Saturday, 20 December 2008

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Worthy of note in the blogsphere: A Miquelon post that hits back French bashers with facts and figures

Worthy of note in the blogsphere: A Miquelon post that hits back French bashers with facts and figures is Huffington Post’s PICK.

Enough with the “SURRENDER MEME” in the comment sections every time the Huffington Post has an item about France.

For over five years, we - French expatriates in America - have had to endure all kinds of harassment, public humiliation and ridicule, all because our government refused to follow the Bush / Cheney in lock and step over the invasion of Irak.

Mocking the 1940 armistice by Marshall Pétain show lack of understanding and respect. 92,000 men died fighting in 1939-40 and 20,000 French resistance fighters and 40,000 POWs died from 1940 to 1945. Civilian losses include 120,000 killed due to military action and 230,000 victims of Nazi reprisals and genocide including 83,000 FRENCH Jews.

This is no laughing matter, yet day in, day out, Monday morning quarterbacks spew their hatred of the French here and elsewhere with the impunity that comes with remote disconnection.

Once again I shall maintain that mocking the 1940 deblacle is as funny to the French as 9/11 is to Americans. It’s time to get past the Jonah Goldberg / Grounds keeper Willie zingers and show some mutual respect between our sister republics.

Marc A. Cormier

A huge bravo for Marc who has remained dignified and calm amidst the vitriol against the French because our government refused, and rightly so, to sanction President Bush's illegal, immoral and criminal invasion of and war on Iraq.

Not all Americans deserve to be rebuked. But I maintain that those Americans who take to bashing the French because America's own president lied to his people are the parochial, insular, ignorant types, much like their blundering warmonger for a commander in chief, Bush. Frankly, this blog is tempted to to deal with people of this caliber by simply letting them wallow in their pathetic and flawed self-righteousness but, heck, Marc Cormier is right: something has got to be done to educate them!

Lest there be any misunderstanding: Most French backed our government’s refusal, as Marc stated, “to follow Bush/Cheney in lock and step over the invasion of Irak” because we believed that Bush and his fellow hawks were totally wrong to invade and cause havoc on a nation based on deceit and lies… Didn't America’s own officials involved in the Iraq Study Group virtually prove that Bush had been completely inept when he insisted that Iraq must be invaded and its people violated on the basis of fixed intelligence?

It is not a measure of courage or intelligence for a government and a people who have at their command an omnipotent military to be able to poke holes on every square foot of land in a third world country and cause devastation and misery to its already suffering population but it takes immense courage and great intelligence NOT TO DO something as odious and ignoble as that.

And for that we are called cowards?

Photo of commemorative plate in the tunnel at Plage Bonaparte from Mathieu GUY's photostream and also from here.

New Michelin France "Le Guide Rouge" chief is a German woman

The title of this post should have been: News that Michelin France "Le Guide Rouge" is German draws a mocking appraisal of a purported French reaction from The Independent.

British 'tabloid' The Independent reports that French find German's role hard to swallow.

The world of Teutonic gastronomy is in shock following the surprise announcement by the board of Guide Michelin France that a 38-year-old German woman has been chosen to run the male-dominated culinary bible for the first time in its 108-year history.

Read the full story here.

We say, "Bullocks!"

The Independent is speaking from their backside. This blog and its French members are happy to learn that a woman, a German, who The Independent themselves say, "In German culinary circles, Ms Caspar has been criticised by some for being too rooted in the traditions classical French cuisine. For others, she is the Michelin editor who has gone out of her way to award stars to young chefs who are not afraid to experiment" has been selected for the job.
[...] Julianne Caspar is the first woman and - it goes almost without saying - the first German to run Michelin's legendary "Guide Rouge". She was previously responsible for Michelin guides on Germany, Switzerland and Austria but will take over the French Guide from January next year.

Michelin France yesterday described the deliberately publicity shy Ms Caspar, who hails from the German industrial city of Bochum, as a "polyglot who speaks four languages fluently." The publication added: "She is the first foreigner to run Guide Michelin France". [...]

So, why should the appointment of Ms Julianne Caspar, someone who is clearly a hugely qualified traditional French cuisine proponent to the most influential restaurant guide in the world, shock the French? The Independent is treading in dangerous French bashing waters by unecessarily misleading their readers with their sensationalism driven treatment of this news.

Welcome aboard Ms Caspar!

Obama, Time Person of the Year, runners up: Paulson and French Pres Sarkozy


Barack Obama is 'Time' Person of the Year
[...] Time magazine named US President-Elect Barack Obama its 2008 "Person of the Year", in what must have been one of the easiest decisions its editorial board has had to make. [...]
Runners-Up include President Nicolas Sarkozy and Henry M. (Hank) Paulson Jr: More here

Former UK PM Tony Blair writes:

[...] There are times when Nicolas Sarkozy resembles a force of nature rather than a conventional political leader. He has energy, ideas and vitality in abundance, as he showed in such matters as his handling of the Georgia crisis and the global economic downturn. Of course, as with any new leader, 18 months — Nicolas was elected President of France in May 2007 — is insufficient time to make a final judgment. But certain elements are already clear.

First, Nicolas has the hallmark of any true leader: a capacity to take decisions and implement them. He sees a problem and wants to solve it. What's more, he believes he can.

