June 13th, 2012

Si se puede

Nanny State on Steroids: The Right Wing Assault on the Family

The other day I heard a twenty-something acquaintance say, in passing, "Mirkarimi mauled his wife." I had recently had a conversation with some students on the topic of homeless pets so I immediately associated the young woman's remark with being mauled by a pit bull. Naturally I winced at the comment. As I reflected on it later, I thought of another definition of "maul" as a tool that laborers use for a variety of constructive and destructive tasks. The tool has even been used to stun cattle for slaughter. This association reinforced my earlier recoil.

San Francisco's embattled Sheriff-elect, Ross Mirkarimi, recently addressed a Democratic club with his assessment of the situation. He pointed out that the courts have yet to allow him to speak with his wife. He also described his take on the Mayor's actions suspending him on an ethics charge. I was not surprised by the latter remarks. After all, San Francisco's plutocracy has Mayor Ed Lee's gonads firmly in hand. The news that he could not speak to his wife struck me as rather extreme. It reminded me of former times when a judge would cut off a man's nose for the offense of stealing a loaf of bread. The punishment was out of proportion to the crime. It also arbitrarily punishes Eliana Lopez, Mirkarimi's wife.

Mirkarimi has admitted to errors in the way he argued with his wife over a planned visit to Venezuela. At a different Democratic club meeting, he explained the bruise on his wife's arm as the result of a hasty tug on her arm during an emotional moment. It was not the most diplomatic of actions, nor was it the brutal mauling portrayed by his political opponents.

Eliana Lopez has criticized the Mayor for releasing the shock video that got the whole event rolling. Her attorney was in the process of requesting a stay on its release. She fears the psychological damage it may cause her child. The video contains nothing that has not already appeared in the press, except for a close view of some of the evidence that had been used to convict Mirkarimi in the court of public opinion. Back in April, Ms. Lopez observed, "What has happened to my family is wrong. What has occurred has hurt not just me and Ross and our son, Theo, but also society in general."

Does this case leave you feeling that the wheels of justice work just fine, or do you see a sinister assault on this particular family?

Links: Ms. Lopez speaks out on the affair. The shock video. Ross Mirkarimi speaks out this month and on a prior occasion. Maul as an instrument for slaughter.
Groovy Kol

It's the jobs, stupid

Recovery, but for whom? That's basically the question that could summarise the recent news about the US economy. On one side, there are the positive signals about industrial production getting back on its feet (even Romney jumped on board and took credit for that). On the other, indications about sluggish first quarter GDP growth (1.8%). While the experts are making conclusions (based on last year's financial reports) that the US companies are emerging from the crisis more stable than last year, unemployment remains untypically high. And it may have nothing to do with the manufacturing recovery.

Given the endless drama around the Euro, all news coming from America is also being closely vetted for the slightest hints of a new slide down into double-dip recession, or conversely a steady climb upwards. Whether the signals are pointing to a positive tendency is the question that'll possibly decide if Obama will stay in the White House for another 4 years. It's no coincidence that in the beginning of this month, as soon as the news came out that only 69K new jobs had been created in May and unemployment was slightly rising to its current 8.2% instead of dropping, Romney's campaign suddenly started gaining momentum.

In turn, Obama's team switched to crisis mode with a cannonade of negative ads, emphasising on the fact that Massachusetts under Romney had been on #47 in job creation. Meanwhile, the presidential economic advisor Alan Krueger commented that the current rise of unemployment is due to the fact that more people are starting to look for jobs, i.e. there are signs of recovery.  The uneven nature of this recovery, plus the piled structural problems, however, will continue to trouble America way beyond the current election cycle.

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Слушам и не вярвам на очите си!

Who's Number One now?

Witam kibiców! Hi, soccer fans! LOL. As if. See, Poland may not be the likely winner of the ongoing Euro'2012 that it co-organizes along with Ukraine, but there's one domain where Poland is already number one in Europe, with practically no competition. And it's arguably the most important domain by a long shot: economic growth.

Long before the Euro'2012, the European champion in economic prosperity was already known. The title unequivocally goes to Poland. And this time not by some whimsical gifts from the referees; not even through the regular hooligan riots against rival fans (Russia, anyone?) This time Poland's title is completely deserved. Heep heep hooray!


The Warsaw Business Journal wrote an editorial entitled Eastern Europe's Reputation On The Line, stating "For the first time since communism collapsed over two decades ago, ordinary people from all the continents on earth will be hearing daily news about Poland and watching Polish cities on their TV screens. The impression they get during those three weeks is likely to be the one that will remain in their minds for a long time to come".

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