It's hardly ever the case that I agree with Paul Krugman about anything, but the subject of the Euro is one such rare instance.
Lately, financial news has been dominated by reports from Greece and other nations on the European periphery [...] I’ve been troubled by reporting that focuses almost exclusively on European debts and deficits, conveying the impression that it’s all about government profligacy [...] For the truth is that lack of fiscal discipline isn’t the whole, or even the main, source of Europe’s troubles [...] No, the real story behind the euromess lies not in the profligacy of politicians but in the arrogance of elites — specifically, the policy elites who pushed Europe into adopting a single currency well before the continent was ready for such an experiment.
I'm sure that I don't need to tell anyone about Josef Fritzl, the Austrian monster who locked his own daughter into an underground dungeon at age 18, and then proceeded to rape her repeatedly over the course of some 24 years, siring some 7 children in the process. It is only normal to wonder the mindset of any person capable of inflicting such cruelty on another human being, let alone his own flesh and blood, and the latest story about Herr Fritzl* makes it abundantly clear, at least in this case: a create incapable of the slightest sympathy or concern about anything or anyone other than itself.
Every two weeks Fritzl, 74, pens a pleading note to daughter Elisabeth, 43, who suffered over 3,000 rapes at his hands and bore him seven incest children.
He says he needs money 'to study to be a lawyer so I can defend myself' – but Elisabeth never replies.
In some of the notes he asks for £3,500 to 'get me started' on his legal career.
He even moans about not being able to get special shampoo he claims he needs for his implanted hair.
Aw, poor thing! No sane person could ever be delusional enough to put such thoughts to paper after committing such vicious crimes, yet Fritzl has not only done so, but actually seems convinced that his daughter will feel sorry for him: it is clear as day that Josef Fritzl is utterly certain that his desires and frustrations ought to occupy pride of place in everyone else's attentions. It is very likely that the only thing which kept Josef Fritzl from simply killing his daughter after raping her was his desire to keep her alive in order to continue to have an outlet for his lust.
*Yes, I know I'm linking to the Daily Heil, but even a rag as disreputable as that one is capable of getting the odd story right once in a blue moon ...
One of the topics I've visited on here multiple times in the past is the never-ending arguments Japan has with Korea and China over its alleged refusal to apologize for crimes committed during the heyday of Japanese colonialism - never mind that such claims are as false as can be. At any rate, it seems that the latest Japanese government is back in the apology game, with Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada being the latest politician to engage in the obligatory groveling, directed on this occasion to Korea. Knowing how prone to amnesia Korean nationalists can be when it comes to Japanese apologies, it will be interesting to see just how long it takes after this apology before the next future outburst of rage from the Korean peninsula over Japan's supposed lack of contrition (or, when such critics are pressed on the facts, the "insufficient sincerity" of said contrition) ...
PS: What did I tell you? That didn't take long! The Hankyoreh's editorial staff exceed even the capacious limits of my cynicism: apparently the Korean meaning of Japanese "sincerity" is agreeing to any and every demand Koreans happen to make, including sovereignty over the Liancourt Rocks.
It's been quite a while since I last posted anything on here due to being busy with real-life concerns, and now that I finally have a little free time, simply catching up on my sleep is going to be the priority. Still, the least I can do in the interim is point you in the direction of an extremely skilled Japanese photographer whose work I've praised on here before. I'm speaking, of course, of Takany's "To Taste ~ I Love Nikkor .." photo blog.
Seriously, even if you don't recognize a single kanji, you owe yourself a visit to this guy's website, as the photos he routinely takes are nothing short of phenomenal; what makes visiting his site even more educational (and humbling) for me is that Takany often captures these images with equipment I either already own or for which I possess superior equivalents, and yet I'm very far from being able to match up with him in the photographic stakes. This site is a wonderful reminder to me to stop fixating on buy new toys and concentrate instead on realizing the full potential of what I have (with all that said, I still would love to have his D3, 28mm f/1.4 and 58mm f/1.2 Noct Nikkor, though).