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On a Scale of One to Ten

June 1, 2012

Just how rooted is Europe?

The following article is from the Wall Street Journal

As European officials race to quell fears that Greece may exit the euro, many companies doing business in the troubled country are preparing for the worst.

Most executives, analysts and others agree on one thing: the impact of a Greek withdrawal from the euro zone is impossible to predict. That’s why multinational companies are rehearsing for any number of contingencies. They range from a paralysis in cross-border payments to a civil breakdown in Greece to a broader breakup of Europe’s common currency.

Retrieving their cash is among the companies’ gravest concerns. If Greece were to revert to its former currency, many companies fear that any euros left there would be converted into less-valuable drachmas. Should that happen, Greece is widely expected to impose capital controls to keep the remaining cash in the country.

Heineken said it is moving spare cash out of Greece and the euro zone overall and into currencies such as the U.S. dollar and British pound.

The measures are part of the Dutch brewer’s normal cash-management routine, but “we’re doing it with higher frequency, and we’re a little more focused,” a company spokesman said. “We make sure we don’t leave too much cash in [Greece], to limit our exposure.”

Other companies, including liquor giant Diageo and drug maker GlaxoSmithKline have said they are taking similar precautions.

Several Greek companies, meanwhile, have drawn on credit lines from foreign or local banks, fearing they could lose access to them should Greece revert to the drachma and introduce capital controls, said an official of one bank that does business there. He declined to identify any of the companies or banks involved.

European tour operator TUI and UK based electronics retailer Dixons Retail are among those that have plans to shift or protect customers and assets in the event of social unrest in Greece.

In some cases they are relying on methods tried and tested in North Africa during last year’s Arab Spring uprisings. TUI, for instance, said it could shift customers planning to go to Greece to other destinations, if necessary.

Consulting firm Roland Berger, based in Germany, said it was advising corporate clients to take steps such as introducing clauses in new contracts that stipulate what currency or exchange rate will be used, should Greece leave the euro.

In Greece, and increasingly Spain, companies are insisting on bigger upfront payments for services and products, sometimes of as much as 50%, or reducing payment periods to 15 days from 30. Others are paring back sales operations in those countries, in part to boost their standing with banks.

A Greek exit from the euro zone “would be a complete mess, and people shouldn’t underestimate that,” said Benedict James, a partner at U.K. law firm Linklaters. “A trickle of work we were doing on this has turned into a major flow the last few weeks.” Much of that work has centered on business contracts, and which ones, for example, could be terminated if Greece returned to the drachma.

Business sentiment in Europe has worsened sharply in recent weeks.

One of the biggest declines has been in Germany. Until recently, German companies had largely shrugged off the debt crises in Greece and Spain as robust orders from China and other fast-growing emerging markets more than offset lackluster demand from Southern Europe.

Another sign of anxiety came earlier this week from two of the world’s biggest trade-credit insurers, who make sure exporters get paid even if their foreign customer defaults. Allianz  Euler Hermes and Coface, a unit of French investment bank Natixis said they would suspend coverage of goods shipped to Greece because of the mounting risk of being unable to recoup payments from importers there.

Rates for such coverage have surged, said Euler Hermes spokeswomanBettina Sattler, though none of the insurers would cite specific numbers. Given the high stakes and uncertainty surrounding a Greek election set for June 17, “we couldn’t price it anymore,” Ms. Sattler said.

French retail giant Carrefour is consolidating its network of stores in Greece into fewer and bigger outlets to cope with plummeting sales there.

It also is stocking more discount store-brand products and fewer brand-name goods from food and consumer-product giants like Nestlé and Procter & Gamble Co as Greeks tighten their belts.

Trumpf, one of the world’s largest makers of laser machine-tools, said that should a worsening crisis cause its European sales to collapse, it is ready to revive measures it used during the global economic crisis of 2008-2009.

“Unfortunately, that wasn’t too long ago,” said Harald Völker, the German manufacturer’s chief financial officer. “But it means we can implement them fairly quickly again.”

Those steps include moving to more flexible payment and delivery arrangements with suppliers and a system in which its employees would work fewer days but get paid the same.

Employees would repay the hours by working overtime once demand recovered.

In the wake of the previous crisis, Trumpf cut more than €100 million ($124 million) in costs, bolstered reserves and secured three-year credit lines—enough to make sure it could endure a 50% plunge in sales, if necessary, Mr. Völker said.

