Headline of the weak

In the current issue (February 25 – March 2 2012) of the Economist, headlining an article about the removal of the official Argentinian Office of Statistics numbers from the magazine’s weekly, authoritative, list:

“Don’t lie to me, Argentina”

It’s also worth quoting part of the article:

“Statistical offices vary in their technical sophistication and ability to resist political pressure. China’s numbers, for example, can be dodgy. Greece underreported its deficit, with disastrous consequences. But on the whole government statisticians arrive at their figures in good faith.”

I put this in the “Bloody hell, I was right” department: when discussing the possibility of Britain entering the euro system, I confessed that I wasn’t sure of the economic consequences, but I was sure I did not trust the alleged economic performances of some of the euro countries. I was right. And I cannot help worrying that, at some point in the future, an important economic decision will be made about the Chinese economy, based on statistics that are dodgy. It’s enough to make you a skeptic, or a pessimist. Or both.

Safe House

In Short: Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds) is a raw CIA agent responsible for a safe house in Capetown, South Africa. Unexpectedly, his long stretch of boredom is blown apart – almost literally – by the arrival of a notorious house guest: ex-CIA star and most wanted traitor, Tobin Frost (Denzel Washington). Weston is propelled into an unwelcome starring role, trying to keep Frost safe – and a prisoner – while working out what secrets Frost has, and his pursuers are prepared to kill to acquire. Continue reading

For the times they are a-changin’

One of my favorite political writers is David Horovitz, former Jerusalem Post editor. While I probably share much of his worldview, it’s his writing I admire. Even when there were editorials in the Post that I disagreed with, the quality of his prose was worthy of admiration. I was sad when he left the Post – and I do not envy the challenge facing his successor Steve Linde – but now I can celebrate Horovitz’s return at the heart of a new venture: Continue reading

London calling

After a few days of pleasant and dry weather, I woke up this morning to the sound of rainfall. That heavy shower was accompanied by a couple more outbursts during the day, and there may be more on the way. Given the water situation here, this is good news.

But poor Britain – which does not, typically, have a water shortage – is suffering with real winter weather.


Winter beauty

Sister-in-law Sarah sent me the picture above, showing her parents’ back garden, deep in suburbia in London. Beautiful to look at, great to visit, but not so nice to live through. I hope better weather turns up soon there.