This sort of thing happens to me all the time.
Monday, June 02, 2008
They are drawn by a love of American culture - although definitely not American politics - and a passion for line dancing, which enables them to swing but avoid all human contact.
Now country and western has become so big in France that the country's bureaucrats have decided to bring the craze under state control.
The French administration has moved to create an official country dancing diploma as part of a drive to regulate the fad. Authorised instructors who have been on publicly funded training courses will be put in charge of line dancing lessons and balls.
The rules, which come into force next year, come after the rapid spread of country and western in France, where an estimated 100,000 people line dance several times a week. Jean Chauveau, the chairman of the country section of the French Dance Federation, said: “It's growing at a crazy rate. There are thousands of clubs and more are springing up all the time.”
Conservatives often exclaim that liberal policies are not sustainable. They are not solvent. They are socialist. They will bankrupt us. We can't afford them. We'll have to double or triple or quintuple taxes to pay for them. Etcetera. Etcetera.
All of that is true.
But liberals don't care about any of that. They even embrace some of those criticisms.
To really get the point across, liberals need to understand that their gargantuan government programs, paid for with ever-expanding tax rates and types, are politically unsustainable. I know it's hard for liberals to believe, because they look at polls showing how 55% support this program, or 60% support that program, or 80% support the idea that every child should have x, y, and z guaranteed. It's hard to believe, but people respond to big government. Policies matter. When people feel the burden of high taxes, they move themselves, their businesses, and their money to places where they'll be treated better.
Raoul Wallenberg was the diplomat who would appear like a phantom in Budapest, handing out the Swedish passports that saved some 15,000 Hungarian Jews from being murdered by the Nazis. But Wallenberg had no such help himself on January 17, 1945, when he was taken into custody by the Soviet forces that had liberated Budapest. The Swedish diplomat was never heard from again, and Moscow would later report that Wallenberg had died in Lubyanka Prison in 1947.
But in the 63 years since his arrest, the Wallenberg family and generations of researchers have relentlessly pursued the possibility that the Swedish diplomat survived long after 1947, as a secret prisoner in the Soviet gulag system. "There are plenty of indications that he may have survived past 1947, and these deserve thorough examination," says Susanne Berger, a German-born researcher who has spent 15 years exploring Wallenberg's fate.
The widespread conviction among Democrats that we are destined to fail in Iraq was the key to Barack Obama's emergence as Presidential front-runner. He postured himself as the candidate who had opposed the war from the beginning. But what helped Obama in the Democratic primaries may prove his undoing in the general election. Through the months when Obama's dedication to failure was bringing him closer to the nomination, conditions in Iraq were improving, not worsening. This contradiction is now becoming acute, and Obama faces it squarely as he tries to decide whether, how and when to go to Iraq.
Owner John Webber says his grandfather gave him the 5.5-inch (14-centimetre) high mug to play with when he was a child, back in 1945.
He assumed the golden cup, which is decorated with the heads of two women facing in opposite directions, their foreheads garlanded with two knotted snakes, was made from brass.
But he decided to get it valued when he was moving house last year and was told it was actually a rare piece of ancient Persian treasure, beaten out of a single sheet of gold hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ.
Experts said the method of manufacture and the composition of the gold was "consistent with Achaemenid gold and gold smithing" dating back to the third or fourth century BC.
The world has grown much more peaceful over the past 15 years -- except for oil-rich countries. Oil wealth often wreaks havoc on a country's economy and politics, helps fund insurgents, and aggravates ethnic grievances. And with oil ever more in demand, the problems it spawns are likely to spread further.
It is interesting to note that while McCain has the edge over Obama on these issues, Democrats are trusted more than Republicans on a generic basis. This ability of McCain to outperform the party label helps explain why he is competitive with the Democrats in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking poll.