Veseli december

It’s that time of the year, again…. 😀

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Ljubljana on a December night (source)

From December 3rd to January 2nd Ljubljana’s Old City will be filled with fast food joints, čevapdžinicas, makeshift bars and stands selling generally useless stuff. Except for slippers, which are highly useful, especially if one has – like Pengovsky – only recenlty moved into his new appartement and has yet to buy slippers (or copati) for visitors and has to, when people come to see him, utter the sentence “no, please, don’t take your shoes off” thus defying decades of tradition and upbringing, whilst every fibre in his body reacts with utmost disgust and shame, yelling “is THAT how mother taught you???


But upbringing aside, December is arguably one of the best months to see Ljubljana. Not just because the city centre is so lovely lit that people should actually be issued an emergency supply of insuline upon arrival, just to cope with the mooshines Ljubljana in December tends to bring up in an unsuspecting individual, but people in general go a bit bananas. Not in the Ausländer-raus-kind-of-way, but just beeing predominantly in a good mood and generaly drunk, with honney schnapps and kuhano vino being everybody’s favourite. (Yes, I still don’t know the English expession for “kuhano vino”… Michael, help!!!).

The lights will be officially switched on by Mayor Janković tomorrow at 17.30, and then the fun begins, so take a look at the programme and decide what’s your pleasure.

BTW: it has been unofficially confirmed to Pengovsky that Zoki has had a major say in the final outcome of the programme. Apparently he decided that Danijela, Petar Grašo, Gibonni and Oliver Dragojević should give performances, and so they will. For better or for worse 😉


I will try to report on the events in the Old City as they are within earshot of the Firm™, but don’t hold it against me if I don’t since I just might end up like on the bottom picture…

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Pengovsky in his natural state – seriously drunk

How can you take them seriously, then…

Slovenska oglaševalska zbornica (Advertising chamber of Slovenia) published new results on circulation for top Slovene dailies: Delo, Dnevnik, Večer, Slovenske novice and Finance, as well as other press. Personally, I couldn’t care less about this and other studies: a) It was commissioned by the Advertising chamber, which is a far cry from an independent institution for it consists of advertisers, i.e.: companies that provide the living for most of Slovene media. b) As with any statistic you can turn these numbers up, down and even sideways, as long as you get a favourable result. And last but not least c) these numbers speak only of circulation – which is NOT the same as reach or even close to the actual number of readers.

Combine these three reasons with the articles by Delo and Dnevnik on this study and suddenly you have the media selling their own “research” back to advertisers, slightly spinned, of course.

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Trg najbolj udaril po Dnevniku
Delova dnevnika zvišala tržni delež za pol odstotka

Ljubljana – Tretje četrtletje letošnjega leta se je, merjeno skozi prodane naklade časopisov (meritve so bile izvedene v okviru projekta Revidirane prodane naklade – RPN – Slovenske oglaševalske zbornice, SOZ), izkazalo kot zelo ugodno za časopisno hišo Delo. Istoimenskemu dnevniku se je naklada znižala najmanj med trojico političnih dnevnikov, Novicam pa je edinim zrasla; tržni delež naše hiše se je tako v četrtletju, ko so se naklade časopisov znižale za odstotek, povečal za pol odstotka.

Skupna naklada petih dnevnih časopisov – poleg Dela in Novic sem štejemo še Dnevnik, Večer in Finance, medtem ko Direkt in Primorske novice zaradi specifičnosti nista zajeta v meritve – se je v obdobju od julija do septembra letos znižala z 263.500 na dobrih 261 tisoč prodanih izvodov, torej za slab odstotek. V tem padanju je edina res svetla izjema dnevnik Novice, ki je naklado zvišal za 1,2 odstotka, znova čez 90 tisoč prodanih izvodov povprečno na dan. Dnevniku Delo se je naklada sicer znižala za 1,6 odstotka oziroma za tisoč izvodov, kar pa je v odstotkih najmanjše znižanje med tremi resnimi dnevniki.

Namreč, če je Večerovo znižanje za 1,8 odstotka oziroma za 850 izvodov še znosno, pa preseneča izjemen padec naklade Dnevnika, in sicer z 48.500 na 47 tisoč izvodov, torej za 1500 izvodov oziroma kar za tri odstotke; (source).

Delo v dveh letih že z 12 tisoč manj prodanimi izvodi
torek, 28.11.2006 22:30
Tekst: (do)

LJUBLJANA – Na podlagi podatkov, ki jih je v okviru raziskave revidiranih prodanih naklad objavila Slovenska oglaševalska zbornica (SOZ), je v tretjem četrtletju od julija do septembra letošnjega leta predvsem zaradi sezonskega vpliva poletnih počitnic padla prodaja vseh resnih dnevnikov:

Delu dober odstotek, Večeru za skoraj 1,9 odstotka in Dnevniku za nekaj manj kot 3,4 odstotka. Med dnevnimi časopisi so le Slovenske novice, ki jih izdaja časopisna hiša Delo, uspele povečati število prodanih izvodov za 0,8 odstotka.

