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Profile Information

Name: Sam
Gender: Male
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Current location: Aix-en-Provence
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 13,820

Journal Archives

Presently in Aix-en-Provence - 26C and 43% humidity at 22h.

The ceiling fans are going, there's one other fan, and the windows are open(having to kill some mosquitoes, but fewer than we had in Philadelphia) with a bit of north to south breeze.
Tomorrow is going to be hot - 38C. Hotter on Wednesday at 39C. Friday is predicted at 41C.
Next week should be better. I hope.
Lots of water, ice cubes in the rosé, linen shirts, espadrilles, and straw hats. And plenty of sunscreen.

Kaiser Wilhelm and Tr**P

One of the few things that Kaiser Wilhelm II, who ruled Germany from 1888 to 1918, had a talent for was causing outrage. A particular specialty was insulting other monarchs. He called the diminutive King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy “the dwarf” in front of the king’s own entourage. He called Prince (later Tsar) Ferdinand, of Bulgaria, “Fernando naso,” on account of his beaky nose, and spread rumors that he was a hermaphrodite. Since Wilhelm was notably indiscreet, people always knew what he was saying behind their backs. Ferdinand had his revenge. After a visit to Germany, in 1909, during which the Kaiser slapped him on the bottom in public and then refused to apologize, Ferdinand awarded a valuable arms contract that had been promised to the Germans to a French company instead.
New Yorker

Problem with 'Numbers'

I'm trying to formulate a spread sheet in Numbers(IOS version) on my MacBookPro - When I type in the amounts, they are formatted as text and I can't get the columns to sum up. I've tried selecting all and formatting as currency and as numbers. Even when I format individual cells they revert back to text as soon as I type something in the cell.
It's just a very simple sheet tracking expenditures over the year for my accountant.
Any clues? I've used Numbers before and haven't had this problem.

Some thoughts on BREXIT from Mark Knopfler's brother David

This is a bit of long read, but worth it. And it relates to the same problems that exist in the US. David posted in on Facebook and it has now been shared over 25 times.

By around 2010, no one in human history had ever lived longer, more enviable, happier, or richer lives than those of Western European’s... The many wonders of much derided liberal, Social Democracy in action. The hard-Right hates it because it keeps the worst excesses of capitalism caged by regulation; And because it isn’t soviet Communism, it’s inaccurately dismissed by the hard left as a “neoliberal project.” What it actually is however is democracy in action, dependent on who the peoples of its 28 nation states choose to elect as their MEPs. It has, by and large, chosen to move cautiously but consciously in the direction of their more progressive collective policy decisions and the strength of their vision. At its worst it has generated fall-out, and some failures, and the playing field is still not entirely level in all aspects, but at its best it is the single largest and most successful example of democracy in action ever achieved by humanity.

Meanwhile, the last person on the planet who still thinks 1917 Leninism has something to offer, one Jeremy Corbyn, moronically three line whipped the triggering of Article 50 shortly after the infamous 2016 referendum, allowing the vulture capitalists (who have given steroids to Thatcherism within the Conservative Party) to drive Brexit onto the UK’s statutes, where it continues to sit festering, like a bloated, naked, leper-emperor, creating comprehensive chaos out of order because our MPs don’t have the courage to take their hats off to facts and revoke it. This grotesque insanity is being window dressed, like lipstick and a tutu on a sickening pig, by disreputable liars as respecting the national interest and the will of the people. Fact check... It is neither such thing, even if we have to concede it was, in a flicker of madness, in June 2016, our majority expression... the fury of the people’s misdirected anger at terrible Westminster policy, which, by the way, the E.U. almost constantly mitigates against.

We absolutely know what Science, Business, the Union’s and the Arts, as well as every progressive institution on the planet, think of Brexit... Almost without a dissenting voice, they think it’s a stinking, steaming mountain of fetid bullshit. That the Right have even co-opted critical elements of our once most beloved BBC, to buy into this collective, destructive hysteria will be something that will be very carefully dissected when the public inquiry into this sh**show finally commences, when sanity once again prevails in our parliament and nationalism is banished back to the history books, written in tears, about Berlin in 1945, where it was ceremonially bombed to nothing but dust and Hitler’s burnt bones along with it. The bitterest of regrets were also buried there... that the good people of Germany had ever been suckered into the seductive lies of reactionary sociopathic madmen who promised the moon and used scapegoats and race to bend others to their twisted will, that of Herr Hitler and his willing executioners, comprehensively dismantling the institutions of the State on the tide of populist dogma they had unleashed. Those regrets were gratefully replaced, after the war, by the phoenix of peace and hope, the dream of progressive moderation, that became the European Union. It functions better when not undermined by the laziness of electorates unwilling to spend five minutes at the voting booth to keep destructive nationalists, like Farage, out of power sending them back underneath the stones from where they have been allowed to slither too easily in these difficult recessionary times.

We can choose to enter a dark age by following deluded egotists, who dream, pied piper like, of advancing their personal power through the triumphs of their infantile will or we can return to the idea that have made the powerhouse of the European Union the remarkable and globally envied work in progress it has become.

We really shouldn’t and needn’t, even at this critical stage, allow a billionaire plutocrat in Moscow, nor the threatened neo-cons of the neoliberal aspects of the US, define for Europe, nor its member state, the United Kingdom, what best serves the real European or national interest. #RevokeArticle50

Is Bernie 2.0 Eugene McCarthy redux?

Some thoughts from Dick Polman in Philadelphia, who writes for WHYY and The Atlantic, among others.

Bernie Sanders 2.0 has officially launched. No surprise there. But his candidacy is probably doomed to fail. He seems destined to be Gene McCarthy 2.0.

