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NRC Handelsblad covers the sequester


Yeah, kind of a funny choice there for the headline, but let's not get into that. Obvs, I'm reading NRC Handelsblad in a desperate attempt to improve my Dutch. I don't know if it's going well or not, but I'm basically reading this thing on the iPad with my laptop open to google translate where I can type in the sentences and phrases that I have no mortal clue about. Good news: I'm getting through longer stretches in the third article I'm reading and ALSO the articles are kinda cool (the one about Meavita and its attempts to develop a set-top box for TVs to provide tele-care/tele-medicine was particularly interesting -- alas, it's critical because the company went under a few years ago and they are still post-morteming it).

But I think I've found a very odd perspective difference that I do not believe to be an artifact of translation issues. Guus Valk is quoted as saying the sequester is the biggest cut in recent American history, a result of the continuing stalemate "tussen regering en Republikeinen" over how to deal with the deficit.

Or, between the government and Republicans. That's a different way to think about it than the way we usually think about it (that is, the powers in various branches struggling with each other).

There's a subhead later on which I am fairly certain is an idiom: "een stok achter de deur". Google translate says "big stick" but that is _not_ what those words are. That is "a stick behind the door", which sounds like something you might keep by your door to beat up bad guys who try to break in (or, conversely, threaten mis-behaving children with, as the case may be). Dutch people trying to translate this into English come up with the same thing Google translate uses. The phrase is a term of art in Dutch policy and they are not unfamiliar with sticks behind the door failing to work as hoped.

I liked this subhead: "De Politici Nemen Een "Gecalculeerd Risico". I bet you, too, can figure out exactly what it means: The politicians take a calculated risk.

I'm having a helluva time with the article about Rutte's proposal for the Dutch budget, which is only partly a language problem (what is the 3% thing that Brussels cares about for the deficit? I feel like I ought to know this and yet I find that I do not; also, what are "social partners"?).

ETA: I just adore some of these words. The future is "de toekomst", which is of course _exactly_ what the future is.