Second, he is prepared to think outside the box. Reflect for a moment, and the construction of his government in France is a remarkable achievement. His Foreign Minister — the immensely capable Bernard Kouchner — is a Socialist, as are several other ministers. Nicolas has adopted bipartisanship with not only a natural grace but also a wholehearted and sincere embrace. He stands in the modern postideological mold. He wants to get things done, and he wants the best people to do them. [...]

More here.

Truth is France Blog didn't think the American weekly magazine would include French President Sarkozy in their persons of the year line up. So, it was a surprise. France Blog congratulates the winners and while Paulson would have been our last choice, we think the line up is made up of clever choices. Needless to say, we believe Sarkozy bashers will be at work objecting to the French president's inclusion but we in France Blog believe Time's choice of President Sarkozy in the line up is truly judicious.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Janine di Giovanni embelishes her story about France and the French with arsenic and lies

SuperFrenchie reports a bad reporting, a case of writing in bad faith by an American French-bashing journalist, who it seems, if the Wiki blurb were to be believed, is a 'decorated' war correspondent.

I read the purported beastly article in question and true enough, Janine di Giovanni's arsenic-laced piece of journalism is an exercise in frustration and it does "take the cake for bad faith reporting."

Giovanni's piece nearly had me flummoxed. I mean, some of the garbage she said about France are just completely false. An example: zero credit card. She writes, "No one lives on credit in France because banks don’t allow overdrafts and zero percent credit cards do not exist."

Where did she get that piece of rubbish? So blatantly misleading is she that klancymiller, one of the commenters in her site, was prompted to ask quite rightly: "Where do you do your research?" and went on to point Giovanni's spins.

No one lives on credit in France and don't allow overdrafts, etc., etc.? Utter falsehood. My brother, who is a student in an Ecole de commerce in Paris, survives virtually on his credit card overdrafts. I can tell you right here and now that my parents have just (very recently matter of fact) paid off his 1500-euro overdraft after his bank threatened to do something drastic about his burgeoning debt.

Giovanni pushed her reporting too far when she wrote, “Last week Lanvin, the French couture house favored by Hollywood celebrities, gave a private sale and I stood in the midst of hysterical women clamoring for fur coats. Fur coats? In the midst of the global meltdown?”
I Googled the Lanvin sale and found what she might have been talking about in L'Express which is a pretty reputable French weekly (by the way, I am familiar with these Faubourg-Saint Honoré soldes):

Lanvin- 40% sur le prêt-à-porter automne-hiver, les chaussures, les sacs et les ceintures sauf manteaux en fourrure et certains bijoux cristaux, colliers plastron et perles. La bonne affaire: la sublime robe longue du soir en jersey gris chiné retenue par de fines bretelles, avec sur le devant un nœud de velours noir à 925 € au lieu de 1 540 €. Ou bien, petit «must-have» de la collection, les ballerines plates à 330 € soldées 198 €. 15, rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, VIIIe. 01-44-71-33-33.

Translation of those in bold: 40% on ready to wear Fall-Winter collection, shoes, bags, belts except fur coats and some crystal jewelry, plastron and pearl necklaces. °

In other words, Lanvin fur coats were not part of the private sale, hence the women shoppers couldn't have been clamouring for fur coats in that private sale precisely because they weren't included in the private sale!

So, is Giovanni (shown right in picture) LYING?
Well, what's clear to me is that she has embelished her story to shock and awe her readers but why did she have to make up, i.e., lie about, some of the things she was reporting on? Of course, there are more anneries in her artitcle but this is just one spin too many so I will leave it at that. Go, read it and try not to puke!
No matter how you turn her article around, you see it dripping with disdain, contempt, scorn for the French etc. That article contains a historical record of her thoughts about the French and there's no doubt about it, she hates the French.
Why Janine de Giovanni baise français (fucks a Frenchman) boggles the mind but maybe, just maybe, elle souffre de la malbaise! (she's fucked badly!)

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Gluttony is ugly

I wouldn't have been interested in obesity had I not ran into a report on CNN-AC 360° tonight announcing that Oprah Winfrey, US talk show host, is obese and that she was embarassed because she weighed 200 pounds. (Whew! That's a lot of weight to carry around for someone who doesn't seem to be tall.)

The commentator followed up the report with a shocking revelation: 7 out of 10 Americans are obese. My goodness me. That's a lot of fat. No wonder, they say Americans are too fat for x-rays!

The CNN report that I heard seems to jibe with what I've just read in a Medical News report:
[...] An estimated two-thirds of the entire U.S. adult population is overweight or obese, and an estimated 23 million children fall into one of the two categories. [...]
According to a Down to Earth report, "the average [American] child sees more than 10,000 food ads on TV each year, most for high-calorie, high-fat, and high-sugar meals. Not only does the fast food industry spend billions per year on marketing, but they have also infiltrated our schools, signing contracts with them. Our children are bombarded from every angle with these toxic foods making it virtually impossible for them to eat anything else. It is no wonder that we have an increasingly obese population of children (who in time will become an obese population of adults)."

(I don't really know if this McDonald advert is for real but by gum, if it is, McDonald's is virtually committing a crime for inciting children to eat themselves to death!)
And with a poor national health care system, I wonder how these obese people will cared for when their health degenerates on account of excessive, unecessary, ugly body fat.
Thus making Americans officially the fattest humans on the planet, writes Healthy 360° .Must say this is the ugliest picture I've ever seen. It seems so gross and just downright vulgar to parade such ugliness that's primaritly been caused by gluttony. Think of how much prettier these fat women could have been had they put in some of the money they spent on food in a fund that would buy food for these starving children in Africa.

