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.