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Russia allows transit of US military supplies
Today's Headlines
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-Short Attention Span Theater-
Babbling noises detected coming from Cher's Botox filled head.
Posted by: GolfBravoUSMC || 02/07/2009 17:38 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6506 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I saw a cute little ad the other day, possibly on Drudge:

President Obama has an IQ of 125. Are you as smart as the president? Click here for test.

I must admit it aroused my most snobbish instincts, because my very first thought was, only 125? But that's only one standard deviation beyond the mean, not anything special at all! Truly, I apologize to all for not realizing at once that in the circles the president chooses to spend his time, that really is a great deal cleverer than the norm. No wonder so many thought him a genius!
Posted by: trailing wife || 02/07/2009 21:57 Comments || Top||

#2  Many years ago IQ testing was the "Fad" Mine was tested at 141 Supposedly far above "Genius" level,
Well whoop te do So what, never did me any good.
Posted by: Rednek Jim || 02/07/2009 23:10 Comments || Top||

Clown Fear Auction
This auction is for a 3 day thrill ride through your greatest fear! ~CLOWNS~!!!! I will dress up as a clown and scare you for 3 days STRAIGHT, everywhere you go, I will follow, dressed as a clown.
People in Berkeley and similar enclaves purport to find clowns terrifying. Most of the rest of us, I think, still find them somewhere between mildly amusing and hilarious. On the other hand, we don't find vampires sympathetic, and we don't claim to believe that Snow White had sex with any of the seven drawfs, much less all of them.

As of this moment the bidding, starting at $25, has skyrocketed to... umm... $25.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/07/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6468 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Just why were you searching for this?
Posted by: no mo uro || 02/07/2009 6:44 Comments || Top||

#2  dehworldwonders

Posted by: .5MT || 02/07/2009 9:08 Comments || Top||

#3  http://plif.courageunfettered.com/archive/wc270.gif
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/07/2009 9:09 Comments || Top||

#4  Pffff 3 days that's nothing. We've put a clown in the White house for the next four years.
Posted by: Beavis || 02/07/2009 9:40 Comments || Top||

#5  #4 don't include me, my POTUS is an American citizen.
Posted by: AlmostAnonymous5839 || 02/07/2009 12:32 Comments || Top||

#6  Hear, Hear, no Kenyan rules ME.
Posted by: Rednek Jim || 02/07/2009 12:48 Comments || Top||

#7  Clown are cousins of mimes. If a tree falls in the woods and kills a mime, does anybody care? Just askin'.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/07/2009 18:31 Comments || Top||

-Signs, Portents, and the Weather-
Two headed baby dies in Medan
Adam Malik General Hospital in Medan, North Sumatra, announced Friday that a baby with two heads that had been treated at the hospital for the last 13 days, died on Thursday night, kompas.com has reported.

Hospital director Azwan Hakmi Lubis said the baby died of heart failure.

Azwan said the hospital has send the baby to the parents home in East Aceh, Aceh. All medical cost will be paid by state plantation company PTPN I, where Sutiono, the father of the baby, works, he said.

The baby, a malformed twin, was admitted to the hospital in late January by Sutiono and his wife Marwati.

Aside from the extra head, the baby, who was called Marwati 1 and Marwati 2, had two pairs of lungs, two legs, two hearts and two backbones but one abdomen and one set of genitals. The hearts and the backbones, however, were linked together.
Posted by: Fred || 02/07/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6517 views] Top|| File under:

#1  :(

gawd is purdy damn weird sometimes.

Posted by: .5MT || 02/07/2009 9:12 Comments || Top||

#2  Yeah. "Mother nature is a mad scientist, Jerry!"