But let's face it. The trend towards putting on more weight that one can do without seems to be everywhere, even in France, home to the chic and slim. (Although I must say, I still have to see 7 out of 10 French that's obese.) Fortunately, the government has stepped up its campaign against obesity.

In fact, France is the leader in Europe in the introduction of public health measures aimed at reducing childhood obesity and have banned vending machines in schools since 2005. Read IHT report here.
A piece of advice to Ms Winfrey and to all those folks in America who say they can't lose weight: The secret to losing weight is to just stop eating or at least eat much, much less. Everytime, you want to eat an extra slice of bread, think of the starving children in Africa.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

France overtakes British economy

Britain on the brink of recession? I think the UK is already in recession. The days of wild spending are over. Who would think that the free-wheeling and dealing Brits who had it good for the last decade are on the verge of falling behind the poorer Italians?
Thirty years ago, France was also host to thousands and thousands of jobless Brits when Britain was at its wits' ends trying to make ends meet, and I'm afraid that today's younger Brits -- even those who are anti-Europe or are Euro haters but who now find themselves in dire economic situation, will start trooping back here looking for jobs. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they might soon compete for jobs that were usually reserved for the Poles and the Latvians or other Eastern Europeans.
Frankly, that's fine by me on the condition that they learn to speak French! I've met many Brits who have lived years and years in France but do not even try to learn or to speak French. They continue to live in a world of their own, among themselves, refusing to integrate. Most of them have expatriated to France but don't necessarily like the French. They simply want to avail of the French quality of life and the nation's first class health care system, things that are not readily available to them in cold, wet, dreary UK. Quite appalling behaviour actually!

According to The Times' in-country French basher Charles Bremner, many Brits who have come to France thinking that they would live la belle vie with their British pensions in Sterling are flying back home because the British currency has dwindled in value compared to the hated Euro.

Speaking of Bremner, I doubt however that he would be one of them. His bread and butter is in France. He lives la belle vie and gets to criticise France and the French and gets paid for doing it. So, why should he? Why would he want to live a potentially impoverished life in London?

Here's a report by The Daily Telegraph...
Britain's economy overtaken by France, new figures show: the fall reflected the pound's slump to record lows against the euro.
The UK is now the sixth largest economy in the world Photo: GETTY

New figures show that the economic crisis has pushed Britain well down the international league table.

The UK is now the sixth largest economy in the world, behind America, Japan, China, Germany and France.

Economists said the fall reflected the pound's slump to record lows against the euro.

A year ago the UK economy was 8 per cent bigger than that of France, measured by gross domestic product (GDP).

Now it is 14 per cent smaller, according to figures from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR). More here.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Mixed race beauty from Albigeois Midi-Pyrénées is Miss France 2009

2008, Year of the mixed race!

US Golf Open champion: Tiger Woods; Formula 1 Champion: Lewis Hamilton;Elected president of the United States:Barack Obama

Last year, Valérie Bègue, a pretty mixed-race Miss Réunion was elected by TV viewers and a panel of pageant judges to become Miss France 2008.

Tonight, her successor, 19-year old Chloe Mortaud , a mixed-race beauty from Albigeois Midi Pyrénées bested a bevy of lovelies, including my pick, Miss Lorraine who came in 1st runner-up, for the title of Miss France 2009.

Chloe Mortaud, Miss France 2009

Age: 19
Place of birth: Lisieux
Studies: Bachelor of Technical Sciences in International Trade
Height: 1m80 (5'11") with dark brown eyes and hair Hobbies: dance, jazz and classical music, playing the piano and the theatre
Qualities: la joie de vivre, determined and hardworking

Video of the Miss France 2009 finalists...

Félicitations Miss France 2009!

Headline grabbers this week: Sarkozy-Dalai Lama meet, 2 million American jobs destroyed, US contempt for rule of law, cluster bombs

Despite vulgar threats threats from Peking, President Nicolas Sarkozy keeps meeting with the Dalai Lama in Poland.

From Le Figaro: Première rencontre entre Sarkozy et le dalaï-lama First meeting between Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama
(Eric Feferberg / AFP)
(Eric Feferberg / AFP)
[...] «Il convient de ne dramatiser aucun rendez-vous. Je suis libre de mon agenda», a tranché le président de la République, avant de s'entretenir avec le leader spirituel tibétain samedi en Pologne. [...] "There's no reason to over-react about any meeting. I'm free to do as I please", so decided the president of the Republic before meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader in Poland today.
[...] C'est fait. Après des mois d'attentes, de polémiques et de menaces de Pékin, le président français Nicolas Sarkozy a rencontré le dalaï-lama, pour la première fois, samedi à Gdansk, au nord de la Pologne. L'entretien entre les deux hommes a débuté peu après 16h30 et se poursuit actuellement. Peu avant, lors d'une conférence de presse, le chef de l'Etat français avait affirmé qu'il convenait de «ne pas dramatiser» cette rencontre. [...] Done. After months of waiting, of controvery and of threats from Peking, France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama met for the first time on Saturday (today) in the Polish town of Gdansk. The meeting between the two men began at around 4.30 PM and is still going on. More here.
Well, well... that will learn 'em Chinese not to go around threatening leaders of sovereign European states with whatever.
Of course, it didn't stop Chinese authorities attacking France, qualifying Sarkozy's decision to meet with the Dalai Lama as opportunistic and hasty for not only ruffling Chinese feelings but also for weakening Sino-Franco relations. Frankly, who cares!
On the other side of the pond, things are going from bad to worse. Reports have it that the US has almost reached the two million job loss mark for the year, the highest in the last 15 years. More than half a million jobs were lost for the month of November alone and still counting.
From Le Monde: Le chômage aux Etats-Unis au plus haut depuis quinze ans The highest unemployment rate in the United States in the last 15 years.
Meanwhile in the International Herald Tribune :
Roger Cohen writes about the "snub symbol of U.S. contempt for the rule of law."
[...] THE HAGUE: Of the many issues that have soured relations between Europe and the United States under the Bush administration, few have been as poisonous as America's refusal to join the world's first permanent war crimes court here. The snub symbol of U.S. contempt for the rule of law.
In one of his last acts, Bill Clinton signed the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court, but the signature never led to U.S. ratification. On the contrary, President Bush withdrew the signature.

