Tuesday, May 26, 2009
High in the sky over North Dakota, an unmanned Predator drone is on patrol, equipped with an infrared security camera that looks forward 16 miles.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
(Chris Weston’s take on Orwell’s Big Brother from Forbidden Planet)
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
For more information, or to obtain tickets, the newspaper reported that people should contact the Chase Foundation’s Richard Price at (505) 746-4610, or call Rob Saliterman at The George W. Bush Foundation at (214) 692-4300.
A little folk wisdom for graduation, or sage advice on how to get away with murder and lying? "Ya'll too can be Prezident!, har har." Let's hope nobody flies an airplane into anything during his homily!
Tomorrow is Ascension, and still a national holiday (a "red day") in Sweden. Literally the word means Kristi (Christ) himmel (Heaven) färd or fart ('journey' or 'speed' depending on who you talk to and in which Scandinavian country) - and is usually good for a vulgar titter in Swinglish conversation; but not mine, of course.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I was joking about Dick (The Dick) Cheney, Ray McGovern tells how bad it was: "Who's afraid of the CIA?"
20 May Update: Amy Goodman has an hour long conversation with 'New Yorker' correspondent Jane Mayer and British attorney Philippe Sands on the subject of legalizing torture - recommended!
European Parliament resolution of 10 July 2008 on the death penalty, particularly the case of Troy Davis
The European Parliament,
- having regard to its previous resolutions on the abolition of the death penalty and the need for an immediate moratorium on executions in those countries where the death penalty is still imposed,
- having regard to UN General Assembly Resolution 62/149 of 18 December 2007 on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty in the world,
- having regard to the updated and revised version of the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty, adopted by the Council on 16 June 2008,
A. having regard to the case of Troy Davis, sentenced to death by the Georgia State Court in 1991 for the murder of a policeman and scheduled to be executed at the end of July 2008,
B. whereas, according to Troy Davis' lawyers, there is abundant proof of his innocence, material evidence against him has never been produced and seven witnesses for the prosecution have retracted their testimony,
C. whereas on 4 August 2007 the Supreme Court of Georgia agreed to reconsider new elements casting doubt on Troy Davis' guilt,
D. whereas on 17 March 2008 the Supreme Court of Georgia denied Troy Davis a retrial, although the Chief Justice dissented,
E. whereas since 1975 more than 120 people have been released from death row in the United States, having been found innocent,
F. whereas in the United States the power of clemency in cases where a capital sentence has been imposed exists as a failsafe against irreversible errors that the courts are unable or unwilling to remedy,
G. whereas New Jersey is the first US State to have abolished capital punishment by legislation since the reintroduction of the death penalty in the United States in 1972, citing the inescapable risk of executing those wrongfully convicted,
1. Calls upon those countries where the death penalty is imposed to take the necessary steps towards its abolition;
2. Asks that Troy Davis' death sentence be commuted and, in view of the abundant evidence which might lead to such commutation, for the relevant courts to grant him a retrial;
3. Appeals urgently to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles to commute Troy Davis' death sentence;
4. Calls on the Presidency of the Council and the Delegation of the Commission to the United States to raise the issue as a matter of urgency with the US authorities;
5. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Government of the United States, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles, and the Attorney General of Georgia.
Bergman's Fårö House for Sale
The house of Sweden's late film maker Ingmar Bergman on the isle of Fårö is on sale. The Bergmancenter, the foundation of the legendary Oscar-winning director, has told news agency TT that a severe lack of money is the main reason for selling the property - which among other features includes Bergman's own cinema. British luxury real estate company Christie's have been assigned with the sale. Neither the minimum price nor the expected final sum are known. (ah)
(Via Sveriges Radio International.)
Images from: Christie's Great Estates
Monday, May 18, 2009
Record Numbers of Swedes Caught Short Outdoors
The number of people being arrested and fined for springing (sic) a leak outdoors has almost doubled over the past 5 years, according to new figures from the Swedish Police Board. Going to the toilet in the open air is classified as disorderly conduct in a public place and can lead to fines of up to 100 US dollars. The fine also means a criminal record for five years.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Pope Deplores ‘Ideological Manipulation’ - NYTimes.com
Isn't that like saying "Obama Deplores 'US Imperialism',"
or "Vanilla Deplores the Use of 'White'?"
Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, the first indigenous head of state in Latin America is quoted from a short essay published last November:
Competition and the thirst for profit without limits of the capitalist system are destroying the planet. Under Capitalism we are not human beings but consumers. Under Capitalism, Mother Earth does not exist, instead there are raw materials. Capitalism is the source of the asymmetries and imbalances in the world. It generates luxury, ostentation and waste for a few, while millions in the world die from hunger in the world.
In the hands of capitalism everything becomes a commodity: the water, the soil, the human genome, the ancestral cultures, justice, ethics, death … and life itself. Everything, absolutely everything, can be bought and sold and under capitalism. And even “climate change” itself has become a business.
“Climate change” has placed all humankind before a great choice: to continue in the ways of capitalism and death, or to start down the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.
via Dissident Voice
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I just needed something to get the taste of Cheney off my palate, and this guy has always cheered me up. This was a postcard announcing new delivery times from Posten (the Post Office). But there's something so ineffably Swedish about the picture, even though the brevbärare, himself, is obviously not native - that too is part of the modern Sverige, along with the pavement pattern, the apricot stucco above the granite fascia, his wonderful, purpose-built bike, and the style combination of rolled-up cargo pants plus tattoo. But most of all, it's the smile - so Swedish!
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
If Republicans are such a big stupid target now, why haven't we been laughing for eight years? If wit is such a potent weapon, why didn't anybody shoot them when it mattered? Are Democrats any less pathetic when they're out of power? Do we really believe that mockery will make this part of the American psyche less virulent? Have we learned nothing?
090506: The next day this arrives from AlterNet: "The Far Right's First 100 Days: Getting More Extreme by the Day (Their talk is turning ugly, and it's not unthinkable that we could be in for a wave of domestic terrorism unseen since the mid-'90s.") quote: "They've been humiliated by their election losses. And that's hugely dangerous, because authoritarian leaders react uniquely badly to being humiliated."
State Sells Two-Thirds of Pharmacies
On Tuesday, the Swedish government officially announced that it is to sell two-thirds of its 900 state-owned pharmacies. By abolishing the state monopoly in this sector, the centre-right government intends to increase competition on the pharmaceutical market – which eventually should lead to lower drug prices. But the opposition fears that abolishing the state monopoly will merely lead to oligopolies by a few private competitors.
Via: SR Engelska
I'm really afraid Swedes don't understand what they've given up here. Speaking as someone who has seen, firsthand, what Big Pharma can do to a medical system, how totally corrupting its influence can be, I worry that Sweden may have put an already shaky health care system into mortal jeopardy. It's not just the Apoteks, but everything connected to them that will become the target of that awful machine. As for the argument that it will lower prices, all one has to do is look to America to see the fallacy in that. Without being condescending, I really wonder if Swedes have any notion of how low their drug costs already are. People go bankrupt in the United States paying for medicine. Is that what we want here?
Today, I came across the following menu:
Cucumbers with garlic and fine herbs
Basque chicken thigh with herbs
Red and green bell peppers and olive oil
In most parts of the US, that would be described as a gourmet, or near-gourmet meal. In France, it's called government-sponsored school lunch.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
This is probably the best, clearest, summation of the current situation and the functioning of Capitalism I've read: Ecosocialism: For a Society of Good Ancestors (Part One). It's well worth reading, in full.
"If you ask any of them individually, our rulers would undoubtedly say that they want their children and grandchildren to live in a stable and sustainable world. So why do their actions contradict their words? Why do they seem determined, in practice, to leave their children and grandchildren a world of poisoned air and water, a world of floods and droughts and escalating climate disasters? Why have they repeatedly sabotaged international efforts to adopt even half-hearted measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions?
When they do consider or implement responses to the climate crisis, why do they always support solutions that do not work, that cannot possibly work?
Karl Marx had a wonderful phrase for the bosses and their agents — the big shareholders and executives and top managers and the politicians they own — a phrase that explains why they invariably act against the present and future interests of humanity. These people, he said, are “personifications of capital.” Regardless of how they behave at home, or with their children, their social role is that of capital in human form.
They don’t act to stop climate change because the changes needed by the people of this world are directly contrary to the needs of capital.
Capital has no conscience. Capital can’t be anyone’s ancestor because capital has no children. Capital has only one imperative: it has to grow."
(Via Dissident Voice.)