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Archive for February 25th, 2010

There doesn’t seem to be much union in the European Union. Greek politicians are wetting their pants that Germany isn’t bending over fast enough to provide bailout money, so they pulled out the Nazi card. I’m sure the Germans raped Greece during World War II, but that does not explain why German taxpayers are responsible for the fiscal incontinence of Greek politicians 60 years later. The Guardian reports:

Tens of thousands of striking Greek workers took to the streets today, some throwing stones at police, in a defiant show of protest against austerity measures aimed at averting the debt-plagued country’s economic collapse. Riot police responded with teargas when, in sporadic bursts, masked youths charged them in Athens city centre. The violence coincided with a general strike that shut down public services and closed off Greece to the outside world. For trade unions the mass show of force was a warning shot to a government struggling to satisfy its eurozone partners with policies deemed vital for the nation’s fiscal health while appeasing angry workers at home. …The protests came against a backdrop of mounting Greek hostility towards the EU, with particular venom reserved for Germany, which has pressed for harder measures to be forced on Athens. Greece’s political elite has been outraged and hurt by hard-hitting German media coverage of the debt crisis. The cover of a German magazine, Focus, which showed the Venus de Milo making a less than complimentary finger gesture under the headline “Swindlers in the eurozone” has triggered widespread fury. In an extraordinary tirade, the deputy prime minister, Theodore Pangalos, said Germany had no right to judge Greek finances after wreaking havoc on the economy during the four years that the country was under Nazi occupation in the second world war. Worse still, he said, Germany had failed to make adequate compensation. …Berlin hit back with a tart reminder that Greece had received 115m deutschmarks in compensation by 1960. “I must reject these accusations,” said Andreas Peschke, a spokesman at the German foreign ministry. Greece, he said, had also received around €33bn in aid from Germany “both bilaterally and in the context of the EU”.

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I’ve already received some reasonably positive feedback on Wednesday’s show, though I don’t think it was any better than Tuesday’s performance.

I’d be delighted to get feedback. You can watch the segments here, here, here, here, and here.

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I can’t believe I missed this stary from last October. The food Nazis in New York City have banned bake sales. This cripples fundraising for student groups, but that presumably is a small price to pay so that politicians get an opportunity for a few hollow sound bites about childhood obesity. Of course, if the politicians really want to do something about overweight kids, they could arrest the parents and destroy all televisions sets, video games, and computers in private homes. But maybe I shouldn’t give them any ideas. The New York Times has the odious details:

There shall be no cupcakes. No chocolate cake and no carrot cake. According to New York City’s latest regulations, not even zucchini bread makes the cut. …the Education Department has effectively banned most bake sales, the lucrative if not quite healthy fund-raising tool for generations of teams and clubs. The change is part of a new wellness policy that also limits what can be sold in vending machines and student-run stores, which use profits to help finance activities like pep rallies and proms. …Unsurprisingly, the rationale is getting a cool reception among students. At Fiorello H. La Guardia High School on the Upper West Side, students are used to having bake sales several times a month. Now, Yardain Amron, a sophomore basketball player, laments that his team will not be able to raise money for a new scoreboard. Another La Guardia student, Eli Salamon-Abrams, 14, said that when the soccer team held a bake sale in May, his blueberry muffins sold out in 15 minutes. He said of the ban: “I think it’s kind of pointless. I mean, why can’t we have bake sales?” The new policy also requires that vending machines, which generate millions of dollars for school sports, be supplied with snacks such as reduced-fat Baked Doritos and low-sugar granola bars. A new vending machine contract is expected to be approved on Wednesday by the Panel for Educational Policy, the school oversight board. Student stores will be able to sell only approved snacks bought from the new vendor, rather than obtain the food themselves, as they once did. …Department officials are suggesting that teams use walk-a-thons and similar activities as a way of raising money and doing something active.

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