Anyone remember that guy? McCarthy, an iconoclastic liberal senator, was the pied piper for disaffected Democrats in the early primaries of 1968. His insurgent antiwar candidacy galvanized young people and prompted President Lyndon Johnson to forego re-election. “Clean Gene” (his nickname back in the day) did not win the nomination, but, having enjoyed his historic moment, he tried to replicate it by running again in 1972. He was crushed. He tried to run again in 1976, this time as an independent. Crushed again. He tried again, as a Democrat, in 1992 — and he was crushed again. He was a terminally embittered guy by the time I interviewed him at length in 1987; according to my notes, he groused that the American electorate had become “over-advertised, over-drugged and over-infotained.”

Clean Gene’s moment came and went. So has Bernie’s.

More at the link

Why Bernie Sanders is probably toast

Well, she's certainly starting off well, trying to limit press freedom.

She's not a victim here.


I posted about this earlier. Reaganism personified.

“The state,” he argues, “should not be seen to work. If the state is seen to work, we shall never be rid of it.”

From an Alan Bennett play I saw yesterday on the NHS.


Reaganism personified.

“The state,” he argues, “should not be seen to work. If the state is seen to work, we shall never be rid of it.”

From an Alan Bennett play I saw yesterday on the NHS.


AIx-en-Provence update.

We had our VLS/TS(visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour ) medical and interview in Marseille today. We can now travel out of France to the UK or anywhere else with no problems crossing borders. Not that we're planning on going back to the US or anywhere else for a while.
We also will now be able to apply for the French health card and to exchange our driving permits.

Now it's time to improve the language skills!
Posted by GoneOffShore | Thu Dec 6, 2018, 12:55 PM (1 replies)

And another tax exemption goes away to screw people -

The following was just posted on Facebook by a friend:

This is a story about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, commonly called the “Trump Tax Cuts.”

On October 16, heavy rains in the Junction, Texas area caused a rapid rise in the water level of the Llano River. The rain pattern tracked east along the path of the river, adding more water. Soon, the water was forty feet above flood stage in Llano, Texas. The raging flood continued east, and completely destroyed the highway 2900 bridge at Kingsland, Texas. Just east of the 2900, the Llano River confluences with the Colorado river, which flows south from Buchanan lake. Buchanan was already at max level, so the Colorado was flooding as well, and the two floods converged at Kingsland, with catastrophic effect.

My little lake place, a “cottage” as my Canadian friends would call it, a workshop and carport and two-slip boathouse is located on a small cove just off of the Colorado and just east of the confluence of the two rivers in Kingsland.

The flood waters lifted the workshop off of its pier foundation and moved it several feet. The water completely submerged a pickup truck I keep in the carport at the lake.

The water level inside the cabin rose to about 3 inches from the ceiling. Everything inside the cabin and workshop was destroyed.

I soon discovered that my property was not insured for flood damage.

An aside: I am not without culpability here. In my old-age, I have a lot of my life automated. Virtually all of my monthly bills are paid through automated arrangements between the creditors and my banks. Utility bills, credit card balances, insurance premiums. All paid automatically when they come due. Except, apparently, the premiums for the national flood insurance program. Through some weirdness in that system, those premiums must be paid manually. And I discovered that my policy had lapsed three years ago.

Okay, so I am uninsured and it’s my own negligence to blame. You know how you get a rut-roh moment when you finally remember you left the water hose running in the garden and you think, oh, boy, my water bill is gonna be high this month? Like that only different.

This is gonna be a six-figure ruh-roh.

Somewhere in the preceding paragraphs you may have wondered, “Sad tale, but what has any of this got to do with the Trump Tax Cut act?”

Well, glad you asked.

I was peripherally aware of, but had the good fortune to never use, a provision in the tax code that allowed people to deduct catastrophic expenses from a natural disaster, like, say, a tornado or fire or …flood. (Subject, of course, to only those expenses that exceeded insurance payments.) In the case of, for example, a six-figure uninsured loss, those tax deductions could soften the blow. Oh, there’d still be plenty of pain to go around, but it would be a glimmer of goodness, like finding a wondrous bargain price on a new TV on black Friday, but magnified by a LOT. What if you don’t make enough money this year to fully take advantage of the deduction? Well, if the loss were so great that it was more than you could use in this tax year, you could carry it forward to future years, or even modify previous year’s returns and take the losses there. Like I say, not redemption, but a softening of the carnage.

Well. It turns out that those evil Republican sumbitches in congress, while searching diligently for ways they could soften the blow to the federal budget that would result from giving a huge tax break to their wealthy cronies said, “Hey! Here’s something! Lets eliminate the catastrophic deduction for everybody who isn’t in a Presidentially-declared disaster area! We couldn’t eliminate it altogether, because in a big-news event, the outcry would be too great and we’d look bad. But a small disaster? Or even an individual singular event? Nobody will ever know or care! It’s genius!”

So, effective for the tax years 2018 through 2026, if you have a catastrophic loss and you are not in a President-declared disaster area? Zilch is what you can expect from your federal government in tax relief from your loss.

I won’t keep you in suspense. Has the Orange Toad declared the area of central Texas devastated by this flood a disaster area? The answer is….not yet.

But the governor of Texas, a staunch Republican sycophant, has sent a fancy, detailed request to his highness asking for it, so you’d think there will be a good chance it’ll get done. But, that assumes fatass will act rationally and reasonably and with compassion…

But, think about it. Even though my financial blow may be softened by some small percentage through a tax deduction--if the edict does indeed come down from on-high that this area truly is deserving of his wave of the scepter--even if that occurs, what about some farmer in Iowa who has his house and barns and cattle pens and silos and fencing and equipment destroyed by a single touchdown of an F5 tornado?

Here’s the answer from your buddies in congress and the White House, Farmer Brown. A collective smile and a dismissive wave of middle fingers.
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