Saturday, March 27, 2010

Something to look forward to

Tired of today's political debate? Just wait until you hear tomorrow's ...

French-Bashing in New Hampshire

What passes for wit in the U.S. Republican Party:

"The other day I went to look at their platform for the Democratic Party for our nation. I couldn't understand any of it.  I don't speak any French," - Gov. Tim Pawlenty in New Hampshire Friday.

Europe is not a DMZ

Matt Yglesias makes a good point graphically:

Europe is not a demilitarized zone.

Speaking Truth to Power

Chantal Jouanno, only recently linked romantically (and no doubt fancifully) to the French president, was yesterday the subject of his rebuke. He "did not appreciate" her outspoken opposition to the shelving of the carbon tax, said a particularly dour and petulant Sarkozy. Meanwhile, Alain Juppé, who used to enjoy a reputation for being dour and petulant, leapt to Jouanno's defense:

De son côté, l'ex-Premier ministre, Alain Juppé, adresse, sur son blog, un "coup de chapeau à Chantal Jouanno". Estimant que la France "ne doit pas renoncer" à la mise en place d'une taxe carbone. Il partage l'analyse de la secrétaire d'Etat, sur l'"éco-scepticisme ambiant depuis l'échec de Copenhague".
Bravo, Alain! You may yet win the hearts and minds of your countrymen. One might see here the outlines of an interesting cleavage on the Right: on one side, Juppé, Borloo, Jouanno, Lemaire, Kosciusko-Morizet, Morin, Villepin, etc.; on the other, Copé, Estrosi, Mariani, Devedjian, Longuet, Hortefeux, etc. The party of the fréquentable versus the party of the infréquentable.

The Wisdom of Solon

According to Le Figaro, the Conseil d'État has argued in a still-secret report commissioned by François Fillon that any attempt to outlaw the burqa in general would constitute an atteinte à la dignité humaine. They rely on the concept of "consent," as elucidated by Simone Veil in a report on the preamble to the Constitution: "No one can decide a priori what is valuable (digne) for an adult." This principle would not, however, preclude banning the burqa in specific situations for specific reasons, such as security.

It is courageous of the CE to propose this view in the face of President Sarkozy's declaration just a few days ago, in the wake of the disastrous election results, that the burqa would be "outlawed," pure and simple, a surenchère on his previous declaration that it was "not welcome" in France. The CE further notes, as I have pointed out here before, that any law against the burqa would be subject to review by the European Court of Justice, which would probably disapprove.

Perhaps the most interesting comment comes at the end of the article, where one of the "Sages" speculates on a change in the government's position: "«Lorsqu'ils nous ont sollicités, ils voulaient enterrer l'interdiction générale», croit savoir un Sage. Or, depuis, Nicolas Sarkozy a annoncé qu'il déposerait un projet de loi."

Indeed.