Monday, October 13, 2008

A Trillion Here, a Trillion There

Le Monde's proofreaders note that all this talk of trillions and billions has tripped up some journalists and their translators, since the English "trillion" is not the same as the French "trillion." Here is their summary:

  • MIllion anglais = MIllion français
  • BIllion anglais = MIlliard français
  • TRIllion anglais = BIllion français, mille milliards de picaillons !
I am reminded of the late Everett Dirksen, mellifluous if reactionary senator from Illinois, who used to say, "A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking about real money."

That was then; this is now.

Plus for Brown and Sarkozy, So Far

In the handling of the fianncial crisis so far, Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy appear to be winners. Brown's plan to assume an equity stake in banks is being adopted all over, even in the initially reluctant United States. And Sarkozy's insistence on a joint plan has carried the day in Euroland over Merkel's objections. Sarko is approved by 53 percent at home for his handling of the crisis--a remarkable 20 point premium over his normal approval rating. Compare with Bush, whose bad marks on crisis management have pushed his already low ratings to their nadir.