Posted by: Scooter McGruder || 02/07/2009 11:55 Comments || Top||

#3  May the family find peace and solace ...
Posted by: Adriane || 02/07/2009 18:29 Comments || Top||

#4  The father worked on a state plantation in East Aceh? Not exactly the place where such a child would thrive, poor thing. Hopefully the skills the hospital staff practiced will benefit future babies born there.
Posted by: trailing wife || 02/07/2009 21:38 Comments || Top||

S Arabia to recruit more doctors from Bangladesh
Saudi Arabia is soon going to recruit 5,000 doctors from Bangladesh, Pakistan and India for dozens of newly constructed and renovated public hospitals in the Kingdom.
Are they gonna pay them, too?
Posted by: Fred || 02/07/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6468 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Here's your answer Fred:

"Another Arab News report on February 5 said Saudi doctors reportedly started abandoning hospitals, which offer low salaries and benefits and do not have adequate facilities."

Do not get sick in Saudi Arabia.
Posted by: Frozen Al || 02/07/2009 13:56 Comments || Top||

Bangla: 70pc can't read, write even after 5th grade
The quality of the country's primary education is so substandard that around 70 percent of students who complete the five-year primary level education are unable to read, write or calculate properly.
Posted by: Fred || 02/07/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6499 views] Top|| File under:

#1  They probably write with islamic ie arabic alphabet. A pure idiocy since it does not have vowels (and consonants are not that easy to discern) not a big problem in Arabic who has only three vowels but a big one in about every other language who have a dozen or so when you include variations (noted through diacritics in French.

When Mustafa Kemal had a new latin-based alphabet designed he toured through Turkey giving conferences and the end of them he picked people in the audience and made them write their names and simple words. Guess what? They succeeded.
Posted by: JFM || 02/07/2009 2:56 Comments || Top||

#2  The official language is Bengali, which has a script similar to that of Sansckit IIRC.
Posted by: lotp || 02/07/2009 7:16 Comments || Top||

#3  I have good news and bad news....

Posted by: .5MT || 02/07/2009 9:13 Comments || Top||

#4  This puts them on a par with the average education of delegates to the General Assembly of the United Nations. (And remember that the delegates from many western nations hold doctorates, when you figure that average.)

This is why Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) was hired by the UN to make picture books for illiterate delegates, explaining such complex issues as nuclear proliferation.

General Assembly delegates have on average 70 potentially lethal weapons, such as blow guns, knives, and poisons, confiscated from them on a daily basis by UN security. They annual vote that their favorite snack food is "fried locusts", and have only narrowly lost votes requiring "drums" to be one of the translation languages offered to delegates.

Now ask yourself why anyone in their right mind would want the UN to have actual authority in running the world?
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/07/2009 9:19 Comments || Top||

#5  Source, anon?
Posted by: lotp || 02/07/2009 9:40 Comments || Top||

#6  JFM - the Japanese have a pictographic alphabet with thousands of characters PLUS two phonetic alphabets and they have 99% literacy. On the other hand, Japanese culture places a very high value on education.
Posted by: DMFD || 02/07/2009 10:44 Comments || Top||

#7  DMFD

I juts wanted to emphasize that the use of an alphabet who is completely unadequate for a language has an influence on literacy (litteracy rates in Turkey went up fast after switching alphabets) and the role of Islam in illiteracy since ot shoves arabic alphabet in the throats of non-Arabic speaking populations.

I don't know Japanese but in Chinese it seems that the number of basic ideograms is relatively limited and the others are obtained by composition (where is Chang Fei when you need him) and their meaning can be deduced from the components.
Posted by: JFM || 02/07/2009 12:11 Comments || Top||

#8  This is why Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) was hired by the UN

My personal favorite was "Horton hears a WMD" starring Hans Blix.

Nix, Nix, said Blix.
I do not see them here.
I do not see them there.
I do not see them anywhere.
Posted by: SteveS || 02/07/2009 12:44 Comments || Top||

#9  "Also, 87 percent of these pupils failed to do simple mathematical calculations like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division."
Posted by: Frozen Al || 02/07/2009 13:53 Comments || Top||

#10  lotp: I said a bunch of stuff. What part(s) do you want sourced?
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/07/2009 19:05 Comments || Top||

#11  the Japanese have a pictographic alphabet with thousands of characters PLUS two phonetic alphabets and they have 99% literacy. On the other hand, Japanese culture places a very high value on education.

