Saturday, June 30, 2007

We Made It to Our Vacation Island on the Baltic Shore


From Hiddensee 2007

There we are with the intermittently stormy Baltic and dramatic sky behind us on the beach.

And this is what we got to see from our room's window, looking away from the sea towards the sound, minutes after arriving !

Friday, June 29, 2007

Global Unease With Major World Powers

Pew Global Attitudes Project: Summary of Findings: Global Unease With Major World Powers

Global Unease With Major World Powers
Rising Environmental Concern in 47-Nation Survey
Released: 06.27.07
A 47-nation survey finds global public opinion increasingly wary of the world's dominant nations and disapproving of their leaders. Anti-Americanism is extensive, as it has been for the past five years. At the same time, the image of China has slipped significantly among the publics of other major nations. Opinion about Russia is mixed, but confidence in its president, Vladimir Putin, has declined sharply. In fact, the Russian leader's negatives have soared to the point that they mirror the nearly worldwide lack of confidence in George W. Bush.

Pew Global Attitudes Project, a project of the
1615 L Street, NW Suite 700 Washington, DC 20036
p 202.419.4400 f 202.419.4399 e

Resegregation Now

I was fortunate enough to have attended a fully integrated high school and to have had the opportunity to help create it. It is lamentable that future generations will perhaps no longer have the experience of learning and living with those OTHER from themselves. Education should not resign itself to being a mirror of the self, but always and only a window onto what the student himself is not.

Resegregation Now - New York Times

The Supreme Court ruled 53 years ago in Brown v. Board of Education that segregated education is inherently unequal, and it ordered the nation’s schools to integrate. Yesterday, the court switched sides and told two cities that they cannot take modest steps to bring public school students of different races together. It was a sad day for the court and for the ideal of racial equality.
There should be no mistaking just how radical this decision is. In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens said it was his “firm conviction that no Member of the Court that I joined in 1975 would have agreed with today’s decision.” He also noted the “cruel irony” of the court relying on Brown v. Board of Education while robbing that landmark ruling of much of its force and spirit. The citizens of Louisville and Seattle, and the rest of the nation, can ponder the majority’s kind words about Brown as they get to work today making their schools, and their cities, more segregated.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Finally, vacation !

We're off Saturday for a week on our enchanted island of Hiddensee.
Finally a week just for us - to relax and enjoy all by ourselves !
And HERE'S THE LINK to the live webcam of the beach there from the fish restaurant we love to eat in!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Agreement in the middle of the night...

EU leaders clinch a deal on Reform Treaty

"An agreement on the reform of the EU institutions was reached at the European
Council in Brussels on 23 June. After two days of tough negotiations, EU leaders
agreed on a mandate for an Intergovernmental Conference which will draw up the
Reform Treaty by the end of 2007. If ratified, this treaty could enter into
force in June 2009, ahead of the next elections to the European Parliament."

Saturday, June 23, 2007

CSD in Berlin 2007

This picture reveals a lot

From CSD Berlin 2007

and the others in the album show a bit more of today's celebration while demanding equal rights in all respects for all.

Just Close It --- Finally !

Everyone who can think and cares about democracy and justice and the principles which the west and Enlightenment seek to defend against fundamentalist incursions and dictatorships everywhere knows Guantánamo should be closed, should never have been opened.
So stop talking and considering! Close it and raise charges against those to whom such is applicable, bring them before a court, try them, and have the judicial system detemine their guilt or innocence. There are prisons enough without creating camps outside the reach of judicial review! Bringing terrorists to justice, i.e. before a court of law, could inform those opposed to democratic systems and liberty about the benefits thereof!

The New York Times
At White House, Renewed Debate on Guantánamo
Published: June 23, 2007

The Bush administration said top officials were once again debating how and when to close the detention facilities.
On Thursday night, in response to questions about the A.P. article, Gordon D. Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council, issued an opaque statement that did not reflect the deep debate.
“The president has long expressed a desire to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility and to do so in a responsible way,” his statement said. “A number of steps need to take place before that can happen, such as setting up military commissions and the repatriation to their home countries of detainees who have been cleared for release. These and other steps have not been completed. No decisions on the future of Guantánamo Bay are imminent and there will not be a White House meeting tomorrow.”