The effect of U.S. rejection of the court, combined with the trashing of habeas corpus at Guantánamo Bay, has been devastating. Allies from Canada to Germany that are court members have been dismayed by the U.S. dismissal of an institution they see doing evident good.
Other smaller nations from Latin America to Africa, browbeaten by the United States on the issue, have looked elsewhere for lost military or financial support. The American idea, grounded in legal principles, has been undermined. [...] More here.
Human rights be damned? Let's hope the incoming US administration will prove to be as good as the world expects them to be.
In a surprising last-minute change of policy, the government of President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan agreed Wednesday to join about 100 nations signing a treaty banning the use of cluster munitions, Afghan officials said.
The decision appeared to reflect Karzai's growing independence from the Bush administration, which has opposed the treaty and, according to a senior Afghan official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, had urged Karzai not to sign it.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Barack Obama mentor Warren Buffett competing with France's EDF for US electricity firm buyout

From Le Monde: EDF concurrence Warren Buffet sur le rachat de l'électricien américain Constellation EDF competing with Warren Buffet over Constellation, American electricity company.
EDF a proposé, mercredi 3 décembre, de racheter 50 % des actions du producteur d'électricité américain Constellation, pour un montant de 52 dollars par action, soit un investissement total de 4,5 milliards de dollars (3,5 milliards d'euros). Le groupe français entre ainsi en concurrence avec MidAmerican Energy Holdings, la société du milliardaire américain Warren Buffett. EDF offered on Wednesday, 3rd December to buy 50% of of the shares of American electricity company, Constellation, at 52 dollars per share representing a total investment of 4.5 billion dollars (3.5 billion euros). The French group is in competition with MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a company owned by American billionaire Warren Buffett.
EDF, I believe is one of the world's largest in electricity production and energy businessess. The French conglomerate is present in many countries and already operates in the UK.

Coming at the heel of the Boeing-led torpedoeing of EADS-Northrop bid there will surely be an outcry from Americans who are some of the worst isolationists in business. We all know how EADS lost the USD 35 billion US Air Force contract it had already won. Detractors had ignorantly claimed that EADS was a French company which it is not -- it is a pan-European company and Northrop-EADS bid would be made up of a grouping of American firms.
I have no doubt Warren Buffett, the world's richest man, will not allow himself to be defeated in the contest and I have a suspicison he will use his influence with President-elect Obama to make sure France's EDF doesn't win.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Extremism, Sarkozy voodoo dolls and basic human rights

Following the extremist attacks on Mumbai from Le Figaro:
Deux Français ont été tués dans les attaques de Bombay Two French were killed in Mumbai attacks
Le Quai d'Orsay a confirmé la mort de ce couple, qui séjournait à l'Oberoi/Trident. L'armée a repris le contrôle du centre juif de Bombay où les corps de 5 otages ont été retrouvés. Des explosions et des échanges de tirs ont encore lieu à l'hôtel Taj Mahal. Quai d'Orsay has confirmed the death of the couple who were staying at the Oberoi/Trident hotel. The army has taken control of the Jewish center of Mumbai where the bodies of 5 hostages were found. Explosions and gunshots are still heard in the Hotel Taj Mahal.
Loumia Hiridjee et son mari dînaient à l'Oberei, au moment de l'attaque. Loumia Hirdjee, a French-Indian national and founder of Princess Tam Tam lingerie, and her husband were dining at the Oberei during the attack. They had been living in Mumbai for a year doing humanitarian work.
The Times headlines Jewish hostages killed as British terrorists linked to Bombay attacks. Pakistanis holding British citizenship have become very radical and as we all know, some have been directly linked to Al Qaeda. British laws on immigration and nationality have been considered some of the more lax in Europe when it comes to immigration which have probably allowed foreigners with extremist links to circulate freely and liberally in the UK.
Time to rethink state policies and to formulate better strategies on dealing with extremism -- whatever the colour. Si vis pacem para bellum!
Meanwhile, the Paris Appeals Court agrees that the Sarkozy voodoo dolls sold in the streets attack presidential dignity but rules that this attack does not justify forbidding their sale.

La poupée vaudou de Sarkozy reste dans le commerce Sarkozy voodoo dolls to remain in shops
I don't agree with the Court of Appeals. Let's leave the presidential seal out of it and look at it from the perspective of human rights.
No French or any human being should be deprived of his/her dignity and certainly not by a group of individuals whose objective is purely borne of malice, depravity and with serious intent to cause moral harm. By virtue of the fundamental right to dignity that each and every human being is entitled to, why should Nicolas Sarkozy be deprived of his elementary human right to dignity just because he happens to be the president of the republic? It doesn't make sense!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

To the oppressive regime in China: We eat Chinese threats for breakfast!