True, and trailing daughter #2 (the non-artistic one) is having great fun learning all that in her Japanese course at the university. But, while the Japanese are to be congratulated on their wonderfully high literacy rate, there are only 400-500 kanji in common usage, and those considered highly educated have a vocabulary of about 2000 characters. Also, there is a reason graphic novels are so popular over there -- reading non-picture books is hard work, and people, even the educated, quickly forget the kanji they don't use frequently... to the point that when an American colleague of Mr. Wife's, who was then working in Japan, asked one of his local people for help reading the newspaper, the Tokyo university graduate in question was unable to do so and advised him to wait for the television report. Very much like the way Americans test better in history and civics when they graduate from high school than than when they have been at university for a few years.

As for Bangladesh, some 50% of the population is female whose ability to read and do sums is deemed by the culture as unnecessary anyway... which only leaves about half of the male students as certifiable cabbage heads. ;-) Really, they ought to do as the Communist Chinese did: create a simplified alphabet that all can use to learn to read and write at a basic level (Mao's Little Red Book is written for kindergarteners! says my snobbish friend from Taiwan, who of course was taught the purist Mandarin), then let only the most advanced ones learn to read texts in classic Bengali Sanskrit-derivative and in Arabic as a reward for their diligence and cleverness. Or, as Kemal Ataturk did, transliterate to the Latin alphabet, and give the students a leg up in the world beyond their borders.

Anonymoose, where did you hear about the absurd weapons fetish of the UN delegates?
Posted by: trailing wife || 02/07/2009 21:27 Comments || Top||

Awesomely Awesome: US Soldier Calls Out Mahdi Sympathizers in Iraqi Police
Warning, F-bombs
Posted by: tipper || 02/07/2009 03:47 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6457 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Old Army! I'll bet folks back at the Zone and the Embassy are cringing. Promote that man to SGM NOW!
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/07/2009 4:06 Comments || Top||

#2  I beg to differ. I have seen this clip on various websites - being praised as some sort of example of effective leadership. I say bullshit.

I've been a US Army Infantry officer, and I've more recently created and built a company staffed by foreign employees from a different culture (Thais, in my case) - and I will categorically condemn 90% of what goes on in this clip.

It would take much more time than I feel like expending on this embarrassment, but to just tick off a few items:

*As a leader, you criticize behaviors of people - not the people themselves.

*You don't condemn a group for the failings of just certain members of the group.

* You never criticize junior leaders in front of their subordinates.

*If you habitually call out subordinates to go mano-a-mano, you are eventually going to get your ass handed to you.

*Constructive criticism consists of identifying behaviors that need to be changed, and clarifying preferable alternatives - not simply saying "you are all fucked up".

I suggest that this NCO be referred to: http://www.howemilitary.com/JROTC/refereneces/schofield.htm

Posted by: Lone Ranger || 02/07/2009 6:03 Comments || Top||

#3  I hear you 5x5. Unfortunately, we're not talking about the Royal Thai Army. We're talking about Muslim miscreants who WON'T FIGHT and are probably reporting their unit's activity to the enemy. This guy has probably lost good men to these slime balls and he's trying to shame them into getting off their dead asses.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/07/2009 8:57 Comments || Top||

#4  I don't know about military leadership methods, but this resonates w/the sentiment of US civilians who became disillusioned w/the fecklessness of the Iraqis we willingly expended blood and treasure to liberate.
Posted by: regular joe || 02/07/2009 9:38 Comments || Top||

#5  He's lecturing Iraqi police, not a unit of the Iraqi Army.
Posted by: mrp || 02/07/2009 9:49 Comments || Top||

#6  Good point mrp.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/07/2009 9:57 Comments || Top||

#7  Lone Ranger, normally Praise Publicly Criticize Privately is the better way. When dealing with westerners or in a western setting.

First consider that unlike your multi-national corporation a) its not a business and b) this is in a monoculture (Arabs). And also consider that it is not a western culture.

Arab Culture practically demands "big gestures". Their society is very much to the "drama queen" end of the scale (completely opposite, say, stern Germans or taciturn Swedes), and as such, loud public berating is expected, and if you do NOT do it, then they that that as a tacit approval.