Even if Greece ultimately stays in the euro zone, the pullback by companies and banks operating there is bound to take its toll on the already-beleaguered economy, which shrank by 6.2% in the first quarter.

Bankers say the uncertainty caused by last month’s elections has largely paralyzed business activity in Greece, with companies postponing investment decisions until the dust settles and as cash drains out of the country, bleeding its economy.

“There’s a deep liquidity squeeze in the country right now,” said George Zois, Greek equities broker at investment bank Exotix.

Following May 6 elections, which yielded a strong showing for a radical leftist party that has vowed not to comply with the terms of Greece’s international bailout, the country postponed a sweeping privatization program that was intended to raise much-needed funds for the government and bring foreign investment into the country.

Such ominous signs don’t seem to worry some companies. While 50% of German companies surveyed in a recent Roland Berger poll said they thought a Greek exit from the euro was likely, only 20% said they had prepared contingency measures.

“There are still many companies that aren’t so prepared,” said Max Falckenberg, a partner at the international consulting firm. “Companies have got enough on their plates just dealing with daily business.”

Other companies are weighing what-ifs in the event of a broader breakup of the 17-nation euro zone. Officials at Airbus parent European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co which is based in France and Germany, said a return to national currencies would force it to rethink everything from where to expand to how it picks suppliers and sets wages.

“If we go back, the German currency would probably be stronger than the others, which raises issues in the long term about where we locate operations,” said an EADS spokesman.

“There’s a potential for tensions within the group because wage levels would be different” from country to country.

EADS said Thursday that it is studying the feasibility of creating an in-house bank to protect its own access to credit and that of its customers amid the euro crisis. Among other benefits, having an in-house bank would allow the company to tap the European Central Bank for cheap funds, as auto maker PSA Peugeot-Citroën SA did recently through its in-house bank.

At least one company sees potential opportunity in the chaos. Dixons Chief Executive Sebastian James has been widely quoted in the British press as saying that should dire predictions pan out in Greece, it could represent an opportunity for the electronics retailer to gain market share from weaker rivals.

 

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50 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2012 11:26 am

    Yes, but, imagine how bad the old people smell in Europe! 😯

  2. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    June 1, 2012 11:34 am

    But the great thing is, it’s so cheap to have a holiday there at the moment!

    Surfing in Biarritz is probably cheaper than spending a few weeks on the NSW north coast.

  3. June 1, 2012 11:38 am

    Hard to refuse, given that there is the added bonus of no NSW filth in Barritz! I also hear that the old people in France smell like off cheese, rather than the rank sewerage odour that we’re accustomed to associating with those on the Eastern seaboard here in OZ.

  4. JAWS permalink
    June 1, 2012 12:19 pm

    So with the Market meltdown seemingly upon us it would be very very wise for anyone thinking of a holiday in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy to take a few hundred US Dollars with them as with this type of fiscal crisis (stage 1) will almost always be followed by a financial crisis (stage 2).

    We learneth (is that a word?) that from what happened in Argentina in 2001. Their economy contracted by about 20% intra quarter and unemployment shot up to 23% across all age groups. Greece is almost there already.

    When the shit hit the fan in Argentina cash withdrawals were banned and capital controls were put in place. In return fresh deposits (if anyone was game enough) were corral-ito “bullpenned” (guaranteed).

    In short it was f**king chaotic. Greece will be worse.

    Due to “feedback loops” this is

    So what will actually happen…………….?

    In a broad sense Banks hold as assets cash, govt bonds and loans. The fiscal crisis of the Greek Govt reduces the value of the bonds and the recession following creates a massive bad debt problem with the loans. Hence depositors try and get their cash out.
    That is the link running from budget to bank.

    Here’s the feedback. Banks stop lending and recall loans (deleverage) to offset losses, the economy slows, government revenue falls and Govt Bond values fall further

    We then have a lengthy process of recession and deleveraging. The timing of the final outcome depends on confidence.

    After the initial run on bank deposits, the next instalment is total monetary collapse.
    Kind of like getting a touch of Ebola Virus and all your body’s vital organs failing all at the same time.

    With revenues plummeting and credit cut off the Greek Govt starts printing New Drachmas and completely halts all external loan repayments (Govt Default).

