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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Monday, May 11, 2009

Britain has a new Poet Lauriate, and many might respond with a '..and so..?' It must be ackowledged to be a post of some social importance in that it preserves the language in the context of current social standards..
An example is 'gay'. From it's 18th Century interpretation of somewhat vapid, through it's Romanic Period's connotation of wit, general happyness of disposition, to today's rather sordid sexual association..
The Poets Lauriate has written wothwhile works, exemplifying the evolution of this lanuage of hours..
For the first time in the Post's long history, the new Lauriate is a woman.. Carol Ann Duffy. It's worth reading, her stuff..

Must be recorded by a survey carried out for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development... that the outlook for those looking for work are going to have some very hard times ahead..
The Institute suggests jobs will continue to simply disappear for the next few months.. They've predicted a three month slowdown.. and what is more telling is that not only are redundancies going to hit the private sector, but those in the public service will be looking at pink slips.. figure show that some 7 thousand Social Workers, traditionally aspestos have gone in the last 90 days..
Ironic, that the one employer still advertising for people, and offering a liveable wage, is the military..
What an odd Civilisation we have built.
One applauds their optimism..

Also noteworthy is the European Bank dropping it's rate by a quarter..
1% now in the EU..
Worth watching..

Saturday, May 09, 2009

An interesting discussion this evening has left some lingering thought of the North American.. indeed, the worldwide future of the auto industry..
Leaving Ford out of the overall picture, for that company seems to have managed to weather this storm to date.. it would seem the drivers in the States and Canada will need to redefine what a 'family car' means.. while the other end of the demographic will have to accept that 'muscle cars' are an anachronism..
This is the knowledge that the new Camaro comes with three engine options.. the smallest of which is a 315cu/in displacement.. and that others in the market are offering up to 6 litres, the new Mustang Shelby as an example.
The US is unique in that it has never had war fought within it's boundaries other than that of it's own making, and it has always had success in expanding it's boundaries, and it's pre-eminence in world affairs..
The average American is, to varying degrees, well aware of this history, and has usually been adamant resisting change to what are now considered to be 'inalienable rights', one of which is to accept that at some time or another, their youth will want to own the 'biggest, fastest goddam car in town'. Those with parents solvent enough may well get one in a rite of passage, others may simply save, or use credit..
Regardless, the 'right' to own a car who's maximum speed, if reached in any populated area would cost the license of the driver, is shared by most Americans to be as inalienable as that to bear arms.
No doubt, had the Founding Fathers been aware of auto's having the horsepower of a small aircraft, they would have included them..
One has to wonder, with GM within days of declaring bankruptcy, and Chrysler seeming saved by some extent by Fiat, what the reaction will be to small, fuel efficient cars the likes of which we take as normal. Where a 2 litre engine is considered big.. It will be yet another challenge for the American man on the street..It was suggested that the outcome, in eventual terms for the industry, would be three companies left at the end.. all in foreign hands. That any hope in industry had, was to concentrate on European designs, maximizing fuel efficiency or compatibility with hybrid fuels, while leaving a niche market by leaving Cadillac..the Corvette,, the Mustang range for those who can afford to pay road tax reflecting the displacement of the engine alone..
But consensus was reached, to some extent, that the era of 4-wheel drive off road vehicles as a status symbol, was at an end..

Notably.. That Steven Harper should spend so much time in the US, talking with Barack on how to manage their economy according to a Canadian model..
Moot as to that which works with an economy as damaged as the American.. or how the Canadian model, based on a population of 55 million, would work on such an expanded scale in the States..
And besides the population issue, the American model requires the cooperation of all 50 States, and their own particular lobbies and vested interests..
How would the hospital insurance industry react if free health care the like of OHIP were brought into effect in say, New York States, or California..
And how on earth would the Federal and the States governments pay for such a magnanimous scheme..?

Worthwhile to keep an eye on the Taliban in Pakistan..
That country's military doesn't appear to be coping with the problem either with it's border with India, or Afghanistan..Mind you the Pakistani government is preparing for an expected half a million refugees from the Swat Vally, where the Taliban had a tacit agreement with the Government to restrict their activities in exchange for allowing Shari'a Law in the area..
Not an arrangement the British or Americans are happy with..
Pakistani soldiers are being deployed.. But their success rate, to date, has not been good..
It will be interesting to see Islamabad's reaction to an inevitable American strike to at least contain the problem..
It's difficult to envision as to what the next moveswill be in the 'War on Terror'..
If there is an end in sight, it certainly not within the perspective of this generations lifetimes..
We have determined to rid ourselves of fleas, while constantly playing with 'friendly dogs..

Ahh Hugo..
The Venezuelan President has tightened his grip on the country's oil industry to amounts to a strangehold by sending troops in to occupy industries in the immediate downstream of the oil refineries..
At the moment, Venezeula's the largest producer in the America's, and with falling oil prices, Huho's making premptive moves to ensure all the cash that can he wrung frpm the industry goes into the governments coffers..
One woders what would be done if, say, Gordon, or Barack, had such powers of arbitrary action..

Soon to be election time across these Isles, as we decide who to send to Brussels to represent us in the European Parliament..
Labour is in such dire straits at the moment it boggles the mind..
Google 'UKIP'.. the UK Independance Party.
They'll likely push Labour back to third place, or could indeed be sending a large number of MEP's to the Continent..perhaps a national majority..

Friday, May 01, 2009

It seems these days, that moments are stolen..
However..what's to prompt comment when little has been happening that hasn't been recorded before..
Until these past few days, anyway.
And what better to take peoples minds off the continuing economic collapse, than a good old pandemic to take center stage in the news..
It's still called swine flu over here.. a
Although we have had a case transferred to someone who hasn't recently been in or near people who have just returned from Mexico.. prompting a number of health reminder PSA's.. the attitude of the British man on the street is aware of, but not particularly concerned about the disease.. at this point it's as mentioned, a welcome break from unhealthy economic figures and the pall hanging over our collective heads..
No mention of the G20 recently held in London.. No use, and neither will there be much of any substance to come from the next..
Barack's first hundred days have come and gone.. little of substance either pro or con as yet but the new President has learned that all of his plans will not sail through the House and the Senate.. defeated in his fight to fill some of the houses left empty through repossessions throughout the country..
He may well be still the overwhelming favourite with the crowd, but it's a leap he's made. Just how much of a leap, and how he deals with the situation as it gets harder and harder..
There will be no dancing in the streets of Motown for quite a while.. Chrysler declaring a 'controlled bankruptcy'.. talks with Fiat.. The AFL.CIO will not be happy and Jimmy Hoffa will be turning in cement tomb under the I94.. no 'K-Car' to pull the company out of the hole this time..
But what a surprise this golden opportunity was missed by Barack and Co..
Had the government not refused a bailout for Chrysler but instead used it for taking the company over completely and dedicating it to supplying a better car..a better truck..
If an entire company was devoted to mass production of affordable alternative to a petrol powered car or truck.. A respected name.. one with a history.. Could just keep re-tooled assembly lines running.. while keeping a massive workforce on the job..
Consider.. when Chrysler starts shutting down it's lines.. all the downstream contractors will be forced to close.. but the effects of a major bankruptcy are too basic an economic principle for sermonising..

But we'll keep an eye on the progression of this 'flu.. and recall 1918..
And there are far too many of us at any rate..

And a brief closing note this evening.. concerning the recent rumblings throughout 'Old Europe', the core which spawned the EU hegemony..
It appears there is some regret on having been precipitous in expanding the Union.. and the burden imposed by some of the former members of the USSR who have wrangled their way into a far more lucrative club..
A case of Continental hubris perhaps..?

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