Archive for gilets jaunes

the last argument of drivers

Posted in Travel with tags , , , , , , , on February 2, 2019 by xi'an

When vaguely listening to the national public radio France Inter last night, while cooking dinner, I heard Patrick Septiers, president of le conseil départemental de Seine et Marne, express his (electorate catering) opposition to the new 80km/h speed limit on national and departmental roads on the most rational (!) argument that delivery trucks drove at that speed already and hence that the speed limit would “force” car drivers to break the law to pass trucks. Along with similarly rational claims to have each department regulate its speed limits on the basis it was financing most roads. (I had another illustration of the rationality above when walking by a big SUV this morning, with a large sticker against wind farms.)

the adoration of the golden car

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2019 by xi'an

As the demonstrations by the “gilets jaunes” become a fixture of French Saturdays, the French government is gradually giving up on the reforms it had started and is in particular catering to the car [and motorbike] lobby that started the protests. The symbol itself comes from the yellow fluorescent jackets found in every car and the first round of demonstrations was about the rise of the gas taxes towards more sustainable transportation. Things have since then metastasized into a winner-takes-it-all litany of complaints, but with gas engine drivers remaining at the forefront. When driving outside Paris during the Xmas break, every speed radar I X’ed had been neutralised or destroyed, leading to a significant increase in speeding and thus eventually in road kills. Following the abandonment of the gas tax a few weeks ago, the most recent abdications of the government on that aspect are returning to the speed limit of 90km/h on secondary roads, from the year-old decrease to 80km/h, tax rebates for changing cars, financial advantages for frequent highway users and more generally heavy drivers. Ride faster, comrade, until you hit the next right curve!

and it only gets worse…

Posted in Kids, pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2019 by xi'an

““This is absolutely the stupidest thing ever,” said Antar Davis, 23, a former zookeeper who showed up in the elephant house on Friday to take one last look at Maharani, a 9,100-pound Asian elephant, before the zoo closed.” The New York Times, Dec 29, 2018

“The Trump administration has stopped cooperating with UN investigators over potential human rights violations occurring inside America [and] ceased to respond to official complaints from UN special rapporteurs, the network of independent experts who act as global watchdogs on fundamental issues such as poverty, migration, freedom of expression and justice.” The Guardian, Jan 4, 2019

“I know more about drones than anybody,” he said (…) Mr. Trump took the low number [of a 16% approval in Europe] as a measure of how well he is doing in the United States. “If I were popular in Europe, I wouldn’t be doing my job.”” The New York Times, Jan 3, 2019

““Any deaths of children or others at the border are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally.” The New York Times, Dec 30, 2018

rions jaune….

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , on January 12, 2019 by xi'an

y a plus de mouchoirs au bureau des pleurs

Posted in pictures, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2019 by xi'an

Once the French government started giving up to some requests of the unstructured “gilets jaunes” protesters, it was like a flood or flush gate had opened and every category was soon asking for a rise (in benefits) and a decrease (in taxes) or the abolition of a recent measure (like the new procedure for entering university after high school). As an illustration, I read a rather bemusing tribune in Le Monde from a collective of PhD students against asking non-EU students (including PhD students) to pay fees to study in French universities. This may sound a bit of a surrealistic debate from abroad, but the most curious point in the tribune [besides the seemingly paradoxical title of students against Bienvenue En France!] is to argue that asking these students to pay the intended amount would bring their net stipends below the legal minimum wage, considering that they are regular workers… (Which is not completely untrue when remembering that in France the stipends are taxed for income tax and retirement benefits and unemployment benefits, meaning that a new PhD graduate with no position can apply for these benefits.) It seems to me that the solution adopted in most countries, namely that the registration fees are incorporated within the PhD grants, could apply here as well… The other argument that raising these fees from essentially zero to 3000 euros is going to stop bright foreign students to do their PhD in France is not particularly strong when considering that the proportion of foreign students among PhD students here is slightly inferior to the proportion in the UK and the US, where the fees are anything but negligible, especially for foreign students.

about French inequalities [graphs]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , on December 16, 2018 by xi'an

A first graph in Le Monde about the impact of the recent tax changes on French households as a percentage of net income with negative values at both ends, except for a small spike at about 10% and another one for the upper 1%, presumably linked with the end of the fortune tax (ISF).

A second one showing incompressible expenses by income category, with poorest households facing a large constraint on lodging, missing the fraction due to taxes. Unless the percentage is computed after tax.

A last and amazing one detailing the median monthly income per socio-professional category, not because of the obvious typo on the blue collar median 1994!, but more fundamentally because retirees have a median income in the upper part of the range. (This may be true in most developed countries, I was just unaware of this imbalance.)

polluters 3 [taxes] – government 0 [result] – climate minus 1 [or rather +2⁰]

Posted in pictures with tags , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2018 by xi'an