    The newly issued notes (call it the ND) would be tradeable and highly liquid. Even if it traded at a deep discount, as it would, very quickly be used for settling all kinds of transactions.

    Now we get another feedback loop for the banks. Companies soon start complaining that their income is now denominated in NDs while their loans are still in euros. They demand that the loans be converted into NDs. The government desperate for public approval is eager to meet these demands.

    With public servants paid with depreciated NDs there is an implied cut in the real wages as these are useless outside Greece and they are just not what they are used to.

    The final step in the death spiral comes with the drachmatisation of private sector wages.

    Firms again demand it, claiming that otherwise they cannot pay anyone or even export. Unions initially oppose it, but eventually give in or face even higher unemployment. Selective price controls sweeten the deal.

    The effective devaluation of the Greek currency should be around 300%. It could be much greater.

    Argentina went through 4 presidents in 2 years. Greece now has its third government in less than a year. They are about to vote again next weekend.

    Eventually things will stabilize.

    At this point, that is just about the only hopeful precedent that the Argentine story taught us.

  5. June 1, 2012 12:26 pm

    Very illimunating Jaws…

  6. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    June 1, 2012 12:35 pm

    That’s nice, and I quite like Greece, but maybe I won’t bother with a holiday on Corfu this year.

  7. JAWS permalink
    June 1, 2012 12:51 pm

    Its upto Germany to either decide to let them fail and exit or bankroll them. But if they don’t adopt a federal fiscal system (like Australia the USA and Canada) in the medium term they are screwed.

  8. JAWS permalink
    June 1, 2012 12:52 pm

    Yes ToM

    Give it a few months and you’ll be able to buy your preferred Corfu resort

  9. JAWS permalink
    June 1, 2012 12:54 pm

    Apparently the New Dawn (Nazis) are taking to motor bikes and riding around Athens in their military uniforms with flags and loud hailers continually to drum up votes for next weekends elections.

    Sounds familiar !

  10. June 1, 2012 1:50 pm

    “Apparently the New Dawn (Nazis) are taking to motor bikes and riding around Athens in their military uniforms”

    Also telling the “foreign filth” to get out of Greece…

    Things could get nasty.

  11. JAWS permalink
    June 1, 2012 2:03 pm

    I think things will get extremely nasty there in the immediate aftermath of the elections. Apparently there are soup kitchens everywhere in Athens and lots of people rummaging through restaurant rubbish bins.

    Never been to Athens or Greece (except transit at the airport from Cairo to Heathrow)

  12. June 1, 2012 2:11 pm

    ” there are soup kitchens everywhere and lots of people rummaging through restaurant rubbish bins”

    A bit like Queensland then…

  13. June 1, 2012 2:22 pm

    Pretty ordinary comparison, reb.

    I can’t believe that you’d stoop so low.

    Greece couldn’t be that bad. 😯

  14. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    June 1, 2012 2:26 pm

    That’s an interesting point reb. Athens is a little like the Gold Coast, in my view. Lots of half completed buildings, existing ones in decay, crumbling, plenty of ruins and lots of people who prefer the pea and thimble approach to business.

    It’s hot and they don’t produce or appreciate decent wine. Retsina is certainly an acquired taste, and you only acquire the taste at about 3am.

  15. June 1, 2012 2:56 pm

    speaking of hot….

    DIARY OF A POMMIE IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA (COULD EASILY BE QLD TOO)

    August 31
    Just got transferred with work from Leeds UK to our new home in Karratha , Western Australia …
    Now this is a town that knows how to live!
    Beautiful, sunny days and warm, balmy evenings.
    I watched the sunset from a deckchair by our pool yesterday.
    It was beautiful.
    I’ve finally found my new home.
    I love it here.

    September 13
    Really heating up now.
    It got to 31 today.
    No problem though.
    Living in air-conditioned home, driving air-conditioned car.
    What a pleasure to see the sun every day like this.
    I’m turning into a sun-worshipper – no blasted rain like back in Leeds !!

    September 30
    Had the back yard landscaped with tropical plants today.
    Lots of palms and rocks.
    No more mowing lawns for me!
    Another scorcher today, but I love it here.
    It’s Paradise !

    October 10
    The temperature hasn’t been below 35 all week.
    How do people get used to this kind of heat?
    At least today it’s windy though.
    Keeps the flies off a bit.
    Acclimatizing is taking longer than we expected.