The video may be a reaction to repeated incidents of failure of the Arabs to respond to traditional western-style leadership.

I'm not excusing this, but pointing out that that there may be no need for an excuse -- the situation and culture there may be a completely valid reason for someone to tear into them 1960-boot-camp-style
Posted by: OldSpook || 02/07/2009 9:58 Comments || Top||

#8  Here's my answer. The NCO's performance may have resonated with disgruntled westerners, but if anybody thinks that this "pep talk" motivated the Iraqi police audience in attendance, I will simply tell you that you are dreaming.

Had the NCO so much as picked out one single policeman who had done something right, and built an argument toward having the rest emulate that conduct, he might possibly have made some points.

And - for anyone who offered the argument that "well, the NCO might have lost some buddies to Iraqi police duplicity" - then this NCO should not be put in front of Iraqi police until he has worked through his personal "issues".

Professionalism as a leader is about suppressing your natural personal urges in order to maximize your ability to motivate your subordinates to accomplish the mission. It most certainly is not about venting your spleen, to get your personal frustrations exorcised.

Being an Irqai policeman is probably not a particularly rewarding job. There has not been much of an "Iraqi nation" to be proud of in recent memory.

I cannot imagine any Foreign Military Forces Training Team scenario in which I would endorse the leadership style depicted in the video clip.

Posted by: Lone Ranger || 02/07/2009 10:16 Comments || Top||

#9  then this NCO should not be put in front of Iraqi police until he has worked through his personal "issues".

RANGER, no problem. I'll take this NCO along with his...... "personal issues." Have him throw his gear in my truck. As you well know, things... they be a bit different in the big suck than they are on Smoke Bomb Hill or Bldg 4 at Benning. Particularly after the 2nd or 3rd tour.

Posted by: Besoeker || 02/07/2009 10:30 Comments || Top||

#10  I've been there, my buddies have done SPTTs, I understand the frustrations but I'm not sure as I would've used the same verbage or started disparaging police chiefs in front of their subordinates. If these were all Marines it would be one thing, but dealing w/iraqis is a little different. You can get them to do what you want but as w/most things it's all in how you say it. Threatening to kick someone's ass in a formation is not that big a deal to me, but as soon as you start calling out their officers in front of the men you're probably off target. Threaten to kill them, fine, do it behind closed doors - they'll get the picture. One of my buddies had a huge bowie knife he'd pull out on occassion behind closed doors for effect. Compliance & motivation from there on out was solid amongst the locals.
Posted by: Enver Snease aka Broadhead6 || 02/07/2009 10:30 Comments || Top||

#11  Ha ! Standard plt. sarge lingo. Said and done frequently. Works for US soldiers because they have some pride and gumption. Won't work on these useless shitbags. They are ALL probably in Mahdi army, if you can call it an army. More like a criminal gang. Unfortunately, this gentleman probably got a ticket stateside, a reprimand in his file, or possibly a demotion. But I'll bet he doesn't give one shit. You could hear it in his voice. He's had a bellyful of these useless clowns and he's done with them. This should have happened at the highest level. Someone should have kicked the Clown Maliki in the sack, and after he got his breath back, said "listen up, F**knuts, we have a few issues to discuss." Course, nothing like this will happen, and nothing is gonna change in that shithole.
Posted by: Woozle Elmeter 2700 || 02/07/2009 13:14 Comments || Top||

#12  Hooah Woozle! You hit it dead on. Having it video taped was NO accident, it was a message to higher. I remember an incident years ago on North Fort Lewis where, after repeated warnings, a SGM got fed up with soldiers bringing their dogs to the Bn area and leaving piles all around to step in. One morning a young trooper was walking his Doby near the orderly room and the dog took a bite outta the SMG's leg. The SGM instructed the young trooper to bring the dog to the PT formation the following day. At the formation the SGM called the young soldier and dog front and center and in front of the entire Bn, he pulled a Browning High Power and PCS'd the dog to dog heaven. Caused quite a stir at Fort Lewis and resulted in the immediate reassignment of the SGM to Fort Bragg and retirement. The SGM accomplished his point quite effectively however and the unit commander went on to make General. Pay attention to your NCO's.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/07/2009 13:41 Comments || Top||