The Chinese are flexing their muscles and are trying to pin down Pres Nicolas Sarkozy to the ground.

From Le Monde:

Le régime chinois veut imposer un rapport de force avec M. Sarkozy The Chinese regime want to impose their will on Mr Sarkozy

Pékin a décidé d'annuler la tenue d'un sommet UE-Chine, prévu le 1er décembre à Lyon, pour protester contre la prochaine rencontre entre le président français et le dalaï-lama. Peking has decided to cancel a UE-China summit scheduled on 1st December in Lyon to protest against a forthcoming meeting between the French president and the Dalai Lama.
The French president and the Dalai Lama are scheduled to meet on 6th December. The Tibetan spiritual chief is also awaited in Brussels next week.
EU member nations are astonished by the virulent reaction of the Chinese, reports Le Monde:
A Pékin, certains observateurs européens interprètent la décision chinoise avec un mélange d'incompréhension et de rancœur, estimant que le coup de colère en dit long sur la vision que se font les Chinois du reste du monde en général et de l'Union européenne en particulier : le principe de priorité, même à propos d'une question tibétaine particulièrement sensible pour la République populaire, aurait dû normalement faire passer les relations sino-européennes avant une irritation essentiellement dirigée contre la France. In Pekin, some European observers interpret the Chinese decision with a mixture of incomprehension and sadness, and believe that the tantrum shows how the Chinese view the rest of the world in general and the European Union more specifically: the principle of priority, no matter how senstive the Chinese are feeling about the Tibetan question, should have taken precedence and that Sino-European relations should have been been put first before their irritation that's primarily directed against France.
The French president and the Dalai Lama are scheduled to meet on 6th December. The Tibetan spiritual chief is also awaited in Brussels next week.

Peking has been very vocal about their opposition to a meeting between Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama since August and have threatened Paris firms doing business with Peking with sanctions should such a meeting take place.

Well, here's what I say to these old hooliganistic Chinese regime leaders: I am not particularly enamoured of the Dalai Lama but this is the last straw. You guys are now trying to export to the West your authoritarian attitudes borne of decades of suppression within your own walls so, I think, it's time to say, you can do it to your own but shouldn't tell us what we, the freedom loving people of the West, could or couldn't do.

You, the morally corrupt leaders of China, have been going on a murderous rampage in Tibet, have been suppressing Tibetan freedon, are still trying to cow the Tibetans into submission, are continuously wrecking the lives of Tibetans living abroad and you want us to kowtow to your desiderata?
You may have lulled yourselves into believing that you are now poised to take over the world just because one of your debtor nations, America which is considered the mightiest and the most powerful on earth, cannot pay you back the hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars they owe you, and so you are starting to believe that the rest of the West has weakened, but guess what? You are kidding yourselves! As long as your corrupt, reppressive and murderous regime continues, there's no way the West will respect you.
Communism is dead! There's no way you can export your communistic diktats to France, a nation that was borne of a revolution, long before you guys did the unthinkable when you murdered millions and millions of your own.
The French are a civilised people but don't be fooled by the lip service because as a freedom loving people, there's no way we will accept your stupid childish diktats. You can take back your Chinese yuans and feed on them -- your threats are chicken feed to us. We eat Chinese threats for breakfast.
This blog now officially supports a Free Tibet!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Believe it or not: America owes Thanksgiving Day to France!

Thanksgiving Day in June? (H/T to Mark over at SuperFrenchie's)

Kenneth C. Davis, author of “America’s Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation”, wrote an amazing Op-Ed piece in the NY Times, suggesting that a June date would be far more appropriate to commemorate the arrival of the first pilgrims to America’s shores, “After all the first European arrivals seeking religious freedom in the “New World” were French. And they beat their English counterparts by 50 years.” °

A French Connection
Published: November 25, 2008

[...] That French settlers bested the Mayflower Pilgrims may surprise Americans raised on our foundational myth, but the record is clear.

Long before the Pilgrims sailed in 1620, another group of dissident Christians sought a haven in which to worship freely. These French Calvinists, or Huguenots, hoped to escape the sectarian fighting between Catholics and Protestants that had bloodied France since 1560.

Landing in balmy Florida in June of 1564, at what a French explorer had earlier named the River of May (now the St. Johns River near Jacksonville), the French émigrés promptly held a service of “thanksgiving.” Carrying the seeds of a new colony, they also brought cannons to fortify the small, wooden enclosure they named Fort Caroline, in honor of their king, Charles IX. [...]
Full NY Times article here.
Now, let me tell you that this was a surprising discovery for me just as I think it will surprise many Europeans and Americans alike to learn that America has a lot to thank the French for, eg., not only when they helped Gen George Washington boot King George's colonial armies but also for Thanksgiving Day! (I can't wait to hear what my English side of the family will say about that!)

So, with history for a backdrop, what better way than to wish all our friends in America a Happy Thanksgiving Feast in French: Joyeux Fêtes de Remerciements a tous nos amis en Amerique!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Dream Team Obama

Hmm... President-elect Barack Obama has come up with his team. Le Figaro headline:

Pour braver la crise, Obama choisit les «meilleurs esprits»

To confront the crisis, Obama selects the "best minds" or The Dream Team!