    October 15
    Fell asleep by the pool yesterday.
    Got third degree burns over 60% of my body.
    Missed three days off work.
    What a dumb thing to do..
    Got to respect the old sun in a climate like this!

    October 20
    – Didn’t notice Kitty (our cat) sneaking into the car before I left for work this morning.
    By the time I got back to the car after work, Kitty had died and swollen up to the size of a shopping bag and stuck to the upholstery.
    The car now smells like Whiskettes and cat shit.
    I’ve learned my lesson though: no more pets in this heat.

    October 25
    – This wind is a bastard.
    It feels like a giant fucking blow dryer.
    And it’s hot as hell!
    The home air conditioner is on the blink and the repair man charged $200 just to drive over and tell me he needs to order parts from fucking Perth ……The wife & the kids are complaining.

    October 30
    – The temperature’s up around 40 and the parts still haven’t arrived for the fucking air conditioner.
    House is an oven so we’ve all been sleeping outside by the pool for 3 nights now.
    Bloody $600,000 house and we can’t even go inside.
    Why the hell did I ever come here?

    November 4
    Finally got the fucking air-conditioner fixed. It cost $1,500 and gets the temperature down to around 25 degrees, but the humidity makes it feel about 35.
    Stupid repairman.
    Fucking thief.

    November 8
    – If one more smart bastard says ‘Hot enough for you today?’
    I’m going to fucking throttle him.
    Fucking heat!
    By the time I get to work, the car radiator is boiling over, my fucking clothes are soaking fucking wet and I smell like baked cat..
    Fucking place is the end of the Earth.

    November 9
    – Tried to run some errands after work, wore shorts, and sat on the black leather upholstery in my car.
    I thought my fucking arse was on fire.
    I lost 2 layers of flesh, all the hair on the backs of my legs and off my fucking arse.
    Now the car smells like burnt hair, fried arse and baked cat.
    Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

    November 10
    — The Weather report might as well be a fucking recording..
    Hot and sunny.
    Hot and sunny, Hot and fucking sunny.
    It never fucking changes!
    It’s been too hot to do anything for 2 fucking months and the weatherman says it might really warm up next week.
    Fuck!

    November 15
    – Doesn’t it ever rain in this damn fucking place?
    Water restrictions will be next, so my $5,000 worth of palms might just dry up and blow into the fucking pool
    The only things that thrive in this fucking hell-hole are the fucking flies.
    You don’t dare open your mouth for fear of swallowing half a dozen of the little bastards!

    November 20
    – Welcome to HELL!
    It got to 45 fuckin’ degrees today.
    Now the air conditioner gone in my car.
    The repair man came to fix it and said, ‘Hot enough for you today?’
    I wanted to shove the fucking car up his fucking arse.
    Anyway, had to spend the $2,500 mortgage payment to bail me out of jail for assaulting the stupid prick.
    Fucking Karratha!
    What kind of sick, demented fucking idiot would want to live here!

    December 1
    – WHAT!!!! The FIRST day of Summer!!!!
    You are fucking kidding me!

  16. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    June 1, 2012 3:11 pm

    That’s very funny!

    “What kind of sick, demented fucking idiot would want to live here!

    Welcome to Crapperville!!

  17. JAWS permalink
    June 1, 2012 3:46 pm

    “…..It’s hot and they don’t produce or appreciate decent wine. ”

    Come on ToM

    At least the Greeks know what wine is.

    Queenslanders think a carafe has a long neck and lives in a fucking zoo

  18. TB Queensland permalink
    June 1, 2012 3:59 pm

    Fucking whinging Poms … most of them went back “home” to the UK in my day, the rest disappeared into Mexico …

    Still if ya can’t handle it …

    The poor bastard must have been driving a Holden if the radiator boiled over … couldn’t have been a Pommie car either they got pissed off in the 60’s …

    Christ yer a funny wally, Wally …

  19. June 1, 2012 4:17 pm

    Would you believe that Brisbane has a man-made beach in the middle of the fkn city??

    I mean “why?”

  20. el gordo permalink
    June 1, 2012 4:32 pm

    Funny buggers, liked the Karratha yarn.

    The Chinese are coming to Crapperville, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

  21. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    June 1, 2012 4:43 pm

    I mean “why?”

