.

Of course they deny it. Why would the elite French politicians admit that the EU constitution is simply unpalatable to the citizens who would be affected by it? With the way French politicians behave, one would think that King Louis XVI was back on the throne. So much for France being an "everyone is equal" republic.

Here's a sample of what French and other EU member citizens can expect if the constitution is ratified (courtesy of the BBC):

What the constitution says:The EU already has rights to legislate over external trade and customs policy, the internal market, the monetary policy of countries in the eurozone, agriculture and fisheries and many areas of domestic law including the environment and health and safety at work. The constitution will extend its rights into some new areas, perhaps most importantly into justice policy, especially asylum and immigration. It does away with the old structure of pillars under which some policies came under the EU and some under "inter-governmental" arrangements.

What it means:
It means a greater role for the EU in more aspects of life. In some areas, the EU will have exclusive competence, in others a shared competence and in yet more,only supporting role.

In other words, every time a member EU nation wants to pass policy or law, it has to play "Mother May I?" with the EU politicians. And Mother might not always say yes.

Let's hope the average French citizen continues to surprise us by showing more of such common sense, and that other European citizens will catch on.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 01:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Europe

March 15, 2005

A Few Germans Get It

German President Horst Koehler is concerned about Germany's spiraling unemployment rate. Blaming it on German and European regulations on businesses and Germany's socialist penchant for high taxes in order to "benefit" the proletariat, Koehler says, "Everything that serves to create and secure competitive jobs must be done Ñ everything that stands in the way must be avoided...Anything that serves other goals, as desirable as it may be, is secondary. I would like to see all who carry political responsibility take this basic position."

It's about time someone in Germany realized that horrendously high taxes don't equate to a booming economy. Because companies in Germany must pay out big bucks when someone is either fired or let go, they tend to hire as few people as possible. This means fewer jobs, more people on the dole, and therefore higher taxes from those who work need to be imposed to meet welfare payments. It's a vicious cycle.

On the bright side, Germany has instituted welfare reform. One of the new rules is that any woman under 55 who has been unemployed for over a year must take an available job registered with the government or face reduction in benefits. And, it turns out that working in a brothel is one of those jobs (prostitution is legal in Germany). A 25-year old waitress faces such cuts because she doesn't want to work in a whorehouse.

It's socialism at work, folks. For Germany's sake, let's hope Koehler's comments carry some weight.

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Posted by Pam Meister at 08:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0) | Europe


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