Or: to clearly make the point by quoting a classic:
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.
- W.S.-Macbeth

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Making it clear who's with you and who's against you...

And they shouldn't forget that Christopher Street Day is the day after tomorrow and that gay pride is powerful !
Equal rights for registered civil unions will be achieved; not even Bavaria is provinical enough to stop it. And this is Europe, not some uniformed parched tobacco field in the fundamentalist provinces of the south of the USA !

Bundestag Union: Kein gleiches Recht für schwule Paare in Deutschland -

Homosexuellen Partnerschaften sollen nach dem Willen der Union nicht dieselben Rechte wie einer Ehe eingeräumt werden. Ihr Koalitionspartner will trotzdem weiter an der rechtlichen Gleichstellung arbeiten. [...]
Der Parlamentarische Geschäftsführer der Grünen, Volker Beck, sagte, es gebe keinen Grund, Lebenspartner schlechter zu stellen als Ehepaare. Den vom CSU-Abgeordneten Georg Fahrenschon betonten besonderen Schutz von Ehe und Familie wies Beck als "alte Leier" zurück.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Bushbaby Playpen as depicted in "Lil' Bush"

Just had to provide the link to this REALISTIC PORTRAYAL of the playpen ! Everyone in Europe would consider it a documentary, since that's the general opinion here of the incompetence and childishness going on in the only semi-white house in DC these days.
As Comedy Central itself describes it:

Ever wonder how legends are made? Find out on Lil' Bush: Resident of the United States, the animated series that takes you back to the playground days of our 43rd president, George W. Bush. Enjoy the antics of Lil' George and his Lil' White House posse, including Lil' Condi, Lil' Rummy and that unintelligible, foulmouthed wisecracker, Lil' Cheney. They're like the Little Rascals with access to the A-bomb -- getting into mischief, learning stuff and meeting friends (Lil' Tony Blair) and foes (Lil' Kim Jong Il). Plus, they're always ready with a song. And some influential alternative rockers are grabbing the mic to provide guest voices, including Iggy Pop, Frank Black, Jeff Tweedy, Colin Meloy, Anthony Kiedis, Flea and Dave Grohl. Creator Donick Cary has written for The Simpsons and Just Shoot Me, and now takes Lil' Bush from its cult following on Amp'd Mobile to your TV screen. So join Lil’ George as he leads his lil’ cabinet and takes this dream team to elementary school political glory. The new show airs Wednesdays at 10:30p / 9:30c.

And I have to give credit to my lawscholarly ducal niece for putting me onto this! Thanks, Jenn!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Laboratory for a Fortressed World

Take a look at No Logo author Naomi Klein's trenchant thinking assessment of one aspect of our rather thoughtless contemporary world...

Laboratory for a Fortressed World
by Naomi Klein
[from the July 2, 2007 issue
of The Nation]
Gaza in the hands of Hamas, with masked militants sitting in the president's chair; the West Bank on the edge; Israeli army camps hastily assembled in the Golan Heights; a spy satellite over Iran and Syria; war with Hezbollah a hair trigger away; a scandal-plagued political class facing a total loss of public faith.
At a glance, things aren't going well for Israel. But here's a puzzle: Why, in the midst of such chaos and carnage, is the Israeli economy booming like it's 1999, with a roaring stock market and growth rates nearing China's?

It would indeed be nice to know a few more people are thinking as well ! Are you one ? Do you think ?

And here's a cartoon that says it all from Harpers's Magazine by Mr. Fish

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Needless to say, but I needed to tell you to look...

18 JOINT 2007
Avant la guerre totale!
(à Paris)
(camouflage, nez de clown, casque... et pétards bien chargés)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Just Another Day on Planet Earth...