Toda v primerjavi z enakim obdobjem lani je med resnimi dnevniki le Dnevnik uspel povečati število prodanih izvodov s 46.811 na 47.083 na dan, medtem ko je Delu prodaja v tem obdobju padla za dobrih 9 odstotkov. Večer je v zadnjem letu prav tako zabeležil padec prodaje za skoraj sedem odstotkov.” (source)

How can you take either of them seriously, then?

It reminds me of the Cold-war joke about Kennedy and Khruscev, who raced each other on a 100 metre track. Kennedy was first and Nikita was second, but the US papers reported on Kennedy winning and Khruscev being last, whereas the Soviet papers reported Khruscev second and Kennedy one-before-last.

BTW: Večer didn’t even report the story – at least not by 00:30 on Wednesday. Couldn’t put enough spin on it, I wonder?

Policija trenira strogoću….

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…perhaps best translated as LJPD Blue in action. The entire gallery by Dnevnik daily is located here


To those who have been on this Earth long enough to have at least heard of the student movement in former Yugoslavia and the continuos battles and hide-and-seek games between (mostly) students and the fearsome socialist police, the above title of the song by Leteći Odred will sound familiar.

This time around, there is a twist, though. The po-lice used force against the majority population of Ambrus and Ivančna Gorica (remember this post?). As the Strojan family (the Roma) tried yet again in vain to return to their land in Ambrus near Ivančna Gorica, the local populace gathered yet agaiin to prevent that from happening. They set up roadblocks and baricades, forcing the police to intervene. Soon the special police forces were deployed (the so called Robocops) and as things grew tense an order was given by Chief of Ljubljana Police Authority Branko Slak to disperse the crowd which by now had reached hundreds of people.

Punches flew and a person apparently took two blows with a baton in the head (the bald man with a bloody head in Dnevnik’s pictures) and another woman injured her arm.

As I wrote some time ago, the State (the govenrment if you will) is the only institution authorised to use force and only when law and order are disturbed. Not only that law and order were disturbed in Ivančna Gorica, they were down right mutilated, trampped upon, spat at and humiliated. On top of that the minority population was denied due process, denied freedom of movement and evicted (to name but a few human rights violations) thus bringing about the inevitable violation of the rule of law.

The people of Ivančna Gorica took the law into their own hands, so naturally the law took them into its hands. The law in this case being the cops who should have in my opinion beat the shit out of the protesters, not just sprain a wrist and schratch a bald head.

Had the law used all its powers then people would get arrested, severely beaten, questioned, tried and sentenced for violating countless counts of law. Not only that – the actions of the police in Ivančna Gorica on Saturday night was highly disproportionate to its own actions on November 17th, when a pro-Roma rally took place in downtown Ljubljana, where two people were arrested and later released. One of them was Marko Brecelj from Koper, a songwriter and an alternative rock musician (think band Buldožer) who also wrote the legendary song Parada (Parade). That particular protest was peaceful – the protesters were on vallium compared to the Saturday’s events, and yet two people were arrested. On Saturday noone was arrested, two people were hurt in a clash with the cops and another man took a kick in the groin. What Ivančna Gorica needs right now is a bit of police brutality – the kind one sees at footbal matches, so the people would bug out and go home, rahter than get drunk on weekends and have a party WHILE “defenfing” their Vaterland

I agree with Pavle Čelik (the former Top Cop): the po-lice should have kicked some ass the first time around. Now the local populace feels emboldened by the fact that not only they drove out the Roma, even the police can’t really touch them. If it does, heads roll. The first head to roll off the stage was the already mentioned Chief of Police Authority Ljubljana Branko Slak, who allegedly failed to follow protocol and gave the orded to disperse the crowd without ordering the people to disperse over the megaphone and warning them of immediate police action. I doubt that it would have helped, but if he really failed to follow proper procedues, reprimand him. Don’t destroy a man’s career a month before his retirement. But he was removed by Jože Romšek (the current Top Cop) to head the Slovene version of Police Academy, while a new guy is coming to take over for Slak. And while this new guy gets his bearings the fascists in Ivančna Gorica will do as they please.

Seeing Janša in today’s Odmevi on state television I was amazed to see him actually talk some sense. What he obviously failed to realise is that moving the Strojan family was the catalyst for this sad saga as people suddenly felt that they can get whatever they want, all they have to do is to take it one step further than the othe guy. At this stage this already means killing somebody. And that will be blood on Janša’s hands, as he has played an an active role in anti-Roma protests in 2004 (unfotunately the article from Delo daily is in Slovene only and yes, I know I’m infringing copyright).
Janša is right on one thing, thouhg: This thing has gotten out of controll. When roumor spread that the Strojan family will relocate to Kočevje, the mayor of the municipality went on the local radio an allegedly called people to the baricades. “Alegedly” because I can’t even find Radio Univox on the net. But knowing as I do the Roma situation in Kočevje this call to arms seems quite probable. The fun part is that the mayor Janko Veber (who is also a deputy in the parliament) belongs to opposition Social Democrats. This only proves that stupid people are thick on the ground in Slovenia and are not confined exclusively to the political right.