#13  Besoeker, Smoke Bomb hill, now that brings back some old memories...
Posted by: 49 Pan || 02/07/2009 14:08 Comments || Top||

#14  hell i agree with everything he says. And he was spot on about some of them probably being in the mahdi army, i just wished he would have kckd the guys ass whop kept laughing and talking
Posted by: rabid whitetail || 02/07/2009 14:27 Comments || Top||

#15  This was some time back. He did a good job with them. Tell it like it is.
Posted by: newc || 02/07/2009 15:25 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Culture Wars
Ga. woman claiming Obama-related arson charged
A woman who claimed her house was set on fire because she supported President Barack Obama and her boyfriend have been charged with first-degree arson.

Forsyth County Chief Investigator Steve Anderson said Friday that 47-year-old Pamela Graf and her boyfriend, 46-year-old Steve Strobel, are being held in different jails. Graf is in Forsyth County and Strobel in Barrow County, where he was charged with obstruction of justice in the case earlier this week.

Graf's home burned on Jan. 18 while she was in Washington, D.C., to attend the inauguration. Officials found spray-painted graffiti that included a racial slur and ruled the fire an arson.

Anderson says he doesn't know if either has an attorney. He says the maximum sentence for first-degree arson is 20 years. The investigation is continuing.
Posted by: tipper || 02/07/2009 02:14 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6465 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Rediculous on the face of it. Everyone in Ga. would have loved to attend the inauguration.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/07/2009 3:27 Comments || Top||

#2  There will be a lot more of these fake "crimes" as BHO's fortunes dip, in order to cast all people in the center and right as Nazis, just like there were a bunch of fake "racist incidents" on campus in the late '90's.

What happens in the left's indoctrination centers (education industry) today becomes the reality in society at large in 5-10 years.
Posted by: no mo uro || 02/07/2009 6:43 Comments || Top||

#3  A woman who claimed her house was set on fire because she supported President Barack Obama and her boyfriend have been charged with first-degree arson.

So she supported Obama and her boyfriend? That's some mighty fine writing there...
Posted by: Raj || 02/07/2009 8:18 Comments || Top||

#4  "me fail English? That are unpossible!"

/Ralph Wiggums
Posted by: Frank G || 02/07/2009 8:22 Comments || Top||

#5  I live near this whacko. The sheriff had been to her house 5 times in the past year I think.

Two days after being arrested on drug charges, a Forsyth County woman and her boyfriend are charged with torching her own home on January 18th.

She's a meth head

look at this pic 47? mid 60's
Posted by: Beavis || 02/07/2009 10:20 Comments || Top||

Octuplets doctor being investigated
A DOCTOR who helped a US mother of six fall pregnant with octuplets is now facing a state investigation.

California woman Nadya Suleman, 33, already had six children when she fell pregnant with six boys and two girls that were born on January 26. Suleman told US TV show Today that her fertility specialist doctor provided IVF treatment for all her 14 children.

The octuplets were born prematurely and aren't expected to be released from hospital for weeks. Suleman's other children are aged between two and seven.

In the Today interview Suelman said she hasn't ever been on welfare and doesn't plan to be and will instead rely on family, friends and her church to help her.
Posted by: tipper || 02/07/2009 02:11 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6496 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Due to an injury in 1999, Suleiman has received several hundred thousand dollars in workman's compensation? She can now raise 6, NO WAIT! 14 kids but can no longer work? Ok, I get it.

a. Workman's compensation terminated.
b. Impregnator Doctor marries Suleiman and takes care of everybody, pays all medical bills and reimburses all workman's compensation paid.
c. Impregnator Doctor and Suleiman pic on front cover of next JAMA.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/07/2009 3:53 Comments || Top||

#2  I think emerging international law prevents one from doing item (c) there ...
Posted by: Steve White || 02/07/2009 12:11 Comments || Top||

