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Transatlantic Unity on Marijuana

American and German Youtube users are most interested in asking their respective heads of government about the legalization of marijuana. This seems to be another indication that US and German social media users think much more alike than the political elites do. I am disappointed that more important questions are much less popular.

Last week, Chancellor Merkel responded on the government's Youtube channel to ten questions from citizens. She responded negatively to this questions about the legalization, regulation and taxation of marijuana which had received the most votes on Youtube:

Wie stehen Sie zur Forderung, den bestehenden Schwarzmarkt für Cannabis durch einen regulierten Markt mit Jugend- und Verbraucherschutz (Kontrolle von Qualität und THC-Gehalt) zu ersetzen und mehr Suchtprävention über Cannabissteuern zu finanzieren?

For Merkel it was the first Youtube Q&A, while President Obama has been conducting three YouTube question-and-answer sessions already. According to CBS News, the session in January 2011 was "as always" dominated by marijuana:

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The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself

The Eurocrisis is severe, but no reason to wet your pants -- or to mention the war, is it? As did The Times editor-at-large Anatole Kaletsky, in an op-ed for his paper by the headline: "Germany has declared war on the eurozone"

If Clausewitz is right that "war is the continuation of policy by other means", then Germany is again at war with Europe -- in the sense that German policy is trying to achieve the characteristic objectives of war: the redrawing of international boundaries and the subjugation of foreign peoples.

Holy guacamole! The Australian has republished his op-ed with free access to everyone visiting via Google. So search for the headline "Europe is at economic war, and Germany is winning". (HT Christian)

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NATO Transformation: Q&A with General Abrial

From my day job:

Join Atlantic Community for our next Q&A with General Stéphane Abrial, Supreme Allied Commander Transformation. We invite you to ask questions about NATO's ongoing efforts to implement "Smart Defense" and share your own thoughts on how to handle transformation in the 21st century.

General Abrial is the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO's Allied Command Transformation (ACT), which is responsible for ensuring NATO remains an effective and innovative force in the 21st century despite economic pressures and budget rollbacks.

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Short Guide to Lazy EU Journalism

Excellent post by Kosmopolit:

1. Not sure how the EU works or what institutions are involved? -> Just write "Brussels".

2. Germany is generally seen as important in EU politics and journalists know how to frame it:

      If Germany is active in a certain policy domain just write something about  "German dominance" and if you work for British newspaper add  some subtle references to the war.

      If  Germany is passive in a given policy area just write that Germany abandons the EU and it clearly adopted a unilateral strategy, if you work for a British newspaper you could add something about the war.

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Drezner: GOP Abandons Italy

Dan Drezner

While Rick Perry's major league gaffe will command all the headlines, I thought the most reealing answers were given to the first question of the night -- what to do about Italy?  Here are the responses of the co-frontrunners:

HERMAN CAIN:  "There's not a lot that the United States can directly do for Italy right now, because they have -- they're really way beyond the point of return that we -- we as the United States can save them."

MITT ROMNEY:  "Well, Europe is able to take care of their own problems. We don't want to step in and try and bail out their banks and bail out their governments. They have the capacity to deal with that themselves."

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Steve Jobs, European and American Washing Machines

Apparently Steve Jobs and his wife, Laurene Powell, "spent a lot of time asking ourselves, 'What is the purpose of a sofa?'" It was the choice of a washing machine, however, that proved most vexing, writes Malcom Gladwell in The New Yorker:

European washing machines, Jobs discovered, used less detergent and less water than their American counterparts, and were easier on the clothes. But they took twice as long to complete a washing cycle. What should the family do? As Jobs explained, "We spent some time in our family talking about what's the trade-off we want to make. We ended up talking a lot about design, but also about the values of our family. Did we care most about getting our wash done in an hour versus an hour and a half?

Perhaps Apple will on day produce an overpriced washing-machine that combines the best from European and American technology, incl. some Asian robot, which folds the laundry away.

Did you know that the washing machine was the greatest invention of the industrial revolution?

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