Saturday, April 21, 2007

Eu cum stau

Inspirat de Lomographik care se declara pro Basescu, o sa explic de ce pe 20 Mai voi vota in favoarea suspendarii presedintelui Basescu la referendum. Pentru ca voi merge sa votez, cel mai probabil la Geneva, daca nu cumva printr-un miracol va fi posibil sa o fac la Lyon.

Daca Traian Basescu castiga referendumul atunci suspendarea sa ia sfarsit si devine din nou presedinte. Unde ne aduce asta? Deoarece Parlamentul nu va fi automat dizolvat (desi asa ar fi logic sa se intample in momentul in care votul de suspendare ar fi invalidat prin referendum) si nici nu exista sanse ca asa ceva sa se intample datorita Constitutiei, ne vom regasi exact in configuratia care a produs tot scandalul politic care a culminat cu suspendarea lui Traian Basescu. Nu cred nici in capacitatea lui de a se adapta statutului de presedinte al tarii care cere in primul rand putere de mediere si negociere, ba din contra, fiind "uns de popor" pentru o a doua oara, legitimitatea lui va creste iar conflictul cu partidele politice va fi si mai aspru. Deci vom fi intr-o situatie de blocaj politic prelungit inca doi ani, in plus de cele 4 luni la care am asistat in 2007, ceea ce incepe sa fie serios de grav.

Politics Today

I've read yesterday - sorry I can't retrieve the link to the article - that a few daily French newspapers declared openly their political support to one candidate or another, while others declared their neutrality. That's perfectly fine with me, I actually encourage journalists who feel like doing so to come out about their political choices. What I dislike and find quite unethical is when it happens at the end of the campaign after months of debate. I'd rather wish they do this at the beginning of the campaign because it only makes things clearer and helps people understand better the context of their political coverage.

Politics Today (II)

JDCh predicts the following outcome of this weekend's first round of the French presidential elections :

  • Nicolas Sarkozy 25%
  • Jean-Marie Le Pen 20%
  • Ségolène Royal 19%
  • François Bayrou 19%
As he says, this means that on Sunday we'll all know the name of our next president. Godspeed Nicolas:)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Revenind la acelasi subiect

Ariel, elev de liceu si blogger, a fost exmatriculat pentru ce a scris pe blogul sau despre scoala in care invata. Cam asta e felul in care as putea scrie cel mai neutru despre subiect fara sa ma bag in "de ce" si "daca e bine sau nu". Dar trebuie neaparat sa completez cu faptul ca decizia conducerii scolii a fost luata nu pentru ca a scris despre scoala in sine ci pentru ce a scris despre scoala sa si pentru felul in care a facut-o. O astfel de nuantare este absolut necesara inainte de a trage orice concluzie si nu multi fac aceasta diferenta. Mai multe puteti citi pe blogul sau, pun link catre posturile sale din categoria Scoala. Roblosfera reactioneaza repede si si de data asta a reactionat cu mare promptitudine, exact ca si in cazul lui Gramo. Suma tuturor reactiilor poate fi gasita aici, nu pun link catre fiecare in parte.

Am citit multe dintre parerile exprimate, recunosc ca nu le-am citit pe toate din lipsa de timp, deci ceea ce voi spune in continuare se poate sa nu se aplice tuturor celor care au vorbit despre subiect. Deocamdata am vazut doar reactii care fac referinta la cenzura si atentat la libertatea de exprimare, ceea ce se rezuma in atitudinea "scoala comunista". Cu riscul de a enerva oamenii voi spune ca aceste reactii sunt imature. Nu e deloc vorba despre cenzura, Ariel se exprima in continuare in deplina libertate pe marginea subiectului, nimeni nu l-a privat de nici un drept fundamental garantat de Constitutie dupa cum puteti constata. Din ceea ce am citit nu deduc nici ca cineva ar fi facut un demers care sa-l impiedice sa scrie despre scoala pe blogul lui in felul propriu si personal, in schimb a fost sanctionat pentru modul in care s-a exprimat despre o institutie (sau organizatie sau cum vreti sa o numiti) din care face parte. Altfel pur si simplu nu l-ati mai fi vazut pe Ariel scriind despre scoala si probabil nici macar n-ati fi auzit despre ceea ce s-a intamplat. Nu stiu daca sanctiunea se bazeaza pe vreun fel de contract (oficial sau nu) prealabil asupra caruia ambele parti au cazut de acord din start, dar asta e o discutie complet diferita de cenzura si libertatea de exprimare.