Looking at the pictures accompanying the story on Hamas' coup in Gaza, I realized that satirical cartoons with the exact same content and images would provoke fundamentalist riots around the world and death threats to the cartoonists. Perhaps writers may also be threatened with death for pointing out this fact; but just look at the pictures of these "religious" people posing voluntarily for the camera and tell me how one could possibly "injure" their religious feelings (or, if so, why that would not be a good thing):
Hamas takes control of Gaza The Guardian Guardian Unlimited
Palestinian militants from Hamas stand at the desk of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, inside Abbas's personal office after it was taken over by Hamas infighting in Gaza City. Photograph: Hatem Moussa/AP.
And back to Europe:
Britain does not want the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Constitution...
Poland wants more weight in votes than it has in population...
(But doesn't want to contribute financially according to the same measure...)
The Netherlands just wants to be contrary, but is willing agree...
Angie of Germany wants any agreement whatsoever next week during her EU-Presidency, but she should not sacrifice essentials to expediency...
(Or just agree to let those who don't play in a lesser entity of Europe, while those abiding by, ratifying its constitution are full members committed to further integration.)
Poland and Great Britain could also just quit if they don't really want to be part of something bigger and greater than their little selves.
The Constitution would finally give Europe a basis for democratic control and social equality.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Justice Does Exist After All...

Judges Say U.S. Can’t Hold Man as ‘Combatant’
Published: June 12, 2007

A federal appeals court ruled that the president may not declare civilians in this country “enemy combatants” and have the military hold them indefinitely.
- The New York Times

Monday, June 11, 2007

Saudi prince 'received arms cash'

BBC NEWS Programmes: Panorama

Saudi prince 'received arms cash'
A Saudi prince who negotiated a £40bn arms deal between Britain and Saudi Arabia received secret payments for over a decade, a BBC probe has found.
The UK's biggest arms dealer, BAE Systems, paid hundreds of millions of pounds to the ex-Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar bin Sultan.
The payments were made with the full knowledge of the Ministry of Defence.
Prince Bandar would not comment on the investigation and BAE Systems said it acted lawfully at all times.
The MoD said information about the Al Yamamah deal was confidential.
"It is one thing for a company to have engaged in alleged corruption overseas. It is another thing if British government ministers have approved it."
Panorama will be broadcast on Monday 11 June 2007 2030 BST

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dry as a bone after 8Gs

And we can rest assured Sarkozy had only had water to drink during his talks with Putin behind the expensive playpen fence at the Baltic Sea ...

[Or: the bushbaby's not the only one the Russian potentate trumped at Angie's fest.]

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Reminder

Guantánamo is illegal, injust, and a disgrace for the United States.
Close it and raise charges against any inmates for whom that may be applicable and try them in a court of LAW. That would be "bringing them to justice".
Even the "military judges" created by the bushbaby playpen now rule against the very system they were appointed to act within, dismissing the charges raised there as groundless.

See, too, this correct editorial from the NYTimes: "Gitmo: A National Disgrace"

And meanwhile, they start their playpen session in the fenced off sanctuary on the Baltic coast without public opinion having any chance of approaching them.
Perhaps Angie or Sarko or the blairing lapdog or Proding or Putt-Putt or Chin-Chin will tell the bushbaby a thing or two
... about anything...
Even though taking advice from some of those sources on some of those topics, that bushbaby would be admitting how very little he knows about the subjects.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Even Military Judges Fault Playpen Procedures

The New York Times
International / Americas
Military Judges Dismiss Charges for 2 Detainees
Published: June 5, 2007

The rulings, the latest legal setbacks for the government’s effort to bring war crimes charges against detainees, could stall the military’s prosecutions at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Cold War Redux !?!

Between the bushbaby and pouting putin, we're on the way to a new nuclear arms race with fundamentalist terrorists waiting with bated breath for the goodies that, as a result, may well fall into their bloody hands. Anybody remember that we might should work together for enlightenment and human rights against the obscurantists ready to enslave us all?

Paix armée au G8
LE MONDE 04.06.07
L'équilibre de la terreur sera à l'ordre du jour du sommet du G8, les huit pays les plus industrialisés, qui se tient du mercredi 6 au vendredi 8 juin à Heiligendamm, en Allemagne. On se croirait revenu au temps de la division du monde en deux blocs antagonistes. Le projet américain consistant à installer des éléments d'un bouclier antimissile en Pologne et en République tchèque est à l'origine de cette tension.
© Le