Friday, September 30, 2011

Blame the protesters?

This is probably not the way to make friends and allies.

As the Financial Times reports, the Greek government says that if on-going strikes prevent the government from securing a desperately needed bailout, then it's the fault of those protesters. 
Andreas Georgiou, chairman of Elstat (Hellenic Statistical Agency), told the Financial Times on Friday that he could not provide the figures needed to finalise the 2012 budget because of the walk-out.

“We will miss tonight’s deadline for sending final updated debt and deficit figures for 2010 to the troika [experts from the European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank] because I and my team can’t get into the building to finish the job,” he said.

He said the figures were urgently needed for the troika to recalibrate the draft budget before it goes to parliament on Monday, “but it will take another two to three days of work to complete them”. 

The troika is reviewing Greece’s latest attempt to re-invigorate fiscal and structural reforms, including another €6bn of budget cuts, before deciding whether to release the next €8bn tranche of the current bail-out loan.
AFP notes that the government is looking to secure the support of French president Nicolas Sarkozy, as it attempts to build its financial strength and its international image.
France will be one of the key contributors to the expanded fund while its own banks are critically exposed to sovereign debt from Greece and other weak links in the eurozone chain -- Italy, Spain and Portugal.
Meanwhile, in Athens, officials from the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund are conducting an audit to decide whether to disburse eight billion euros ($11 billion) of crucial aid for Greece.
While some eurozone members have yet to approve the expansion of the broader bail-out fund, Greece is waiting on this tranche of a first bailout accord in May 2010 to pay its bills next month and so avoid default.

The fascination (let's call it that, okay!) with Anna Chapman continues

I doubt the media continue to cover what Anna Chapman is doing now that she's back in her native Russia because she's an attractive woman.

No, I'm sure they are (ahem) interested (ahem) in her because she was a spy who was deported from the U.S.

I'm sure of it.

Regardless, Business Week takes an in-depth look at how Ms. Chapman is becoming quite an (ahem) asset (ahem) to the Kremlin.(Just ask the Russian version of the men's magazine Maxim.)

Of course, not everyone in Russia is as enamored by her. The Moscow News reports that hecklers disrupted her earlier this week as she spoke at one Russian university.
Secret agent uncovered Anna Chapman met a hostile response at St. Petersburg State University on Wednesday as she tried to deliver a speech on leadership.

During a five minute address students held up signs saying “Get out of the university,” “Kremlin and porn studio – go the other way” and asked her challenging questions.

Chapman, the face of pro-Kremlin youth movement Molodaya Gvardia and a member of its Public Council, meanwhile tried to deliver a speech on the qualities of leadership and how to become a leader in the modern world.
Recently, we learned that Ms. Chapman dazzled a group of businessmen by so-ably handing a big gun

Yes, it's because she was a spy. Has to be.

Arrivederci, Kobe Bryant

One of the NBA's best players says he's ditching the league (and North America) while the NBA is still in a lockout. The Los Angeles Times sent the following news alert late last night (PDT):
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant reportedly reached a verbal agreement to play with the Italian professional basketball team Virtus Bologna. Bryant will earn $3 million, reports the Associated Press, for the first 40 days of the Italian League season beginning Oct. 9.

The NBA has delayed the start of training camp and canceled 43 exhibition games through Oct. 15.
See ya, Kobe. Stay longer, if you want. Just be sure to treat the women there better than you did that one young Colorado woman from a few years ago.

That's all.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I recall hanging out on Friday night...

Can you go back?

Physically, yes. But you can never bring back what was...whether to relive it, or make it different.

I want to go back...cause I'm feeling so much older. But I can't go back, I know.

Just once in his life...a man has his time. And my time is now. I'm coming alive!!

There is no way, no way at all, that you will be able to convince me that St. Elmo's Fire is 26 years old.

No chance.

I heard the song on my way home today. It triggered a host of memories.

Twenty-six years ago?

DSK et Tristane Banon rencontrent

DSK and Tristane Banon meet.

He is the former head of the International Monetary Fund who recently had sexual assault charges against him in New York dropped.

She is a French writer who says he tried to rape her a few years ago.

On Thursday, as France 24 reports, they met in a meeting arranged by the police. And neither side gave an inch.
Only police were present at the encounter, common in French justice when two people give a different version of events, during which one of Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said both sides had stuck to their version of what happened.
"DSK stuck to his version of events, as did she," lawyer Henri Leclerc said, using the politician's initials by which he is commonly known in France.
Asked whether his client had apologised, Leclerc said: "He has nothing to apologise for."
Banon gave a television news interview late Thusday, saying that she had maintained her allegation that the one-time French presidential hopeful had lured her to a Paris apartment and violently tried to rape her.
"There was a rape attempt and I repeated that," Banon told TF1 television. Both parties have given primetime interviews during the police investigation.
AFP adds that Dominique Strauss-Kahn did acknowledge that he made a pass at Ms. Banon, who is 30 years younger.

Unless I am mistaken, there is no physical evidence to validate Ms. Banon's claim of an attempted rape. Absent such evidence, this case boils down to credibility -- who is more likely to be believed? And that credibility and believability right now means nothing. It becomes critical should the case move to trial. 

The World Series will be won by...

...uh, hold on, we'll get to that.

Last year, I predicted that the San Francisco Giants would win the World Series. Can I repeat, so to speak, this year?

I will, if...

Philadelphia over St. Louis: Synopsis: Phillies have too much pitching and better balance in their lineup
Arizona over Milwaukee: Synopsis: D'backs have remained under the radar all season long; they're better than the Brewers

Detroit over New York: Synopsis: It's all about Justin Verlander. If he can win games 1 and 5, the Tigers other 24 players can win one in the middle
Texas over Tampa Bay: Synopsis: The Rays have already had their miracle

Philadelphia over Arizona: Synopsis: Phillies have too much pitching....
Texas over Detroit: Synopsis: Unless the Tigers clone Verlander, he can't do it all

Philadelphia over Texas: Synopsis: You already know why.

I want to move...but my spouse could be a real problem

No, the title of that post doesn't apply to me. But it is an important issue that academicians who are considering a long-term move to another country need to consider.

Writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, a person who works in the United Arab Emirates offers a checklist of important items to consider.

I found this paragraph to be the most important:
The stress of moving to a new country may exacerbate dysfunctional behavior among family members. If families have strong ties to the community and the relatives they are leaving behind, the relocation can result in a longer-than-usual adjustment phase. If children are very attached to particular recreational activities such as sports, camps, or outdoor activities, the family will need to search for replacement activities, and that may take a while. In cases in which small children or difficult teenagers are having behavioral problems, moving abroad may accentuate negative behavior and the family conflict it causes.
Good information for you to think about.

A one-day road trip

I don't make a habit of waking up at 4:00 a.m. Today, however, that was my wake-up time because of a planned visit to two high schools.

At Clearfield Area High School and The Grier School I met with students interested in careers in communication and (I hope) attending Point Park University in order to advance their academic and professional interests.

Leaving at 4:30 in the morning means there's no sunlight to enjoy. In fact, the sun hid from me until I was only a few minutes from my first stop. But as usual... knew how to make an entrance!

And what you can't see is the changing colors of the leaves. The reds and oranges in central Pennsylvania are everywhere.

Mother Nature puts on quite a display this time of year.