Banuiesc ca atat pentru Ariel cat si pentru conducerea scolii situatia este profund neplacuta si ideal ar fi sa se poata regla intern printr-un face-a-face. Oricine poate avea propria parere despre sanctiunea aplicata lui Ariel bazandu-se pe fapte in masura in care ele sunt expuse public, dar acuzatiile de cenzura si atentat la libertatea de exprimare nu stau in picioare.

Politics Today

The campaign for the French presidential elections will be officially over in approximately 90 minutes since the voting is this Sunday. Inspired by Sebi's excellent quote of the week I came across this article written starting from the same quotation from Winston Churchill. It questions the real meaning of the get-out-and-vote MTV-like campaigns. The bottom line is quite harsh but it makes a lot of sense : instead of encouraging uninterested, uninformed and ultimately politically-ignorant people to vote and thus ultimately manipulating them, they should be educated, encouraged to get informed and be motivated about "matters larger than them". Since it's election year in France, campaigns - or at least messages - like these are very present in the mainstream media. The rap singer Diam's encourages teenagers in the (in)famous French banlieues - mainly of Arab origin - to go out and cast an anti-Sarkozy vote, the hard rock band Trust spread their political message Soulagez-vous dans les urnes backed up by songs dealing with social themes all along their French tour this year and I could go on with the examples. The problem of mixing politics into music is that while the bottom line message is often punching and very straightforward it lacks the most important thing, the context, which is essential for the understanding. And the context is usually difficult to grasp. I'm not saying that it's necessarily bad, because sometimes I might get interested in the topic and go out and inform myself to get the whole picture. But usually people stick to the message and don't go any further, which is unfortunate. The advantage of Death Metal is that when you don't want to care about the social/political/militant message of the song you can just listen to the guy spitting his guts out and enjoy the growling like any other instrument on the set:)))

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Maillard président !

Pour les connaisseurs, lafranceautravail.com, via Jeffo. Extrait du programme de Maillard pour les éléctions présidentielles :

"Hausse du Smic à 1 500 euros "le plus tôt possible dans la législature" et l'augmentation immédiate des "petites retraites" de 5%.

Chez Brother & Brother, nous proposons mieux. Le SMIC à 18 000 euros mensuels, hors bonus et notes de frais, avec des stocks options! Soyons sérieux. Brother & Brother garantit aux Français la suppression du SMIC. Nous nous engageons à tenir cette promesse tout particulièrement auprès des plus démunis pour ne pas les laisser sombrer dans la facilité, et ainsi étouffer totalement leur potentiel entrepreneurial.

Pour lutter contre la "vie chère", la création de nouveaux indices des prix et organiser une conférence annuelle sur "les salaires.

Les Français attendent que les prix baissent, et non de se faire baisser par les prix. Nous préconisons la dérégulation totale du marché pour assurer une concurrence sans merci entre les entreprises. Le plus fort survivra, les prix baisseront !

Evolution des 35 heures

Nous ne disons pas évolution, nous disons suppression et retour dans un premier temps aux 45 heures avec l'objectif de revenir, rapidement, aux 55 heures de travail hebdomadaires. C'est la moitié d'une semaine de travail chez Brother & Brother, et déjà un mois dans la fonction publique ! Soyons sérieux."

Same Old Story

It was just a matter of time until someone put in the same paragraph the name of a rock band and the name of the Virgia Tech University shooter next to one another.

From Blabbermouth :

"23-year-old Korean student Cho Seung-Hui, who has been identified as the gunman at the Virginia Tech University massacre, wrote a play which takes its name from the GUNS N' ROSES song "Mr. Brownstone" and tells of a crew of 17-year-olds who skip school to gamble at a casino and fantasize about killing their professor. The play apparently goes through the lyrics of the entire GN'R song, relating Mr. Brownstone to the teacher the main characters want to kill."
You can read the play here. The GN'R song lyrics can be read here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Politics Today (II)

Two very interesting podcasts from the Financial Times Roundtable Series about the French presidential elections. The first, published on January 12, "looks at the main candidates, the main issues that will affect this election; and how the rest of Europe regards the French presidential race". The second, published on March 13 "looks at the emergence of François Bayrou as the man who has shaken up the race; the importance of coming second; Ségolène Royal’s recent worries and appeal as a female candidate; and Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign as front-runner".

