Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Interesting Blog

Thanks to Henry Farrell for calling my attention to Daniel Little's Understanding Society blog. Here is Little's post on inequality in France.

Score-Settling at Le Monde

It seems as though everyone who has ever had anything to do with Le Monde has a score to settle. Luc Rosenzweig has a go at Colombani and Plenel, following the lead of Eric Fottorino. There's lots of inuendo here, more than a little of which remains impenetrable to those of us who follow the saga of Le Monde's decline only sporadically. To be sure, I'm not sure that journalistic virtue remains anywhere in the world: crisis conditions are not conducive to it. But France has yet to develop a blogosphere of energetic young journalists with solid policy credentials, writers like Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein in the United States, who have shown what a small band of smart and dedicated journalists can do to maintain the role of the Fourth Estate as an indispensable counter-power in democracy. France has Mediapart and Arrêts sur Image, to be sure, but these are better at muckraking than policy analysis. Some French think tank should look at what the Center for American Progress has accomplished by paying Matt Yglesias, for example. This would be far more useful than what Terra Nova has done by paying for its president, Olivier Ferrand, to accompany Arnaud Montebourg on a junket to Washington to learn how Obama used the Web in the Democratic primaries.

Climate Change

Whenever I post something about climate change, I get a comment or two claiming that Claude Allègre has shown that all that is a load of rubbish. In October, however, the Académie des Sciences, of which Allègre is a member, issued a report refuting Allègre's claims (without mentioning him by name). I mention this today because I see that Allègre is praising Sarkozy's reforms, apparently angling for a post in the new government, now scheduled, according to Le Figaro, for an announcement next week.

"Real Equality"

The Socialist Party has published a platform document entitled "Real Equality." Once again I refer you to Bernard Girard for his analysis (I am beginning to think I should just put up a permanent link to Bernard's blog). Here is the money quote:

Désordre conceptuel qui donne une bonne image du flou des idées dans lequel vit le PS. D'où le sentiment que certaines de ces propositions pourraient rapidement devenir contradictoires. La seule chose rassurante est que rien de tout cela n'étant financé (le texte fait allusion à la création de marges de manoeuvre, manière on ne peut plus dilatoire de renvoyer à plus tard ce qui peut poser problème), il faudra bien un jour faire des choix.
In other words, business as usual chez le PS. And to make matters worse, the publication of the text has only brought the simmering tensions once again to a boil, eliciting attacks from Hollande, Moscovici, and Valls. So the semblance of peace established by Aubry is revealed as just that: a semblance rather than a reality. The "real equality" in the PS is among the contenders for the presidency, none of whom has distinguished him- or herself with either a coherent program or a show of political skill or acumen. Bernard's analysis suggests that the left wing of the part at the national level has forged alliances with powerful constituencies at the local level, which to my mind is a recipe for deadlock in the coming primary battles and failure in the next presidential election.