    Because EVERYWHERE near Brisbane is a swamp. This is what they call a “beach” in Brisbane.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nudgee_Beach,_Queensland

  22. TB Queensland permalink
    June 1, 2012 5:57 pm

    Would you believe that Brisbane has a man-made beach in the middle of the fkn city??

    Do they?

    Melbourne is a swamp … in so many ways … 🙄

  23. Splatterbottom permalink
    June 1, 2012 6:01 pm

    “At least the Greeks know what wine is.”

    Yes, they call it retsina.

  24. TB Queensland permalink
    June 1, 2012 6:13 pm

    Yes, they call it retsina.

    Indeed, sp …

    … and some of us have tasted the crap … the really good stuff is sols in supermarkets but you have to take your own plastic bottle! 😯

    We had two Pommie school teachers for dinner (on Samos Island) in our unit one night … pissed in an hour on the bloody stuff … thank christ for Wild Turkey and duty free!

  25. Bacchus permalink
    June 1, 2012 6:21 pm

    We had two Pommie school teachers for dinner

    I hope they tasted nice 😛

    Sorry – I blame the Zombie thread :mrgreen:

  26. TB Queensland permalink
    June 1, 2012 7:03 pm

    The Pommie language can be funny, Baccy!

    These two were part of a group of teachers we’de met (we booked our trip in London so it was full of ’em!) Anyhoo … it was in 2005 and one theing none of them could understand is why the Republic Refenrendum had been “lost” in Australia … me too, I said, and then explained the Howard manipulation … ah, they said …

  27. el gordo permalink
    June 1, 2012 7:31 pm

    Sydney has noice beaches and the housing bubble has just burst.

  28. public toilet permalink
    June 1, 2012 8:04 pm

    Sydney is a dank cesspit with unmown kerbs…

  29. el gordo permalink
    June 1, 2012 8:28 pm

    And the transport system is screwed.

    Bring back the trams!

  30. TB Queensland permalink
    June 1, 2012 8:29 pm

    put the two togther and what do you get … Sydney has noice beaches and the housing bubble has just burst. …. Sydney is a dank cesspit with unmown kerbs…

    Not a pretty smell . .. sight vision …

  31. el gordo permalink
    June 1, 2012 8:34 pm

    All the capital cities fell in price…

    ‘For the year, residential values dropped 5.3 per cent, with Melbourne contributing the worst performance, given its property prices dropped 2.7 per cent in May. Darwin dwelling values slid 2.4 per cent.’

    Interest rates to drop again.

  32. JAWS permalink
    June 1, 2012 10:22 pm

    Housing ?
    Nothing to be too concerned about. Same thing happened 4 years ago.

  33. el gordo permalink
    June 1, 2012 10:26 pm

    Assuming we are on a down wave… the stock market should rally a number of times and it will appear that the bulls are back. If you are quick to jump on and off, there is money to be made.

    Knowing when to jump is important because these are false starts, more commonly known as ‘bear market rallies’.

  34. el gordo permalink
    June 1, 2012 10:40 pm

    Here is a graph to illustrate my point, there are at least six bear rallies in the great depression.

  35. JAWS permalink
    June 2, 2012 12:54 am

    Oops

    There go my gains on my Woodside and santos shares

    Lol

    Maybenext week

    USA oil imports are falling faster than new markets are demanding oil.

    ToSY might be onto something

    LOL

    Thank god the USA is doing something about carbon…… In Boulder anyway

  36. TB Queensland permalink
    June 2, 2012 9:30 am

    Here is a graph to illustrate my point, there are at least six bear rallies in the great depression.

    The Great Depression II is actually underway if you read history … strong nationalism … civil war … daily economic crisis (when Hitler came to power inflation was rampant – something like 1000% a day!)

    It took 20 years from the Wall St Crash to WWII … 1929 – 1939 … and the Spanish Civil just before … is all the Middle East unrest reflecting that now?

  37. el gordo permalink
    June 2, 2012 10:11 am

    Less than a decade TB.

  38. el gordo permalink
    June 2, 2012 10:23 am

    Did I mention that I live down the road from a gold mine?

    ‘Gold miners, though, may buck the downward trend after prices for the precious metal surged by the most in 10 months on expectation that the faltering US economy will prompt the Federal Reserve to embark on another round of monetary easing to spur growth.