Two articles published in this week's The Economist edition. The first explains why Nicolas Sarkozy is France's chance, faute de mieux. A straightforward speaking politician, he seems to be the only one accepting openly that there's need for a radical change in France, at least he's got that right. In the meantime "he has most of the traditional French politician's meddlesome economic instincts", meaning a typical French form of economic populism, and "his harsh comments about immigrants and national identity" scare a part of the voters. The second, The race for the Elysée, discusses quite accurately how the four front runners (Sarkozy, Royal, Bayrou and Le Pen) are measuring up. The daily polls project Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal in the second round. But these polls might underestimate the support for Jean-Marie Le Pen, some of his supporters "disguising" themselves as Sarkozy supporters, but they might also underestimate the support for Ségolène Royal since the polling done by fixed-line telephone under-represents young people, among which the socialist candidate is quite popular. And there are also 45% of undecided people. As far as Le Pen's percentages in the daily polls are concerned, these are constantly adjusted based on the previous assumption since those doing the surveys have learned their lesson in 2002 and this adjustments might also be done for Mrs. Royal.

And now for my personal conclusion of the weekend. The front runners' strategy before the first round is to conquer more voters from their side. This is why Ségolène Royal abruptly switched from a rather social-democratic speech towards a more left wing one, thus irritating the far left communists. They simply don't like Ségolène, but they really don't like anybody except the proletarians. In a similar way Nicolas Sarkozy addresses in his speech to the traditional Jean-Marie Le Pen's voters, while declaring openly that he is not interested in Le Pen himself but in the people who vote for him. In this context Nicolas Sarkozy is immediately attacked as being racist or nationalist while Ségolène Royal's turn is accepted because it's interpreted as "caring for the people". I find this rather amazing, a little bit stupid and hypocritical but I understand it perfectly, the French society is like this. But paradoxically some think that there are signs that France has shifted further to the right. I must say that I have to see it with my own eyes to believe it. Two of Nicolas Sarkozy's measures, if implemented correctly, might change this status-quo. The first is breaking the monopoly of the 4 syndicates over the employers' representation in the companies and the second is the reform of the public universities, both of these being left wing's - I tend to say "far left" but I restrain myself - key bastions.

Amazing, absolutely amazing

After having left Iced Earth in 2003 to work as a police officer in the Georgetown Police Dept., Matthew Barlow returns to Metal as lead singer of the Danish Progressive Power Metal band Pyramaze (via Metal Reviews). How should I put this, one of my favorite Metal vocalists joins one of my favorite Metal bands, how better than this can it get? I just knew the guy couldn't last too long in the First State Force Band:) Here's Matt's statement.

\m/

Politics Today

An article in the Financial Times on the recent turbulences in the French politics after an "anti-Sarkozy" pact was proposed among the Socialists (PS) and the Centrists (UDF). There will be no such a thing before this weekend's first-round ballot, maybe afterwards. The article ends up with an interesting conclusion : "There are signs that France has shifted further to the right, as the combined score of Ms Royal and the six other left-wing candidates is only about 35 per cent in recent polls, well below the 43 per cent the combined left scored in 2002". Well, they may have shifted further to right if the polls say so, but the loudest are still those on the left and the revoluçion-ary far left. This might also suggest that an alliance between UDF and UMP might work much better than one between UDF and PS.

A second article from Le Monde speaks about right-wing vs. left-wing economists. They seem to agree about the problems France economy is facing, they agree about the way things should go but their opinions diverge when it comes to the solutions. The debate has been reopened after the coming-out of the French economist and MIT professor Olivier Blanchard in favor of the right-wing candidate Nicolas Sarkozy followed 22 days later by a manifest signed by 27 French economist in support of the left-wing candidate Ségolène Royal. But who's supporting François Bayrou?:)

Finally, 53,8% of the Romanians seem to be on the left versus 43,6% on the right, via Cristian Banu who cites a recent DataMedia poll.