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"It's a lateral transfer" -- George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States
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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Thoughts for the day

#1. More pure whitebread for the Supreme Court. How surprised I am that Bush didn't pick an hispanic, as expected...

#2. The Polish government is pushing LOT (the Polish national airline) to go European over Boeing.

Warsaw Business Journal:
Ministry throws Airbus a lifeline in LOT's choice

LOT's delay in choosing its new fleet has attracted the interest of the Treasury Ministry (MSP). According to the Treasury Minister, Jacek Socha, the company should employ an independent analyst. LOT has been mulling its choice of new long-distance airplanes for many months. After the prolonged internal procedures, MSP decided to participate actively in the negotiations. The Ministry's reaction is favorable for Airbus, even though it was Boeing that recently took the leading position in the negotiations. "It was a good idea that the Ministry asked LOT to verify the procedures and to consider the possibility of employing a person from outside the firm to analyze the whole process," said Andrzej Mierzwa, partner of Concordia Financial Consultants and a consultant in Airbus.

This decision was supposed to be made in December, and it's been delayed and delayed. All the rumors coming out of LOT suggest they're itching to choose Boeing, whose new 787 model would be perfect for the type of flights LOT makes - mostly shorter flights within continental Europe and the UK. It makes a few transatlantic flights to Chigago and New York each week, and the 787 has plenty of capacity to support that route. Then there's the Asian routes - a new one to New Delhi I believe, and some to Bangkok. Once again, the 787 provides plenty of capacity for a medium-sized airline like LOT on those flights. The new 787's efficiency is also a major plus for LOT, whose costs are far too high. On top of that the US Exprot-Import Bank is willing to offer LOT some very favorable terms if they agree to buy Boeing. Seems to me that Socha and Co. simply don't want to piss off European countries again, after the government purchased F-16s from Lockheed instead of other military aircraft from European makers in 2003 - and LOT is going to pay the price.

#3. At the beginning of the year, economists were expecing a bad first half and a good second half of the year for the Polish economy. They now seem to be right. After horrendous Q1 growth of 2.1%, June's industrial production numbers are 1.8% higher than expected year on year, and with companies like Wal-Mart making noises like it will enter the market with in the next 12 months, it really does look like the investment boom that was expected in the second half may indeed materialize. It's too early to tell of course, but the numbers are a relief. The driving force, in my view, is low wages (but they're rising) and low inflation (which probably won't rise). The Monetary Policy Council has reversed direction and begun cutting interest rates hard, but after these numbers it may do well to keep them steady this month.

Warsaw Business Journal:
Analysts upbeat after output figures come in higher than expected

According to Central Statistical Office data published yesterday, industrial output in June was 6.8% higher than a year ago while most of the analysts expected a growth of around 5%. "There are signs of an improvement in the industry and the whole economy," said Urban Górski, an economist with Bank Millennium. The largest growth was noted in the production of medical equipment, machines, rubber and metal products as well as the production of foodstuffs and beverages. According to analysts, data concerning production in the building industry, which in June this year grew by 29.9% in comparison with June 2004, provides reasons for optimism since it may indicate an investment revival. Economists have already increased their estimations concerning GDP growth in Q2 this year. Rafał Benecki from ING Bank Śląski expects economic growth in Q2 to amount to 2.7-2.8%. "It is slightly better than in Q1 because we had a very poor April. But data for June show that we have overcome the decrease," said Benecki.

#4. Rzeczpospolita ("Shech-pos-POL-eet-ah", meaning "Republic" the country's second-largest non-tabloid daily) reports today that the scandal-ridden SLD is running former Prime Minister Leszek Miller and former Prime Minister and party leader Jósef ("YOU-sef") Oleksy (o-LEK-sih) for the Senate. What are they thinking? These are perhaps the two most crooked and incompetent politicians in the country. Perhaps by running them for the Senate (the upper house of Parliament, but not very powerful) they think they can squeak them in under the radar. But why?

#5. It's silly, but that's politics, I guess:

Warsaw Business Journal:
Poland and US proffer their pawns in extradition battle

According to Rzeczpospolita, officials from the US Department of Justice have set numerous conditions before they will agree to extradite Polish businessman Edward Mazur, who is suspected of commissioning the murder of former police chief General Marek Papała. The Americans demanded, among other items, the autopsy results of the murdered general, ballistics expertise and a description of evidence secured at the scene of the crime. Polish prosecutors believe those demands are just a pretext not to extradite Mazur. According to them, the Department of Justice has prolonged the case, as the extradition request submitted to the Department in April has still not reached the prosecutor's office in Chicago. Poland and the US are also negotiating the extradition of an Iranian detained in Poland, who is suspected of terrorist activity. According to Rzeczpospolita, there is a kind of bargaining going on between the two parties with respect to those two extraditions.

#6. Finally, the US economy continues to grow, and it's nothing but bulls, bulls, bulls on Wall Street. Did everybody forget about the twin trade and current-account deficits just because inflation is low?


Blogger Gustav said...

On that SC justice pick. Isn't it conveeeeeeeenient that though we were expecting a choice later in the month or August, it came now, just in time to deflect all of those ugly Karl Rove questions.

On Monday I watched the press conference with India's PM where a reporter asked questions that had nothing to do with the investigation, and GW's answer was:

"This is an ongoing investigation..."

The reporters laughed at him. They laughed AT him, because everybody knew he was skirting the question. That, I think, was the final straw. "Quick, inject something else into the news cycle so we don't drown in Rove!"


Wild Bill wrote interestingly on RR that perhaps the reason Bush picked a whitey this time is so that when Rehnquist goes, he can safely nominate the minority of his choice, forcing the Dems to choose between putting a minority on the court or allowing RvW to be overturned. If true, it's got Rove written all over it.


7/20/2005 02:52:00 PM  

Blogger Redneck Texan said...

You sure are down on whitey lately.

7/21/2005 04:57:00 AM  

Blogger Gustav said...

It's a complete coincidence - just what interests me in the news. When it comes to minorities having trouble in the 'burbs, let me be quite clear that I don't blame "whitey" per se, but the individuals who commit such acts. They need not be white (though they probably are).

7/21/2005 06:28:00 PM  

Blogger Redneck Texan said...

Maybe you should read the police blotter as well as the front page, and you will see that Whitey's on the recieving end of violent interracial crime 14 times more often than as the other way around, it just dont make the front page because it dont fit into the agenda as well.

7/22/2005 02:58:00 AM  

Blogger Gustav said...

A very surprising statistic indeed. Is it interracial violence alone or is that violence racially motivated? If the only criterion is that the violence be "interracial" The statistuc can be easily explained by the fact that not only are whites in the majority (thus making their chances of experiencing violent crime greater), but on average, minorities are also poorer (increasing the chances that they will commit crime). If a poor criminal carjacks a Mercedes, the chance that the criminal is black and the victim white is higher than the other way around. That doesn't mean it's racially motivated. (I hasten to emphasize that economics is no excuse. The crime should still be punished, of course)

I favor application of hate crime laws in any case where racism can be established as motivation for the crime, that goes for black crime against whites as well, as I've tried to make clear.

7/22/2005 12:59:00 PM  

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