    ‘Gold futures leapt 3.7 per cent to $US1622 an ounce, reversing much of May’s 6 per cent retreat.’

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/markets/dollar-sinks-stocks-to-fall-after-us-data-disappoints-20120602-1zo06.html#ixzz1wagjkOtl

  39. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    June 2, 2012 1:14 pm

    TB – ”The Great Depression II is actually underway if you read history …

    Maybe, Europe certainly looks like thery’re in for some long term difficulty. But we shouldn’t hit the panic button yet. Growth in China is still strong, and the population will continue to demand higher living standards and more consumer goods for another couple of generations, so we’re likely to struggle through.

    As long as we don’t stuff it up by becoming unreliable (industrial disruption or swings in government policy).

  40. TB Queensland permalink
    June 2, 2012 6:07 pm

    Less than a decade TB. Oops! Yep … didn’t use a calculator 😉

    ToM – we won’t stuff it up but the boofheads runnin’ the show don’t have real good record … my grandfathers served (during WWI) my parents served (during WWII) I served (VN) my son served (during ETimor Iraq) … I don’t want my grandkids serving … not a “panic” just a warning to the “elected” …

  41. TB Queensland permalink
    June 2, 2012 6:08 pm

    I served (VN) apologies and respect to any VN Vets reading … I did NOT serve in VN – I was safely tucked away here in Oz … 🙂

  42. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    June 2, 2012 6:25 pm

    One of the failings of the stimulus is that it was so politicised. It has created a political environment that is so strongly anti stimulus that the government is locked into contraction for the current economic cycle.

    That’s something they’ve stuffed up.
    ======================
    I’m also observing plenty of commentary about the negativity of Abbott, which is probably true, but then that’s an allegation routinely made about opposition leaders. Abbott is deservedly unpopular, he’s very unappealing.

    On the other hand, Gillard has created a generation of young cynics, first time votes have a record low level of respect for politicians, and it’s not because they read The Australian. It’s because they think she lacks basic honesty, and who would argue with that?

  43. el gordo permalink
    June 2, 2012 6:36 pm

    Mt brother fought in Vietnam, as I marched to stop the war. No conflict of interest, but coming home on R & R we had little to say…criticised my white sports coat and pink tie.

  44. TB Queensland permalink
    June 2, 2012 7:17 pm

    On the other hand, Gillard has created a generation of young cynics

    Not just young ones, ToM! … and I think its Gillard/Abbott and teams … both bloody awful in thier own way …

    egg, was your brother a regular (ie volunteer)?

    For your info I was a Nasho but I disagreed with our involvement with VN (I was married and had a little girl when I was called up so skipping back to the UK was not an option neither was gaol!) … the irony was the spitting incident when I was on my way to work one morning … ignorant little prick he was …

  45. el gordo permalink
    June 2, 2012 7:19 pm

    Rural Press shares have fallen 80% since they merged with Fairfax, extraordinary. In a similar vane… Gina is a chip off the old block and she’s almost certain to influence ‘editorial policy’ when she gets a seat.

    ‘But she wants to know that she can be part of a broad discussion about editorial policy, even at board level. The businessman reveals that when Corbett gets back from an overseas trip, it is likely the pair will meet and try to resolve the impasse.

    ‘Asked if Rinehart should be offered a board seat, Singleton replies: ”F—ing oath.

    ”Forget if it’s Gina, if it’s you or me or Bill Smith or Fred Snerk, if someone owns 13 per cent of the joint they’re probably going to want to make money out of it.”

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/rinehart-stalks-fairfax-board-as-corbett-digs-in-20120601-1zn3t.html#ixzz1wcpL7Jyd

  46. el gordo permalink
    June 2, 2012 7:21 pm

    ‘…was your brother a regular (ie volunteer)?’

    Regular 1st Battalion.

  47. Tony permalink
    June 2, 2012 7:23 pm

    Could be quite interesting, el gordo. Editorial “integrity” vs commercial reality.

  48. el gordo permalink
    June 2, 2012 7:55 pm

    If editorial policy becomes more balanced on some issues, I don’t see any problem with journalistic integrity.

  49. el gordo permalink
    June 2, 2012 9:08 pm

    They are going to use drones to track down recalcitrant hurricanes.

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