Oh, and my favourite statement this time around… A redneck who was handled roughly by a cop was shocked that the cop didn’t speak Slovene. Supposedly the cop said to him “Najebat ćeš” – which is “you’ll get fucked for this” in Croatian. Or Serbian. Or anything else – point is that it wasn’t Slovene…. Don’t you get it?! We’re being infested by all these foreigners who came to steal our identity and our way of life, the Gypsies , the faggots, the goddamn Jews….Eeeek….


Borat, this country needs you!!!!!

The Abortion of Minister Drobnič

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the soon-to-be-aborted Minister


As of yesterday it became clear that Janez Drobnič, Minister for Labour, Family and Social Affairs is about to lose his job. He was a controversial figure from the very beginning, when Prime Minister Janez Janša was forced to nominate him to the post. Namely, one of the junior coalition parties, Nova Slovenija (New Slovenia or NSi), a deeply conservative and pro-Catholic party made it clear that a) it wants to control the said Ministry and b) that Drobnič should have the job.


Now, this ministry is a curious thing: It is one of the most influential and one the most volitale departements of every administration. It is in charge of more than 25% of Slovenia’s yearly budget. In 2007 that translates as SIT 500 billion (€ 2,2 bilion), making it second only to the Ministry of Finance.


One of the basic functions of the minister and his team is to conduct the so-called “social dialogue” – yearly negotiations between the government, unions and employers. The expected result is an agreement on wages which should follow the rising costs of living (what the unions want), not hamper the growth of the businesess (what the employers want) and have an overall positive effect on the growth of Slovene GDP and the country’s competitivenes while preserving the relatively high level of social security (what the government wants, although the final point is open for debate and depends mainly on the ideological perusasion of any given administration).


Janez Drobnič, the soon to be ex-minister, failed badly on most counts. I will not go into the details of his failed policies, but let me just remind everybody that under his tenure Slovenia faced the first general strike which brought together the ever-split unions, pensioners and students. He failed to conduct any form of social dialogue, but the straw that broke the camel’s back came from the third field of his duties: Family. A litlle more than a week ago he proposed a National Strategy on Raising the Birth Rate which – among other things – proposed charging women for abortion (thus making it accessible only to those who are really well off and who are less likely to have more than one child in the first place) and making pensions depentant on the number of children a person has given birth to (or fathered) until his or her pension.

Especially the former caused an uproar, athough Pengovsky is of opinion that the latter is a much more dangerous proposition.


But as there were and still will be enough posts on the issue, I thought I’d post something about how this all plays out:

PM Janša on Thursday asked Minister Drobnič to resign his post. Upon due consideration Drobnič refused. The move was not a complete surprise but it was a bold move given the power and authority Janez Janša has gained in the past two years. This put Janša in a bit of an akward position: Drobnič called his bluff and Janša was now faced with two options: Either he proposed Drobnič’s dismissal to the parliament or he could’ve waited until January 2007 when a vote of confidence in Drobnič was scheduled due to a move by Slovene National Party.

A quick sidenote for the uninitiated: Slovenia sports a parliamentary democracy with strong elements of “assembly system”: in practice this means that the ministers are approved and dismissed by the parliament rather that by the PM himself. It also somewhat diminishes the powers of the prime minister as his ministers are responsible both to him and to the Parliament. Thus any change in the government has to be approved by the Parliament, making it theoretically possible that the parliament refuses the change proposed by the PM, forcing him to “live” with the unwanted minister.

Anyways: Janša chose the quick and the hard way (proposing the dimissal to the parliament), putting Drobnič’s party NSi into an unfortunate position: If they vote in favour of the dismissal they stabbed their man in the back (a trait not at all appreciated among the party faithful) but if they vote against the proposition they failed the PM and the so-called “coalition agreement”, thus stabbing the PM (and the rest of their coalition partners) in the back.

While it is unlikely that Drobnič will keep his post it is quite possible that NSi will want some sort of retribution for this political ambush (or, to put in terms of Slovene politics – an assisted suicide) and one could not put it past them if they supported the dismissal of Minister for Culture Vasko Simoniti – but that would be a grave breach of coalition agreement and the consequences could be serious – at least with this prime minister. One way to avoid any serious backlash is for Janša to up the stakes even further and make the vote on Drobnič’s dismissal also a vote of confidence in his administration. Thus he would make any renegade deupty from NSi fall back in line and on the other hand he would silence the opposition which would – in a perverce twist of events – by voting for Drobnič’s dismissal also vote in support of Janša’s administration. Usually the opposition (especially the liberal democrats – LDS) would rather gnaw their leg off than do anything that remotely resembles supporting Janša, but they may have no choice.


But then again – Janša might choose not to up the stakes and just weather the storm. In any case it will be fun to watch Drobnič being aborted.


UPDATE: Nsi, Drobnič’s party has decided to support the minister and demanded a top-level meeting between coalition partners – second in less than a week. While this does not mean that party’s deputies will actually vote in favour of the Minister, it is a move in that direction. Janša is up for a bad weekend.