Tuesday, November 28, 2006
It's tough to decide whether regulatory burdens hinder business profitability; surely, some are unnecessary and costly. But Eliot Spitzer doesn't think so with regard to the recent reforms following Enron, and I too am inclined to think that more accountability alone is not the reason for business' lack of success. He points to businesses that he helped reform as New York Attorney General, which are now enjoying success. Whether that is directly related to the reforms is not clear, but it does disprove the idea that the reforms he is after will destroy businesses. See the FT's article about governor-elect Spitzer's recent statements about accountability regulations here.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
See nos.nl for the final results of the Dutch election, but as of now (the polls closed an hour and a half ago) SP has gotten 25 seats, PvdA 33, CDA 40, and VVD 22, along with the Animal Party - 2 seats, Geert Wilders' party 8 seats, and Christian Union 7 seats. What will the coalition be? Christen Unie seems to play a critical role in the formation of a coalition, like D66 in 2003. Pim Fortuyn's party LPF did not win any seats and Een.nl also came up empty. It looks like the Netherlands is exhibiting a polarization not unlike what we have seen in the United States recently.
I wanna know what happened to the PvdA! Why the drop in the last few weeks? The pension idea did Wouter Bos in in the beginning of polling, but he took it back; so what was the bombshell in the last few weeks? I totally missed it if there was one. I am waiting for analysis from the Dutchies to my inbox....... ;)
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
Sometimes you just have to get to the root of the problem. Some are complaining that the the European Court of Auditors' refusal to give a positive Declaration of Assurance (DAS) for EU spending is giving the EU a bad reputation.
Yes, it is, isn't it.
But the whiners (those in the member states) have got it wrong. The Court will give a positive DAS if it is earned. And if member states are not going to take some responsibility for spending, then they will continue to have that DAS hanging over their heads --- until they do take responsibility.
Democrats are also going to save from certain doom the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (and I have to concede, it is nice that Senator Lieberman is a cosponsor of this bill). The work of this Special Inspector has been so little publicized, enough so that James Baker could contend the other day (see earlier post) that little abuse by the big guys like Halliburton and Bechtel had been found; in fact, the Special Inspector has found abuses and has brought to justice those guilty of bribery and shoddy constructions.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Seeing the results as they came off the back of the machines also showed me how popular Jodi Rell, now governor-elect, was in the district, as well as senator-elect Joe Lieberman. House of Representatives incumbant Christopher Shays was also very popular in the district (District 11 in Greenwich) -- he won over Democrat Diane Farrell narrowly. Lamont didn't do very well there, but Republican candidate for senate Alan Schlesinger did horribly, despite the large number of Republican voters in that district.
I think Schlesinger's poor performance throughout the campaign in Connecticut shows how the Republicans in Washington were willing to neglect lost causes in traditionally Democratic states. This is exactly what has been the Democrats' downfall in past elections, and Howard Dean was determined to change that with his 50 state strategy this time around. I think it worked; we are now talking about MONTANA as a pickup for the Democrats. And other Republican strongholds were met with great campaigns from Democrats, causing many Republican campaigns to be on the defensive until Election Day.
It was a long day, but overall I was impressed with the quality of people working at the polls. (My sister had a different experience in district 10).
Monday, November 06, 2006
"Countries with a significant worsening in perceived levels of corruption include: Brazil, Cuba, Israel, Jordan, Laos, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and the United States. Countries with a significant improvement in perceived levels of corruption include: Algeria, Czech Republic, India, Japan, Latvia, Lebanon, Mauritius, Paraguay, Slovenia, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uruguay."
I hope that this is not a real commercial for the Dutch PvdA party, but I am afraid it is. Jan Peter Balkenende giving money intended to care for pensioners to George Bush instead in a secret deal? Oh, so that's why the Netherlands can't pay for pensions and why opponent Wouter Bos has to suggest that some pensioners give up some of their hard earned benefits. All that nonsense about ageing populations is just a cover up for the conspiracy, right?
Here is the video for the debate between Balkenende and Bos that took place a few days ago.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Well, after looking at this cute game, it seems that I can't play with the other kids: Only Europeans are allowed into the secret cabal that is the European Parliament, and they do this by playing a kind of supranational Dungeons and Dragons.
Way to leave me and everyone else out who has been itching to appreciate the European system!
I shall be expecting the nagging complaints about how nobody in the rest of the world gives the EU the respect it deserves....right .......about ...............now.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Let's break this article down.
Let's start at the end.
"I dream of a Greenpoint where Banana Republic is open all night, where groceries
are ordered over the Internet, and where the churches are converted to mixed-use
parking facilities. Mine is a Greenpoint of the future, sensitive to the desires
of its residents who so desperately need a racquet club and driving
Langlieb is just a yuppie, and if given the chance, would yuppify the whole world; he just hasn't learned to be ashamed of it yet and to hide his ambitions to homogenize one of the last real ethnic enclaves of which Greenpoint is a great example. Go back to New Jersey if you want to go to Banana Republic--they are already ubiquitous as it is. (and do you really need to shop at Banana Republic at 3 in the morning?)
Second, he wants to raise his children "amidst lawyers and investment bankers." Well, Langlieb obviously cares nothing about giving his kids any moral values. Of course, these kids would learn their sense of commitment to social improvement (read: eugenics) from their dear old gentrifying dad.
Third, this guy has a classic case of martyr complex.
"Sure, I could move to SoHo or the Upper East Side like some of my fellow
Haverford graduates who care only about themselves. But those places have
already been saved and they don’t need my help. "
I am so glad SOMEONE around here has taken it upon his shoulders (it is a burden, isn't it?) to single-handedly push all those nasty Polish people out of Greenpoint so that everything can be in your language for God's sake. (“some of the signs aren’t even in English”)
"While the community has several problems, most of them come back to the high
density of Polish people infesting its rowhouses."