#3  Name. We need a name of this fertility specialist. Her relatives already lost a house to foreclosure keeping her boat afloat. This whole deal has a funny smell to it. She did get $165,000 in workman's comp which obviously needs to be rescinded and repaid. The estimate for her hospital bills is heading toward $400,000 and will be well byond that. She had 46 hospital staff in attendance during the delivery period. The kids, at 1 lbs.+ each, will be in hospital for weeks yet. The cost to care and raise 14 kids under seven years old will be staggering. What is going on ? What were the plans here ?
Posted by: Woozle Elmeter 2700 || 02/07/2009 12:45 Comments || Top||

#4  No worries mon. Nanny state to the rescue.
Posted by: ed || 02/07/2009 12:47 Comments || Top||

#5  Something about these people who go through all the fertility treatments and wind up with quads, or worse six or seven babies. If they want childern that bad why don't they just adopt. Or is all about them wanting the "experience". It is a sore subject with me.
Posted by: Cheaderhead || 02/07/2009 16:26 Comments || Top||

#6  will instead rely on family, friends and her church to help her.

In a nutshell, innit? For her, it isn't about the children. Her obsession is with pregnancy and care of the progeny is someone else's problem. She has been pregnant for the better part of eight years.

Why a Dr. would, time after time, impregnant so obviously disturbed a women is unforgivable. above all, do no harm.

She has been on disability for all the children. Who paid for the in vitro? It's about $15,000 a pop.

Of all the various treatments for depression, I'm not familiar with pregnancy as a fast-track cure. Pregnancy is the kind of bad decision one makes when clinically depressed. Not a treatment.

The tragedy is that when she finds the reality of all these children does not ease the "lonlieness" of her pathology, she is a prime candidate for suicide. And for taking her babies with her.

None of this will ease her depression (with psychotic breaks, I would venture) and the children are products of an obsession, not love.

All 14 are about 3 months away from ward-of-state when all the facts and deficiencies come to light. And it's going to get ugly on a rights vs. capabilites platform.

Damn her faustian fertility freak of a doctor.
Posted by: thinempwimble || 02/07/2009 22:47 Comments || Top||

Home Front Economy
Germans Already Using Multiple Scrip Currencies
There will soon be 65 regional currencies in operation alongside the EU's, but the financial authorities are not worried yet.

If you live in the Bavarian region of Chiemgau, you can exist for months at a time in a euro-free zone of hills and lakes with a population of half a million people. Restaurants, bakeries, hairdressers and a network of supermarkets will accept the local currency: the Chiemgauer.

Notes are exchanged freely like legal tender. You can even use a debit card. Petrol stations are still a problem, but biofuel outlets are signing up. Dentists are next.

The Chiemgauer is one of 16 regional currencies that have sprung into existence across Germany and Austria since the launch of the euro five years ago.

Another 49 regios are in the pipeline. They are outside the control of the political authorities, mostly run by activists, farmers, eco-enthusiasts, anti-globalists, and citizen committees.

Some are rural, others circulate like underground money in Berlin and Bremen. Hamburg has two: the Alto and the Hansemark. Italy has its version in the Valchius Valley, in the Alps.

The phenomenon, not seen since the Great Depression, has left experts scratching heads at the Bundesbank. The mighty reserve bank, which issues euro notes and coins worth €146bn for a third of the eurozone economy, is relaxed about the risk of monetary anarchy. But it is sufficiently puzzled to publish a 63-page report probing the eruption of this movement.

Entitled "Regional Currencies in Germany, Local Competition for the Euro?", it concludes that the tiny scale of this bizarre Schwundgeld - scrip, or specie - poses no threat to the orderly management of the euro system.

The rise of the regios dates exactly from the abolition of the D-Mark, replaced in turn by a stateless technocrat currency ever further removed from local life.

A pure coincidence, said Prof Gerhard Rösl, author of the Bundesbank paper. "The assumption that this springs from a general scepticism towards the euro is not valid."

