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« Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 48. | WILLisms.com | Social Security Reform Thursday: Week Fifty-One -- We Can Do Better. »

The Eighth Mainstream Melee -- Challenging Orthodoxy.


It's a non-blog adventure.


The Times of London: "Très chic? Mais non! Contrary to popular belief, French women are not paragons of style"

Super Succinct Synopsis-

French women do not have it going on, it turns out.

Super Succinct Snippet-

This is the nation that invented style — or the nation with the good sense to bother claiming to have invented style. The English language hasn’t even got a word for chic. So the greatest marvel of all is why the nation as a whole exhibits so little of either.

The French love irony, but might not be amused by this instance because style, along with smoking and feeling pity for Americans, is at the core of their identity.

Every now and then, a fun French-bashing article is in order. The weirdness of French politics and economics is well-known, but striking at the heart of French pride (fashion) can be fun, too.



The Economist: "De Villepin blinks"

Super Succinct Synopsis-

Dominique De Villepin, France's Prime Minister, is caving to ridiculous demands from ridiculous people.

Super Succinct Snippet-

The students’ principal grievance is the contrat première embauche, or first job contract, devised by Mr de Villepin for those under 26. It would let employers shed workers without formal justification, though with notice and some compensation, during their first two years on the job. After that, employees would be protected under the same terms as standard permanent job contracts. But it appears that Mr de Villepin is now willing to cut the trial period to just one year. If so, it remains to be seen whether the protesters will be assuaged, or indeed whether the reform is then worth pursuing at all.

Although the aim is to encourage job creation in a country with 9.6% unemployment, resistance has been intense. Polls suggest that most French voters are against the new contract. One published last week showed 68% of those asked opposed it, with only 27% in favour. For the left, it has become a potent way to mobilise anti-government feeling.

France is reaping what it has sowed over many years of state-sanctioned hostility to free enterprise. As demonstrated many times on WILLisms.com, the harder it is to fire someone, the less likely a company will hire someone. Meanwhile, productivity falls, average wages decline, overall standard of living declines, and GDP growth declines, when labor unions dictate employment laws.



The Washington Post: "Steele Might Sue Over Report"

Super Succinct Synopsis-

Not a frivolous lawsuit at all, African-American Republican and Maryland Senate Candidate Michael Steele may sue to find out just how vast the Democratic Party conspiracy to invade his privacy was. This is one bigtime scandal the collective establishment media don't seem to be all that interested in. I wonder why (actually, I don't).

Super Succinct Snippet-

An attorney for Michael S. Steele said yesterday that the lieutenant governor and Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate might file a lawsuit to learn more about an episode in which a Democratic researcher accessed his credit report.

Michael Steele, of course, is a rising star in the GOP. He has a very real shot at winning a seat now occupied by a left-wing Democrat. He also has a chance to lead a new generation of African-American Republicans to victory around the country.

For those reasons, as far as Democrats are concerned, he must be destroyed.



ABC NEWS: "Iraq Archive Document Describes Bin Laden Meeting"

Super Succinct Synopsis-

If you declare that you believe there may have been a connection between Iraq and 9/11, however small, elites will treat you like a crazy right-wing ignoramus. The media/academic orthodoxy declaring no connection between Saddam Hussein and Usama bin Laden is actually what is absurd.

Super Succinct Snippet-

A newly released pre-war Iraqi document indicates that an official representative of Saddam Hussein's government met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan on February 19, 1995 after approval by Saddam Hussein. Bin Laden asked that Iraq broadcast the lectures of Suleiman al Ouda, a radical Saudi preacher, and suggested "carrying out joint operations against foreign forces" in Saudi Arabia.

No connection, eh? Oh, okay.



WSJ's OpinionJournal.com: "Bush's Yard Sale: From PERC: It's time to get rid of National Forest junk land."

Super Succinct Synopsis-

The environmentalist orthodoxy will hate this, but it's the right thing to do.

Super Succinct Snippet-

The Bush administration proposed a novel idea recently: Sell off a tiny fraction of National Forest land to save money and raise funds for rural schools. Far from a revival of the Homestead Act signed up President Lincoln in 1862 and which distributed some 80 million federal acres over the following century, the idea is closer to holding a federal yard sale to clear out some of the junk that has accumulated over the years.

The National Forest Service controls some 192 million of the federal government's 600 million acres. What the president proposed in his budget this year was to sell off about one-tenth of one percent of that land--some300,000 acres that provides little benefit to the taxpayer but who nonetheless pays for its upkeep and maintenance.

It's one of those ideas that makes so much sense there's almost no way it'll happen.


The previous Mainstream Melee.

WILLisms.com and many other blogs sometimes focus too much on our fellow bloggers, while excluding well-done professional journalism from our posts.

The Mainstream Melee is a quick survey of five non-blog sources, coming atchya at completely random intervals. The stories are either underreported, particularly well-written, interesting, or otherwise important to the big picture. But generally there will be a theme of some kind in the choices.

Posted by Will Franklin · 23 March 2006 11:57 AM