Personal - letters from me to family and friends, parfois en français
Friday, May 20, 2011
This started in a letter to Jon, but I thought others might be interested.
Here, in France, there's only one news topic this week: DSK. The politicians are all shocked at how he has been treated, which just goes to show that they've never watched "Law & Order", which regular people can see in multiple reruns (usually 3 episodes per day). It took a few days for words of compassion for the victim to come out. This morning, astonishment at the terms of bail, not realizing that bail is set by the judge and is not the same for everyone. He, or at least his wife, can afford his bail. My own thinking on the whole thing is that, yes, everyone knew he had a sleazy reputation, kind of like Clinton's. It was even public, with the mistress at the IMF, for which he should have been fired. But, from sleazy behavior to criminal behavior is a big jump and if he did assault her, then somewhere in the back of his head, he must have been committing suicide. Even if it was consensual, which I rather doubt, then the publicity around it has killed his political self. A few weeks ago, at lunch, I was speaking to a recent American arrival in France and she asked about DSK as a presidential candidate and I said he would be the best Socialist candidate, but that I doubted he would run, in spite of all the pressure to do so. I didn't think he could really support the PS platform, which has already been formulated.
Nobody expects a political party to really live up to everything on the platform; they have to deal with the parties that have other agendas and share the legislature with them, but the PS platforms are sometimes ludicrous. Oh, they sound okay, but enaction is either impossible or impractable. The project for next year's presidential and legislative elections is around development (mostly more taxes), justice, and the "republican promesse", which is basically equal rights for all. So, I'm all for it. But when you look at the details, it just doesn't work and I don't think any of the possible candidates can really support it.
And what else is new? Nothing here. No news from Claire, so I guess their house is not yet sold. No news from Emma, so I guess she's still woofing. No news from Anne, so I guess she's been going to lots and lots of movies at the Cannes Festival. Louis called to give us his new home phone number. He's changed internet providers, which forced a phone number change. I filed our French tax declaration yesterday. The only complication with it is making sure I have all the donation receipts, US income info and other documents at hand so the online application doesn't time out. It takes less than an hour to complete, and that's because of our complications. Most people only need to verify the numbers that were automatically filled in and click to sign electronically.
The drought we are having means that the water levels are at their late July level, so there are restrictions. It also means that fruit and vegetables are maturing too soon and there's a glut. Grain crops, on the other hand are drying up and there is fear of crop failure. Pastures are already at their late summer quality and farmers are starting to use winter fodder.