  • La «dream team»
    de Barack Obama

    Click (on the link above) to see the gallery of pictures of Obama's "Dream Team"

  • And the cost of the Obama plan? » Le plan Obama à 700 milliards d'euros
  • And guess what? The stock market surged all over world! A result of confidence in the American president-elect and his economic dream team.
  • Here's a message from David Plouffe, Campaign Manager, Obama for America:
Friend --

Today and yesterday, President-elect Barack Obama announced key members of an economic team tasked with creating jobs, stabilizing the economy, and getting our country back on track.

Barack is bringing together some of the best minds in the country to make swift progress on the economic challenges we face.

Timothy F. Geithner, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, will serve as Secretary of the Treasury. Lawrence H. Summers, former Secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton, will serve as Director of the National Economic Council.

Christina D. Romer will serve as Director of the Council of Economic Advisers, Melody C. Barnes will serve as Director of the Domestic Policy Council, and Heather A. Higginbottom will serve as Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Peter Orszag, currently Director of the Congressional Budget Office, will serve as Office of Management and Budget Director, and Rob Nabors will serve as Deputy Director.

Watch the video of Barack's announcement yesterday and learn more about the economic team:

Barack's economic team has already begun work on a recovery plan, and he'll provide progress updates in the coming weeks. He'll also provide their initial recommendations to the incoming Congress.

You'll be instrumental in generating support to pass legislation that puts America on the road to recovery.

While we can't underestimate the challenge we face, we also can't underestimate the opportunity we have to bring the change our country needs.



David Plouffe
Campaign Manager

Obama for America

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Mettons dehors ces individus lâches qui insultent la France! (Kick out those cowards who insult France!)

A disturbing phenomenon is happening right here in France and I don't like it...

Le Figaro reports: «La Marseillaise» sous surveillance La Marseillaise under surveillance

Crédits photo : AFP

Le secrétaire d'Etat aux Sports, Bernard Laporte, a annoncé qu'il quitterait le stade si l'hymne français venait à être sifflé lors du match contre l'Uruguay. The Secretary of State for Sports, Bernard Laporte, announced that he will walk out of the stadium if the French national anthem is hissed, whisteled over, etc. during the match with Uruguay.

Les sifflets qui ont couvert La Marseillaise lors du France-Tunisie du 14 octobre résonnent encore. Un sujet sensible. Le lendemain du match, le gouvernement avait préconisé la suspension des matchs en cas d'incidents de ce genre. L'hymne national sera-t-il encore sifflé ce soir ? Si La Marseillaise devait être à nouveau conspuée, ce ne serait pas le fait des supporteurs uruguayens, ils ne seront pas nombreux, mais plutôt de provocateurs profitant du contexte. The hissing and the whistling that drowned La Marseillaise during the France-Tunisia match on 14th October still resonates and continues to be a delicate subject. The day after the match, the government suggested the suspension of matches in case of another incident of the type occurs. Will the national hymn be hissed and whisteled over again tonight? If La Marseillaise is whistle-mobbed again, it won't come from supporters of the Uruguay team because they are not likely to be that many, but it will certainly be by provocateurs who will take advantage of the sporting context.

(Translation by France Blog. More on the story here.)

Commentaires de France Blog: Je suis complètement interloquée ! Comment peut-on tolérer ce genre d'agissements de la part de gens qui sont visiblement hostiles à la France. Le fait de siffler La Marseillaise dans un stade public lors d'une rencontre sportive qui se déroule en France ou ailleurs est une insulte à la France et au peuple français. Ces individus font preuve de la plus grand hostilité envers la France qui les accueille. Ils n'ont aucune raison de se trouver et de rester en France.

Il est du devoir de tout français qui se respecte de mettre un terme à ce genre d'agissements ignobles -- ces individus lâches doivent être montrés du doigt en public et, s'il se trouve qu'ils sont étrangers, il faut les expulser illico!

France Blog comments: I'm completely gobsmacked! How can we tolerate this type of act by people who are clearly hostile to France. Hissing, whistling, booing while La Marseillaise is being played in public during a sporting event, whether it's taking place right in France or somewhere else, is an insult to France and to the French people. It's a proof that those individuals are hostile to France that's welcomed them. They have no reason to find themselves nor to stay in France.

It is the duty of every French worthy of the name to put a stop to these ignoble actions -- these cowards should be pointed out in public and if they are foreigners, they must be kicked out without a moment's hesitation.

Monday, 17 November 2008

France nabs Basque terror chief suspect

From: Le Point: Le chef militaire présumé de l'ETA arrêté en France ETA military cell chief arrested in France.
L'opération a été menée sur commission rogatoire de la juge antiterroriste Laurence Le Vert, par des fonctionnaires de la Sous-Direction antiterroriste (SDAT), de la Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur (DCRI), de la PJ de Bayonne et du Raid. Selon une source proche du dossier, c'est un renseignement de la garde civile espagnole, transmis à la DCRI, qui a permis l'interpellation.
The operation was led on the basis of an order issued by Anti-terrorism judge Laurence Vert by members of SDAT (Counter Terrorism Sub Unit), the agents of DCRI (Interior Intelligence Central Office), the Judiciary Police unit and of Raid. According to a source who knows the file, the arrest was made on a tip received from the Spanish Guardia Civil which had been transmitted to the DCRI.
From CNN:

MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Police arrested the suspected military chief of the Basque separatist group ETA in a pre-dawn raid Monday in southern France, the French interior minister announced.

