Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, September 30, 2021

I wonder how the bottoms of my dress shoes manage to get smoother with wear-and-tear? It would make more sense to me that they get coarser.

I guess that’s why, when I’m on the sidewalk, I try to walk around with slight scuffing motions, in an effort to gain more traction. This, despite knowing that it produces exactly the opposite effect. I attribute this irrational behavior to my being a hockey fan, and thus attempting to emulate the traditional goaltender prepping of the crease (known as the “goalie dance” or “building a nest”). Even this is the wrong approach on my part, since the goalie is using his skate blades to rough up the surface beneath him, and my intent is the opposite. Although the end result — a friction-based mooring — is our shared goal.

None of this would have anything to do with tomorrow’s opening night of the 2009-10 National Hockey League season. If anything, it just means I need a new pair of shoes. And maybe some pads.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/30/2009 11:43:27 PM
Category: Fashion, Hockey
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Defying what seems like conventional political wisdom given the economic context, socialist and left-of-center coalitions in Europe just got trounced in several national elections.

A particular low point in organizational competence among traditional leftists on the Continent is presumed to be the reason for this failure to capitalize on the wake of the Great Recession. In addition, the term “conservative” has a decidedly different meaning over there:

Some American conservatives demonize President Obama’s fiscal stimulus and health care overhaul as a dangerous turn toward European-style Socialism — but it is Europe’s right, not left, that is setting its political agenda.

Europe’s center-right parties have embraced many ideas of the left: generous welfare benefits, nationalized health care, sharp restrictions on carbon emissions, the ceding of some sovereignty to the European Union. But they have won votes by promising to deliver more efficiently than the left, while working to lower taxes, improve financial regulation, and grapple with aging populations.

Europe’s conservatives, says Michel Winock, a historian at the Paris Institut d’Études Politiques, “have adapted themselves to modernity.” When Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Germany’s Angela Merkel condemn the excesses of the “Anglo-Saxon model” of capitalism while praising the protective power of the state, they are using Socialist ideas that have become mainstream, he said.

Aside from this, I think history provides some guidance. During the Great Depression, Europeans didn’t react to the crisis in their livelihoods by ushering in socialist/communists governments. In fact, they embraced the opposite solutions: National Socialism in Germany, right-leaning governments in Britain, and so on. Granted, conditions were more radical on the eve on World War II; still, the reaction to economic uncertainty is, indeed, reactionary among the broader population. There’s no reason to think that people will change those habits now, even in the bosom of decades-old welfare states.

As for the Euro-lefties plan to regain relevance by hitching their cart to the Green movement: Shaky option. Again, despite traditional alignments (especially in the States), there’s no particular reason for the eco-politicos to stick with one end of the political spectrum in Europe; they could just as easily achieve their policy goals by working with the same conservative governments that have just received their electoral mandates. If that’s the best the socialists can come up with, then they really are bereft of ideas.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/30/2009 09:11:06 AM
Category: History, Political, Society
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