"Russia and Ukraine continue to confront each other along their border. Iraq has splintered, leading to unabated internal warfare. And the situation in Gaza remains dire. These events should be enough to constitute the sum total of our global crises, but they're not. On top of everything, the German economy contracted by 0.2 percent last quarter. Though many will dismiss this contraction outright, the fact that the world's fourth-largest economy (and Europe's largest) has shrunk, even by this small amount, is a matter of global significance. Europe has been mired in an economic crisis for half a decade now. Germany is the economic engine of Europe, and it is expected that it will at some point pull Europe out of its crisis. There have been constant predictions that Europe may finally be turning an economic corner, but if Germany's economy is contracting (Berlin claims it will rebound this year), it is difficult to believe that any corner is being turned. It is becoming increasingly reasonable to believe that rather than an interlude in European prosperity, what we now see is actually the new normal. The key point is not that Germany's economy has contracted by a trivial amount. The point is that it has come time to raise the possibility that it could be a very long time before Europe returns to its pre-2008 prosperity and to consider what this means. The German economy contracted despite indications that there would be zero economic growth. But the rest of Europe is faltering, too. France had zero growth. Italy declined by 0.2 percent. The only large European economy that grew was the United Kingdom, the country most skeptical of the value of EU membership. Excluding Ireland, which grew at a now-robust rate of 2.5 percent, no EU economy grew more than 1 percent. Together, the European Union scarcely grew at all. Obviously, growth rate is not the full measure of an economy, and statistics don't always paint the full picture. Growth doesn't measure social reality, and therefore it is important to look at unemployment. And though Europe is fairly stagnant, the unemployment situation is truly disturbing. Spain and Greece both have around 25 percent unemployment, the level the United States reached during the Great Depression. While that's stunning, 15 of the 28 EU members have unemployment rates of more than 10 percent; most have maintained that high rate now for several years. More alarming, these rates are not falling.Half of all EU residents live in four countries: Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Italy. The average growth rate for these countries is about 1.25 percent. Excluding the United Kingdom, their economies contracted by 0.1 percent. The unemployment rate in the four countries averages 8.5 percent. But if we drop the United Kingdom, the average is 9.2 percent. Removing Britain from the equation is not arbitrary: It is the only one of the four that is not part of the eurozone, and it is the country most likely to drop out of the European Union. The others aren't going anywhere. Perhaps the United Kingdom isn't either, but that remains to be seen. Germany, France and Italy, by population if nothing else, are the core of the European Union. They are not growing, and unemployment is high. Therefore, Europe as a whole is not growing at all, and unemployment is high. Five to six years after the global financial crisis, persistent and widespread numbers like this can no longer be considered cyclical, particularly because Germany is running out of gas. It is interesting to consider how Germany has arrived at this point." (STRATFOR)
"Regular NYSD readers know how much animal rescue means to us here at NYSD. Both JH and I have adopted pets. One of JH’s adored pets was Oliver Dog adopted at age 3 at an annual ARF gala thirteen years ago. Oliver had had three homes before he met Jeff. He became a beloved member of the family, gracing them with his presence until he went to Dog Heaven two years ago, then mourned by all who ever knew him. This year was a special year not only because of the anniversary but because ARF’s staff has done an incredible job in caring for the animals and in increasing the numbers of adoption. In the past 40 years they have saved 20,000 animals (!). Last year, they adopted out 1134 dogs and cats. This year they have set a goal of 1300 adoptions and from the looks of things right now, they may exceed that number. They have so far adopted out 735 little beauties and lovebugs and kitty cats, an increase of 18% over last year at this time – 112 more lives saved!
|More than 400 attended the gala which was held on the ARF grounds in a tent set up on their dirt parking lot – although you’d never have known it when you saw the finished product. David Monn and Alex Papachristidis decorated the tent and provided the white carpet and handsome dance floor. The white “balloons” you see rising to the top of the tent were lent by David, who also trucked the blue and white porcelain out from Manhattan. They used 1500 Sunflowers from local East End stands. Babinski Flower Stand and Lisa & Bill’s in Wainscott provided them at cost. A list of ARF Angels put the event together. There was an auction led by Benjamin Doller, Executive VP and Vice Chairman, America of Sotheby’s. He raised close to $132,000 for ARF, the majority already earmarked for 9 Puppy Mill rescues. Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes emceed. Steve and his wife Jennet Conant share their home, and have for years, with a dog from ARF. Leslie Stevens provided the PR, and Sean Driscoll’s Glorious Food catered the affair with an excellent summertime menu." (NYSD)|
"The Post has come out boldly in favor of catcalling ... The saddest thing about these unimaginatively provocative stories—the DON'T HATE ME FOR MY PRIVILEGE essays, the CALM DOWN, PEOPLE! rants—is that the best-case outcome is the education of one person: The writer-subject, who will become either permanently entrenched or emotionally broken as a result of the ensuing backlash. Otherwise, the ripples don't even make it to the edge of the pond. Some readers nod their heads and turn the page; others click, think 'oh [hell] no,' and generate some angry social media. It's first and foremost a human sacrifice intended to insert a small thrill into the paper: the private thrill of reading your horrible opinion expressed in public at no personal cost (there but for the grace of god!), or the more public thrill of identifying something utterly and completely wrong." (TheAwl)