The Washington Post‘s Max Fisher reports: Since 1991, Gallup has been asking Americans about their views of France. Americans tend to like other Western liberal democracies. But in 2003, after France opposed the Iraq War, only 34 percent of Americans said they have favorable views of France. That’s roughly on par with attitudes toward Saudi Arabia or Cuba.
It took more than a decade, but American views of France have now fully rebounded to a very high 78 percent favorable. That’s more than double – much more than double – what it was at the bottom. French President Francois Hollande seemed to hint at that trajectory when he joked at Tuesday night’s White House state dinner, “We love the United States and you love the French, but you don’t always say so because you are shy.”
But have American views of France really substantially changed? I’m not sure.Jokes about the French – a form of ethnic humor that would be a fireable offense if it referenced any other ethnicity but is considered widely acceptable in the United States – long predated 2003 and the “Freedom fries” era.
Andrew Katz writes: Nineteen police officers were injured and about 250 people detained in Paris on Sunday, authorities said today, at a protest against the leadership of French President François Hollande.
No injuries were critical, police said, after an estimated 17,000 people took part in a largely peaceful demonstration against the president’s handling of the economy. Some 50 associations were involved, including far-right and conservative groups.
Poll finds that 55 per cent of French men and 32 per cent of French women are unfaithful and that infidelity is on the rise but that the French are champions of forgiveness
From Paris, Henry Samuel reports: A majority of French men and a third of French women cheat on their partners, a new poll, has found indicating that infidelity is on the rise in France among both sexes.
The study also found that Left-wing French are more likely to cheat on their partners than those who identify themselves as on the Right
In figures that could help explain why so many French are unfazed by the dalliances of their president, François Hollande, the Ifop study found that some 55 per cent of French men and 32 per cent of French women admit to cheating on their other halves.
First Japan buys Jim Beam. Now this.
Roberto A. Ferdman writes: Japanese beverage giant Suntory is acquiring Beam, which makes Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbons, among other spirits, for $16 billion. The two companies control nearly 10% of the global whiskey market, according to International Wine and Spirit Research. Combined, they will obviously be going after a larger share.
A quick gander at global whiskey consumption helps show where the promise lies. India is far and away the world’s biggest guzzler, owing in part to its large population. Roughly half of the world’s whiskey is drunk by the sub-continent, according to Euromonitor. Most of it is made by UB India, the world’s largest whiskey company by volume.
But when those numbers are broken down per capita, India falls well outside of the picture. France, Uruguay, and the United States soar to the top…
A naked woman wearing a pair of angel wings was arrested early yesterday after police spotted her walking on an Arkansas street.
Christine Lawrence, 47, was busted for indecent exposure after a pair of Mountain Home Police Department officers responded to a 3:20 AM call about “a female walking down the middle of the road with nothing on besides angel wings,” according to a police report.
When one patrolman sought to speak with Lawrence, she fled into her nearby Circle Drive residence. As Lawrence was subsequently being arrested, she struggled with police, leading to an additional charge of resisting arrest.
The police report does not indicate why Lawrence was promenading in her birthday suit, though yesterday happened to be her birthday.
Seen in the above mug shot, Lawrence was booked into the Baxter County jail on the two misdemeanor charges. She remains locked up in lieu of $790 bond, and is scheduled for a February 4 court appearance.
Sacré Bleu! De Blasio’s Doomed Imitation of French President François Hollande a Potential Nightmare for New YorkersPosted: January 7, 2014
Gotham’s new mayor sounds like François Hollande, and he risks similar results
Nicole Gelinas writes: In his inaugural address last Wednesday, New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, promised to “commit” the city he now leads “to a new progressive direction.” As Gotham embarks on a “dramatic new approach,” he promised, “the world will watch as we succeed.” De Blasio should be watching the world instead—particularly France. The policy prescription that brought de Blasio to office—higher income taxes on New York’s wealthy—is exactly what French president François Hollande proposed to win his own post nearly two years ago. Since then, Hollande’s approval rating has plummeted to record lows for a French leader. French citizens have grown tired of symbolic anti-rich gestures; they want real solutions to real problems.
Hollande, who won office in May 2012, was one of the first leftist Western politicians to benefit from two global trends after 2008: disillusionment with incumbent politicians and dismay at income inequality. Hollande’s opponent and predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, was well settled in office during the economic collapse of 2008—a toxic place to be for any Western leader. But Sarkozy, like former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, was also practically a cartoon embodiment of the second target of anger. Sarkozy was the “bling-bling” president who outfitted the presidential jet with a top-of-the-line oven so that he could eat gourmet food in the air, the president who traded in his (second) wife for a model-turned-singer-turned-movie-star, the president who loved hanging out with the world’s 1 percent on yachts and private beaches. In expelling a sitting head of state for the first time in three decades, the French made it clear that they wanted change.
