Euro Pact (The German Medicine

The Lounsbury | Comments (2)
March 11, 2011 09:21 AM

A side comment, the German suggestions on Euro support I think are much needed to move the Mediterranean countries forward - although what to do about Greece... Germany Sets Steep Price to Shore Up Euro Zone - NYTimes.comBut in return for this “solidarity,” the Germans say they want “solidity” on...[More]

USA: The Muslim Hearings

The Lounsbury | Comments (0)
March 11, 2011 09:02 AM

I haven't much to say on this other than King is a clown and a terrorist supporter (his support for the IRA), but Ellison was in good form however much I don't particularly care for this general politics: Terror Hearing Puts Lawmakers in Harsh Light - NYTimes.comBut some opponents in...[More]

Site News: New Category for the Revolutions posts

The Lounsbury | Comments (0)
March 10, 2011 09:44 PM

Subject to renaming, I created in Aqoul the subcat "The MENA '48" as reference to the current revolutionary situation in MENA. I could be convinced to rename, but figured a category for this is well deserved. Will be relabelling...[More]

Sidelights, the weaknesses of open source

The Lounsbury | Comments (5)
February 26, 2011 10:39 AM

For months I have been experimenting with the Free perso and business accounting software, GnuCash, self described as "designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible, GnuCash allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. As quick and intuitive to use as a checkbook register, it...[More]

Charming: Hearing on Loyalty of Muslim Americans

The Lounsbury | Comments (0)
February 8, 2011 01:31 PM

Just saw this on the NYTRep. Peter King Rejects Criticism of Homegrown Terror Hearings - NYTimes.comBrilliant, why we just shall have some fine hearings. I though this sort of thing went out in the 1960s....Representative Peter T. King, Republican of New York, said he would rely on Muslims to make...[More]

Return and inputs

The Lounsbury - January 17, 2013 08:45 AM | Comments (0)
Filed Under: Blog Notes - Admin

As I now have a tablet, wondering if anyone knows of movabletype apps in Android that might be used for blogging purposes.

Dollar naivete

The Lounsbury - May 23, 2011 10:29 AM | Comments (0)
Filed Under: Biz - Policy & Development , Biz - Private in MENA

A remarkably naive note, A Strong Dollar Isn’t Always a Good Thing - Economic View -

AT a recent news conference, Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, was asked about the falling dollar. He parried the question, saying that the Treasury secretary was the government’s spokesman on the exchange rate — and, of course, that the United States favors a strong dollar.

Listening to that statement, I flashed back to one of my first experiences as an adviser to Barack Obama. In November 2008, I was sharing a cab in Chicago with Larry Summers, the former Treasury secretary and a fellow economic adviser to the president-elect. To help prepare me for the interviews and the hearings to come, Larry graciously asked me questions and critiqued my answers.

When he asked about the exchange rate for the dollar, I began: “The exchange rate is a price much like any other price, and is determined by market forces.”

“Wrong!” Larry boomed. “The exchange rate is the purview of the Treasury. The United States is in favor of a strong dollar.”

For the record, my initial answer was much more reasonable. Our exchange rate is just a price — the price of the dollar in terms of other currencies. It is not controlled by anyone. And a high price for the dollar, which is what we mean by a strong dollar, is not always desirable.

Come now, I think the whole world understands the USGov's Kabuki theatre regarding the dollar. Say that they're in favour of a strong dollar, but take no such action. the reason it is not stated straight out is of course that would be interpreted as a signal of active devaluation, which could launch some major unruliness in the markets, particularly chez sovereign buyers.

Marrakech explosion

The Lounsbury - April 28, 2011 03:38 PM | Comments (0)
Filed Under: Perso

A quick note, for those who know me well, I wasn't in Marrakech at the time: Explosion hits cafe in Morocco, 14 dead - Top Stories - Wire -

A massive explosion ripped through a cafe popular among tourists in the Moroccan city of Marrakech on Thursday, killing 14 people including foreigners and wounding 20 in what the government called a criminal act.

If confirmed as terrorism, the blast in the iconic Djemma el-Fna square would be Morocco's deadliest bombing in eight years.

Early reports have this as a gas cannister explosion, which is not implausible. However, the Ministry of Interior statement just out calling it a criminal act is an almost confirmation that this was terrorism (insofar as if there was any way it was not, they would rather prefer that, given confirmation will truly fuck tourism).

Code Names for Libya: Operation Harmattan

The Lounsbury - March 20, 2011 07:19 PM | Comments (0)
Filed Under:

I am with the FT, the French code name is more imaginative and better connected to Libya (Gideon Rachman's blog | International affairs blog from the FT –

17.59 Code name trivia. It has been widely reported in the world’s Sunday papers that the military operation to enforce UN resolution 1973 is called “Odyssey Dawn”. But as a (slightly piqued?) British defence official said on Sunday, that’s only the US name for the operation:

“The UK Armed Forces are operating under the name Operation ELLAMY. This is the UK operational name; other allies may operate under a different operational name; for example, the US have called this operation Odyssey Dawn.”

Other countries have come with more imaginative code names for the operation. The French have gone for “Harmattan” (a dry dusty wind that blows across West Africa from the Sahara). The Canadian operation is uninterestingly called “MOBILE“, but, following the wind theme, Ottawa has named its air task force enforcing the no-fly zone “Libeccio” after the strong southwesterly wind that blows all year in the Mediterranean.

As I mentioned in my last Aqoul post, I found the Pentagon's press session queer - perhaps it is just bad old habit that they wish to assert / promote their role rather than playing a more diplomatic PR game.