Suspected ETA military chief Aspiazu is considered a Basque separatist hardliner.

Suspected ETA military chief Aspiazu is considered a Basque separatist hardliner.

The suspect, Mikel Garikoitz Aspiazu, 35, is wanted in connection with the shooting deaths of two plainclothes Spanish Civil Guards last December -- while they were on an anti-ETA investigation in France. He is thought to have been the ETA commander who trained and sent operatives to carry out attacks.

French anti-terrorism police arrested Aspiazu, alias "Txeroki," at an apartment in the Pyrenees resort village of Cauterets, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Lourdes. A woman, not immediately identified, was also detained in the raid with a warrant from French anti-terrorism judge Laurence Le Vert, CNN partner station CNN+ reported. Full story here.

Comment: I can safely say that I know the Basque regions both in France and in Spain. For years, we used to holiday in the Basque region down in the southwest of France and had made excellent friends with both French and Spanish Basques that continue to this day. We had a home in Ascain, a small village near the coastal towns of Cibourre, Biarritz and St Jean-de-Luz. The children learned to ski in the Pyrenees near Saint Nary Soulan, a few miles from world famous pilgrimage site Lourdes.

Basque terrorism (ETA) on the other side of the border (in Spain) was raging but despite the troubles in the neighbouring region of San Sebastian, there were no incidents over at our side. The French Basques were perhaps more financially at ease. They had integrated very well into the mainstream French way of life. Didier Deschamps and Bixente Lizarazu were two prominent football players who played for the French team in 1998 and became World Cup champions. Deschamps captained the team to victory.

Why a group or a handful of Basques in Spain continues to violently espouse independence thus causing havoc and misery among the otherwise peaceful population in the Spanish Basque region is beyond me. Doesn't make sense. They cannot go it alone even if they had their independence. That part of Spain is not just up to it.

Taliban at the gates of Peshawar and threatening to hit Paris

From Le Figaro:
Des officiers de la police pakistanaise sont en état d'alerte, à un croisement à Shabqadar, à 30 kilomètres au nord de Peshawar, le 12 novembre. Un attentat-suicide venait d'y faire 3 morts à l'entrée d'une école.
Des officiers de la police pakistanaise sont en état d'alerte, à un croisement à Shabqadar, à 30 kilomètres au nord de Peshawar, le 12 novembre. Un attentatsuicide venait d'y faire 3 morts à l'entrée d'une école. Crédits photo : AP (On 12th November, Pakistani police were in a state of alert at the junction of Shabkadar 30 kms north of Peshawar. A suicide bombing had killed 3 people at the gates of a school.)

Refuge des habitants des zones tribales chassés par les bombardements, la capitale du Nord-Ouest frontalière de l'Afghanistan est devenue la cible des talibans pakistanais. (Refuge for tribes who were driven away by the bombings, the capital of the North-West border of Afhganistan has become the target of Pakistani Talibans.)
Comment: The Talibans should be decimated. Extremism has no place in a society that wishes to survive. They are a menace to every man, woman and child who simply want to go about living their lives.
The bloody Talibans even had the audacity to threaten to bomb Paris if we didn't withdraw our forces from Afghanistan! Do they really want to end up like Bush?
So they want to bring their poppy cultivating war right to our doorstep? Well, here's what... I have no doubt that President Sarkozy will follow Jacques Chirac's nuke doctrine if these Taliban weasels even if they remotely try: France will make potholes every single square foot of land these Taliban weasels inhabit!

Reuters video

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Sarkozy à Putin: "Tu veux terminer comme Bush?"