But victory came almost too easily. Hollande didn’t have to put forward any serious policy proposals to win. France’s problems were straightforward and remain so: persistent deficits, caused not by the economic crisis but by ever-growing retirement costs; plus high unemployment, caused by high taxes and heavy social mandates on employers—including the near-impossibility of firing a permanent worker. Hollande had little to say about these issues. Instead, his plan was simple:tax the rich. He increased top-bracket income taxes from 41 percent to 45 percentand imposed a temporary two-year levy of 75 percent on income above 1 million euros. In his inauguration speech, he said that “to put France back on her feet, in a fair way,” he would “discourage exorbitant income and remuneration.” Though he acknowledged France’s intractable problems, the closest he got to a solution was to say that “Europe needs projects.”
Joe Newby reports: During the election, Examiner’s Dean Chambers caused quite a stir when he talked about polls being skewed for Obama, something many conservatives reported. Now that the election is over, Chambers is focused on what he said is the reason for Obama’s victory. On Saturday, The Blaze reported that Chambers’ new site, barackofraudo.com, shows that Obama received 80 electoral votes in four states due largely to voter fraud.
“Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk,” the site says, quoting Henry David Thoreau.
“Evidence of vote fraud is very much like that,” Chambers wrote on the site.
“Those who engage in it are slick and do all they can to hide it, so the evidence is often quite circumstantial. In fact, often the circumstantial evidence is all the evidence we have, such was finding tens of thousands of bogus votes in the ballot box, we didn’t see someone actually put them there, but they are found, they are there, and they are clearly evidence of vote fraud,” he added. “Such is true of the voting divisions where Obama gets 100 percent of the votes cast. As if anyone REALLY believes that is legitimate.”
The Blaze reported that Chambers was mocked throughout the election for his site, UnSkewedPolls.com, where he attempted to, as Dave Weigel wrote at Slate, put “into numbers what other conservatives put into words.”
“I’m getting credible information of evidence in those states that there enough numbers that are questionable and could have swung the election,” he said, according to Weigel. “I’m only putting good credible information on there, like the actual vote counts, reports, and mainstream publications reporting voter fraud,” he added.
Chambers admits, however, that right now there is a lot of noise with very little substance.
“There’s a lot of chatter, though. There are articles people have sent me that don’t hold up. Crazy stuff,” he said.
“What’s not crazy?” Weigel asked.
“Things like the 59 voting divisions of Philadelphia where Romney received zero votes,” Chambers said. “Even Larry Sabato said that should be looked into.”
Weigel said that “57 precincts gave McCain no votes in 2008.”
“There’s such a thing as a 99% Democratic precinct, and such a thing as a 99% Republican precinct,” he added.
Chambers said that Ohio had irregularities that didn’t get much media attention.
Erika Johnsen writes: Their triumphant return to positive economic (if only just) earlier this year was met with plenty of self-congratulatory optimism on which Socialist President Hollande’s government proclaimed they were fairly confident they’d be able to build, but interestingly enough, it seems that their high-tax, high-regulatoryregime is in fact preventing them from making any additional progress (weird, right?). Earlier this week, we learned that the euro economy grew by “less than expected” at a mere 0.1 percent, while France’s economy contracted by a tenth of a point. Now, more bad news in the form of slackened businesses activity and weakened consumer confidence across the zone in general and in certain places especially:
Hopes that the euro zone could be emerging from years of torpor suffered another setback on Thursday when an indicator of economic activity in the region slipped unexpectedly and suggested that France could be sliding back into recession.
The indicator, a survey of purchasing managers published by the research firm Markit, fell to 51.5 in November from 51.9 in October, according to preliminary data, as the decline in France offset further improvement in Germany. Economists had expected the composite index for the euro zone, which tracks both manufacturing and service sectors, to rise to 52, according to Barclays.
A reading above 50 is considered a sign that the euro zone economy is growing. But the index for France fell to 48.5 in November from 50.5 in October, the latest sign of shrinkage in the French economy…
This is the first installment of a new series: a Frenchman reads Democracy in America and investigates how it applies to the contemporary United States.
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry writes: In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville doesn’t waste any time letting you know what impresses him most about America. To Tocqueville, equality and, to a slightly lesser — but very important — extent, religiosity, are the two foundations of the American experiment. His understanding of them certainly challenges both liberal and conservative sensibilities. But what does it say about America today that these two aspects of the American experience seem to be at all-time lows? And does Tocqueville point to a way forward?
The importance of economic and social equality
Tocqueville praises equality in his very first sentence: “Among the many things which drew my attention during my stay in the United States, none struck me more than the equality of conditions.” Two paragraphs later: “As I went on studying American society, I saw more and more in the equality of conditions the main fact which seemed to cause every other particular fact, and I kept seeing it before me as a central point to which all my observations led.”
Conservatives might not enjoy Tocqueville’s praise of economic and social equality as key to the success of the American experiment, but with some thought, you realize that Tocqueville is giving us a welcome way out of our incredibly dreary debates on the topic. A lot of conservatives claim that while the Left believes equality means equality of outcome, the Right is for equality of opportunity — but that’s a load of hooey. Everyone agrees with equality of opportunity, and all non-communists agree equality of outcomes is not desirable. The question is whether too much inequality of outcome leads to a greater inequality of opportunity. It’s a stubborn fact that, as a matter of dollars and cents, American society has gotten more unequal over the past 30 years. Does it mean that it has also become unequal in other ways? And if so, should we do anything about it? And what? Does Tocqueville show us a way?