Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blog Hiatus

I will be in France until August 6. The blog will be officially in hiatus until then, although I may occasionally find my way to a keyboard. If any of you are bursting with information that needs to be shared with others, feel free to use the comments section of this post. I look forward to resuming regular posting when I return.

Fils à Papa

The painting is by Sarko's dad, whom Charles Bremner profiles here. Asked what he had passed on to his sons, Pol Sarkozy de Nagy Bocsa said: "Will-power. The sense of work and success. And the taste for beautiful women of course." Although he does not list his taste in painting among his legacies, Sarko the younger has apparently hung this collage by his father in the Élysée. De gustibus non est disputandum ...

There Oughta Be a Law

Ségolène Royal's apartment was burgled, and she charged that Sarkozy was behind it. Now a court has awarded Bernard Tapie a large settlement in a lawsuit, and François Bayrou alleges that Sarko is behind that, too. It's a good thing he's a hyperpresident. Otherwise he wouldn't have enough time to get into so much mischief.

It is a trifle unseemly, though, for presidential candidates to be hurling such accusations themselves. Usually the basses besognes are best left to surrogates. See how it's done in America.

The Universities and Financing

Richard Descoings, the head of Sciences Po, comments on university reform policy on his blog. If the government really wanted to give the universities more autonomy, he says, it shouldn't have sold off EDF shares to raise more money for universities. It should have given the shares to the universities and allowed them to do as they pleased with them: sell them for cash, keep them in their portfolios for income, or trade them for shares in other companies. As long as the government controls the purse strings, there is no real autonomy. Only when universities become masters of their own budgets can they truly chart an independent course.