French left-wing take on the Sarkozy-Putin anecdote: «Oui, mais tu veux terminer comme Bush ?»
From one of the most critical and anti-Sarkozy left wing political tabloids, Le Nouvel Observateur: Sarko le Russe (Sarko the Russian).
But despite their hate-Sarkozt spins, Le Nouvel Obs couldn't hide the fact that President Sarkozy played a great stabilising hand in the then Russia-Georgia debacle. Obviously, Nouvel Obs wouldn't be Nouvel Obs without their usual virulent snarks, but it really doesn't matter -- at the end of the day, no matter the left-hand/backhand salute, there was no beating around the bush: President Sarkozy saved the day for the Western World. Russia did stand down!
La scène, qui n'a jamais été racontée, se déroule au Kremlin, le 12 août, en début d'après-midi. Nicolas Sarkozy est seul face à Vladimir Poutine et Dimitri Medvedev. Il essaie de convaincre les deux Russes d'arrêter les combats en Géorgie et surtout de ne pas prendre Tbilissi. Il sait qu'une grande partie de l'armée russe veut aller jusqu'au bout et renverser Saakachvili. Comment ? Grâce aux interceptions des services secrets français ! Selon une note de la direction du renseignement militaire à ce sujet, certains responsables de l'état-major à Moscou conseillent à leurs chefs de foncer puisque la voie est libre. Sarkozy sait aussi - ou croit savoir qu'un pouvoir géorgien fantoche a été constitué par le Kremlin et qu'il est prêt à prendre la relève.
Le président français interpelle Poutine et Medvedev : «Vous ne pouvez pas faire cela, le monde ne l'acceptera pas.» Poutine réplique dans son langage ordurier habituel : «Saakachvili, je vais le faire pendre par les couilles.» «Le pendre ?» demande le président français, effaré. «Pourquoi pas ? répond le Premier ministre russe. Les Américains ont bien pendu Saddam Hussein.» «Oui, mais tu veux terminer comme Bush ?», rétorque Sarkozy. Poutine est interloqué. Comme Bush ? Il réfléchit puis lâche : «Ah, là, tu marques un point.»
C'est gagné : Saakachvili sauve sa tête et ses... Cet échange fleuri, épisode crucial de la geste géorgienne de Sarkozy, nous a été relaté par Jean-David Levitte, le conseiller diplomatique à l'Elysée. Normal : il donne le beau rôle au président français, auquel beaucoup, en Europe comme en France, reprochent d'avoir - par ignorance ou par calcul - trop cédé aux Russes cet été.
The scene that has never been told before happened in Kremlin early in the afternoon of 12 August. Nicolas Sarkozy was alone with Vladimir Putin and Dimitri Medvedev. He was trying to convince the two Russians to stop the combat in Georgia and more specifically, not to invade Tbilissi. He knew that the Russian Army wanted to go the whole hog and depose Saakachvili. How? Thanks to the interceptions made by the French Secret Service! According to a note issued byt the chief of French military intelligence, some of the top ranking members of the Moscow estabslishment were advising their chiefs to go ahead. Sarkozy was well aware too -- or believed he knew that a puppet regime (to replace Saakachvili) had been formed by Kremlin and was preparing to take over.
The French president told Putin and Medvedev: "You can't do that, the world won't accept it." Putin replied in his usual trashy language: "Saakachvili, I'm going to hang him by the balls." "Hang him?" the surprised French president asked. "Why not?" the Russian Prime Minister answered. "The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein." "Yes, but do you want to end up like Bush?" countered Sarkozy. Putin was gobsmacked. Like Bush? He thought for a while and said: "Ah, you scored a point there."
The "battle" was won. Saakachvili saved his head and his ... This rather pittoresque exchange, a crucial episode in Sarkozy's Georgia initiative was recounted to us by Jean-David Levitte, a diplomatic adviser at the Elysée. Well, nothing extraordinary really that he should attribute the hero role to the French president whom many in Europe, just like in France, reproach for having given in too much to the Russians last Summer either out of ignorance or cunning.
(Translation by HB) Complete Nouvel Obs story here.
This is effing funny! Hah!
Like it or not, Georgia's President Mikhail Saakashvili should thank his lucky stars that President Nicolas Sarkozy of France saved his balls from the destructive ire of ex-KGB butchering operative-turned Russian president-turned Russian PM Vladimir Putin.
A delicious, effing funny anecdote from The Times on last August's ex-would be Russian grand invasion of Georgia (For the benefit of US VP election loser Sarah Palin: Georgia the country not the state in the US, OK?):
.../... With Russian tanks only 30 miles from Tbilisi on August 12, Mr Sarkozy told Mr Putin that the world would not accept the overthrow of Georgia...

"I am going to hang Saakashvili by the balls," Mr Putin replied.

Mr Sarkozy responded: "Hang him?"

"Why not? The Americans hanged Saddam Hussein," said Mr Putin. (Which reminds me of a debate that was raging in Russia earlier this year: To be "as cruel as the Americans" or not)
Mr Sarkozy replied, using the familiar (French) "tu": "Yes but do you want to end up like (President) Bush?"
Mr Putin was briefly lost for words, then said: "Ah, you have scored a point there."
President Mikhail Saakashvili, who was in Paris to meet Mr Sarkozy today, laughed nervously when a French radio station read him the exchange. "I knew about this scene, but not all the details. It's funny, all the same," said the Georgian President.
Mr Putin's reported remarks appear to confirm that he was calling the shots in Moscow and not President Medvedev, who was Mr Sarkozy's host at the Kremlin meeting.
The language was in keeping with Mr Putin's fondness for coarse imagery. More here.
Hat off to the French president who, like it or not, can be really persuasive. A lawyer by training and a professional politician by vocation, the man is quick witted and a pragmatist par excellence.

Meanwhile, in an exclusive interview with French broadsheet Le Figaro today, Russian chief executive Dmitri Medvedev declared that Russia is prepared to cancel its plans to deploy nuclear weapons in Kalinigrad if the new US president (Barack Obama) renounces American plans to build an anti-missile shield in Poland.

Medevdev will be in Nice shortly to attend a Russia-EU summit and will be in Washington this weekend to attend another summit aimed at tackling the global economic crisis.

Clearly, President-elect Obama cannot or shouldn't refuse this proferred Russian hand of "world peace". Question is how will he do it without making America appear or at the very least, his presidency weak? Hmm... Wonder if President-elect Obama plays chess...

100,000 driving licenses withdrawn from French car owners in 2008

From Le Figaro: Record : 100 000 retraits de permis de conduire en 2008 (Crédits photo : AFP)

Report says: The cancellation of driving permits after losing points have never been as many. But other indicators show that drivers have returned to good old caution when on the road.

And I say, excellent news this is...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Félicitations America! Félicitations Monsieur le Président Obama!

Le Figaro: Barack Obama élu président
Le démocrate Barack Obama a remporté mardi une victoire historique, devenant le premier Noir élu président des Etats-Unis. John McCain a reconnu sa défaite
Related sister blog: US Presidential Election 2008: Game over! Barack Obama is POTUS-elect! (Liveblogging updates!)

Félicitations America!