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A superconcise look at France this week

by Alex in Toulouse Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 11:54:19 AM EST

I have wanted to do this for some time. Purely bloggy news for the week. I got sidetracked earlier - so my first installment of this (hopefully) diary-series-to-be represents a week that's a bit over 7 days, but I'm sure you'll forgive me for that.

Most uneventful event of the week

September 10th. Blogging.

Loïc le Meur, France's alleged "most successful blogger" (150 000 visits per month), a man who until now liked to describe himself as totally impartial when it came to politics (but who had jumped on the "bash the anti-CPE students" bandwagon, students he initially described as: "loudmouthed slackers lacking ambition"), announced on his blog, trumpets flaring, that he would be voting for Nicolas Sarkozy, because:

"I have been an entrepreneur for 10 years [...] Nicolas Sarkozy's discourse and the time I spent with him and his team in Marseille, provided me with the arguments that I needed to accompany my sympathy for the man himself, and to support him openly and in particular his desire to create a society of creators and entrepreneurs".

Most sordid event of the week

September 12th. Violence.

At 5 am, a group of homeless youths threw a student over the Pont Neuf bridge over the Garonne river, in downtown Toulouse. The 26 year-old student from Britanny, who prior to that had been chased, caught and beaten up by the homeless group after a heated discussion had started regarding his skateboard, hit the base of one of the bridge's pillars, bases that rise out of the water by the end of summer, and died.

This is not going to help people's opinion of the homeless. And to think that so many homeless people have been thrown over bridges too. Sad news for the family in Britanny.

Quote of the week

September 17th. Hypocrisy.

Nicolas Sarkozy, about providing papers for only 6,000 or so out of 20,000 paperless immigrant families having children in French schools, ie. in the same proportions he had announced (6,000 out of 20,000) prior to reviewing each family on a case-by-case basis:

"In France, nothing is arbitrary: the only criteria for appreciation, for interpretation, is the desire to become French."

Number of the week

September 14th. Socialism.

France's national statistics institute, the INSEE, published public expenses figures for 2005.
It came out that in 2005, all public administrations jointly spent (total government expenditure) a total of 919.7 billion euros, representing 53.8% of the GDP. This is a 0.4% climb from 2004, which had seen us in the OECD's 3rd position behind Sweden (57.3%) and Denmark (56.3%).

Picture of the week

September 17th. Astronomy.

Space Weather published this photo, taken in Normandy by amateur astronomer Thierry Legault, showing the shuttle undocking from the ISS (Intl Space Station), with the sun in the background:

-- large picture is 1 MB --

Will this be a weekly installation?!  Woo Hoo!  Like it!  (Maybe a few formatting changes, but otherwise...)

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 12:00:27 PM EST
You and your formatting ;-)

Thanks Alex - your diary made me feel better (am I beginning to show masochistic tendencies?)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 12:51:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Everybody wants to be the Art Director.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Wed Sep 20th, 2006 at 08:46:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This may be a dumb question, but are homeless people routinely thrown off of bridges in France?
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 12:36:29 PM EST
I don't know, but they make poignant films about them.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. — Euripides
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 12:37:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Generally they're beaten up to death, but the "thrown off a bridge" bit seems routine to me. I may be completely wrong, but there seems to be, in my dysfunctional memory, the recollection of such an event every year or so in the press (not counting that there may be more that go unnoticed).

The most famous of course being Brahim Bouarram, in 1995, who was thrown into the Seine river by a group of skinheads who had just left a Front National meeting (Le Pen's party). An ex-homeless (or still homeless according to Libération at the time) Moroccan.

by Alex in Toulouse on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 01:38:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not statistically significant but it usually kills those to whom it happens.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 03:53:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The shuttle undocking from the international space station.  The Sun.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 07:44:15 PM EST
(Okay, here's my joke.)

Two pieces of string are standing near the bar in a pub.  The first piece of string is lovely and slender, all threads in place, a kink in her.  The second piece of string is large and raggedy.

"Go on," says the she-string.  "Ask for a drink."

"I can't."

"Why not?"

"Look at me!  I'm a mess!"

"Don't worry.  I swear, you'll get served.  Go on.  Then we'll have drinks.  I can't do it.  I'm too obvious...no, no, I mean I would be able to get us drinks.  Go on."

She reaches out a slender tentacle and grips an elegant handful of his scruffy threads.

"Okay," he says, and heads to the bar.

"Whatcha want?" says the barman.

"A pint of cider, a shot of that whisky there," he points a few raggedy threads, "a tia maria, and a shot of that rum."

"Hey," says the barman, "are you a piece of string?"

"No, I''m afraid not."

Peace and pleasure

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Sep 19th, 2006 at 07:49:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A fantastic picture!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Sep 20th, 2006 at 10:09:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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