Rather, the movement is a rejection of "capitalist globalism", pushed by idealists fighting to save regional cultures. The currencies are "luxury" scrip that flourish most in areas with the lowest unemployment. They offer users a "prestige gain" in their neighbourhoods, and a glow of good feeling.

School teacher Christian Gelleri launched the Chiemgauer, with the help of pupils, as an experiment in January 2003 at a rate of 1:1 against the euro.

Four years later, it spans two districts and is accepted by 550 shops, firms, and companies, including eight supermarkets and four co-operative banks. It has 40 issuing offices, and usage is expanding by 70pc a year. Monthly turnover is still a miniscule €135,000 (£88,000) - or rather C135,000.

"People have taken to it because it is a way of supporting good causes," said Mr Gelleri.

The Chiemgauer is designed to lose 2pc of its value every quarter, generating a profit for the issuing body as shops claim back the euros. Some 60pc of the profit is used for local charities, sports clubs, kindergartens and such.

Shops accepting the money take a loss of up to 5pc, akin to interchange fees paid when credit cards are used. "Merchants pay the cost, but they go along because they don't want to lose business," said Mr Gelleri.

The idea stems from the century-old writings of Silvio Gesell, a German economist who believed that interest and rent charged on capital is pernicious. He argued that usury aggravated economic downturns because the wealthy began to horde cash.

Austria's Tyrolean community of Wörgl launched a scheme based on his theories, in 1932, reputed to have slashed unemployment at the height of the Depression. It was watched by Keynes and Irving Fisher, who saw a fast-depreciating currency as a possible answer to the 1930s "liquidity trap".

"I came to the idea by studying Keynes and Fisher, but for us it is more a way to build regional strength. We're not enemies of Europe," said Mr Gelleri.

The Wörgl experiment was declared illegal by Austria's central bank when a further 200 other communities launched copycat currencies, threatening the authority of the state. Though article 35 of the Bundesbank's founding law forbids the circulation of "quasi-currencies", the experiments are being treated as a harmless eccentricity.

However, they are a remarkable expression of people power, and a subtle threat to the established order. Would they be sprouting with so much energy if the Germans still had the D-Mark in their pockets? One suspects not.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 02/07/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6465 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "threatening the authority of the state"

That's the crux of the matter. The state (particularly the EUnicks) don't like having their authority threatened. I wonder how long Germany will put up with it.

I think the writer is right about the Deutchemark.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 02/07/2009 0:13 Comments || Top||

#2  *Rolls eyes*

God forbid someone figure out a way to raise money for charity. Doom is on the way for sure now. What with poor communities in Germany all banding together to donate to charitable causes and all.

Gettin kinda sleepy. Maybe some Java will perk me up.
Posted by: Mike N. || 02/07/2009 1:39 Comments || Top||

#3  A pure coincidence, said Prof Gerhard Rösl, author of the Bundesbank paper. "The assumption that this springs from a general scepticism towards the euro is not valid."

One has to love the German sense of humour. They've never like the Euro, not even a little bit.
Posted by: Besoeker || 02/07/2009 3:09 Comments || Top||

#4  The Bank of England issued currency has traditionally only been for England and Wales. Scotland, Northern Ireland and all those little places like Jersey have at least a dozen currency issuing bodie between them. Northern Ireland used to have 4 or 5 banks that all issued their own currency notes. I think they still have 3.

In N Ireland while English currency was legal tender, people were reluctant to take it. So I can understand how a local currency works. It's a way people differentiate themselves.
Posted by: phil_b || 02/07/2009 7:19 Comments || Top||

#5  Sounds more like a spark of regionalism to me. Take away a people's sense of identity (imposition of a stateless currency) and they'll grab something that has a more "home bred" flavor (?) to it. I agree, it's not a well thought out thesis, more of a gut feeling.
Posted by: AlmostAnonymous5839 || 02/07/2009 12:30 Comments || Top||

#6  Is this a way around the the 19% German VAT like the "barter" system was a way around the sales tax some years ago in the US.
Posted by: ed || 02/07/2009 13:09 Comments || Top||

#7  some years ago, ed? Heh.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 02/07/2009 18:33 Comments || Top||

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