Origins of the lamppost joke

by John Quiggin on May 14, 2007

Thanks to dr slack and other well-read contributors to this comments thread, I found an early version of the drunk/lamp-post/keys joke commonly directed at economists in which the role of the drunk/economist is played by a figure from Afghan (or maybe Iranian or Turkish) tradition, Mullah Nasruddin (scroll down or search for basement).

What is Germany thinking?

by Maria on May 14, 2007

18 months ago, it was decision day for the EU’s General Affairs and External Relations Council to decide on banning Uzbek government officials from entering Europe. A travel ban was put in place after the Uzbek government shot dead about 200 protesters in Andijan in May, 2005. The US also protested the massacre and was kicked out of its air base in Afghanistan’s neighbour (despite having poured $1 billion of aid into the country since 1992, not to mention the odd extraordinary rendition). In October 2005, the EU issued a strongly worded protest and banned Karimov and about a dozen of his cronies from entering the Europe. Today, it’s d-day again, as the Council decides whether to continue banning 12 named officials from entering Europe.

Normally, this bread and butter issue should have been decided last week in discussions between government officials. Most member states wanted the ban continued for 12 named people, but Germany wanted only 8. Using its presidency of the EU to throw its weight around, Germany refused point blank to negotiate at the working level, and pushed the issue up to the EU’s foreign ministers for their meeting today. All over Brussels, diplomats are scratching their heads at how far Germany is willing to stick its brass neck out for this nasty little dictatorship and asking themselves; wtf? [click to continue…]