Saturday, June 28, 2008

CSD in Berlin 2008

Another June comes to an end and Berlin put on another outrageous CSD parade, festival, demonstration, as these few photos will attest.The 30th Berlin CSD. Included are also some shots of the newly finished and inaugurated official memorial of the German Federal Government to the homosexuals persecuted and murdered by the Nazis in the Third Reich. It stands diagonally across the street from the massive memorial to the Nazi-murdered Jews of Europe and continues its motif,

though as a single stone with a window onto a scene of two men kissing at that very spot in the park where the
memorial is located, a favorite gathering point at the time the Nazis were hunting homosexuals. Just down the street is the new highly secured US Embassy, just opened for business and to be inaugurated on July 4 in private followed by a public party (outside on the public square) the next day, and which witnessed the parade of gays and lesbians passing by today, a reminder of what the US can stand for that's good and a hope that it will again in the future.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pulp Fiction Becomes Reality

The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that YOU have an individual right to have a handgun; that the millionaire's campaign funding law is unconstitutional; that Guantánamo captives have the right to habeas corpus, and this video draws the proper conclusion.

As the title of this post denotes, when reality emerges from Pulp Fiction, perhaps there is hope after all.

And what if the German team loses to Spain in the European Soccer Cup Sunday evening? But then the city of Berlin will celebrate second place for its team just as it did two years ago when they lost the World Cup and it will be as outrageous at the Brandenburg Gate as any victory celebration elsewhere. Many Germans would go into mourning, however, because they take soccer VERRRRRY seriously. Then again, Spain may lose, Catalonia may gain full autonomy, and Madrid can wear black.

Monday, June 23, 2008


The Berlin mom went into the hospital AND got sent home today - freed - WITHOUT having to undergo a sixth round of chemo. Everything is apparently OK (lab work, sonograms, etc.), as she learned from all the tests and doctors talks they made her spend the day there for. That wracked her nerves so much we had to remind her to cheer for getting through the whole business!
She doesn't even have to go in for blood counts, just for a check-up in three weeks or so. She's emerging from the treatment back into the normal world and feels just fine, doesn't have any intention of taking them up on the rehabilitation program she could have to "get back on her feet", since, as she puts it, "I'm already doing everything I ever did or want to do. I want to be at home without having to go anywhere."
Congratulations on having successfully dealt with 7 months of nearly non-stop treatment of a very severe condition. Operation, radiation, chemotherapy - all finished and we're assuming the Berlin Mom is as fit as the fiddle she sounds like!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Matter of Perception

If it is a matter of perception whether torture is torture or is not torture, then perception is now rather similar to the view of the world that dreamed up the test witches were subjected to in Salem and environs in the 17th Century. If they survived the drowning, burning, or whatever other lethal method was used, it proved they were a witch and they had to be killed. If they died, well oops, the accusers were wrong. You can see such a graveyard in Boston, quite near Bunker Hill in fact.
Shame is what the playpen has brought to America while claiming to bring it security. Security has not been increased, but normal people are being spied on everywhere as one country after another follows the US lead and curtails human rights and freedom of speech (and I don't just mean China).
And the bad guys are aware that Americans torture and are no longer prepared to pull any punches! (And besides, is a suicide bomber afraid of water-boarding?)

- The New York Times
Notes Show Confusion on Interrogation Methods
By MARK MAZZETTI and SCOTT SHANE, Published: June 18, 2008
When military officers at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, struggled in the fall of 2002 to find ways to get terrorism suspects to talk, they turned to the one agency that had spent several months experimenting with the limits of physical and psychological pressure: the Central Intelligence Agency.
They took the top lawyer for the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorist Center to Guantánamo, where he explained that the definition of illegal torture was “written vaguely.”
“It is basically subject to perception,” said the lawyer, Jonathan M. Fredman, according to meeting minutes released Tuesday at a Senate hearing. “If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong.”

A rose is a rose is a rose, and torture by any other name smells just as rotten.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wait, and then wait some more...

Monday, the Berlin mom was told her leucocytes weren't yet up enough for her to begin her last round of chemo. She had to wait till today. Today they still weren't up enough, so she now has to wait till next Monday, and if they aren't up enough then, they will have to forget the last round, because more than five weeks from start to start is not allowed. Her doctor in the hospital today told her maybe she simply won't need the last round, since the chemo obviously has such a long effect on her.
So we tried to encourage her to hope they'll tell her Monday that she's finished without having to start again, but she's quite down in the dumps about the wait, rather fears they will start on Monday after all, and her whole planning for the month will be down the drain, because she wanted to go to cat-sit for her other son and his wife while they're on vacation beginning on the 28th. If she has to have the final round, she will just then be getting out.
So lets hope the doctors just give her a dispensation and let her concentrate on getting her system back up to full steam once and for all. The chemo has obviously already been successful, though she, as she says, doesn't understand any of that.
All she knows is, she feels fine and wants to have control of her own life again - fully.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

5. Atelier- und Gartenfest im Atelier von Erich Paproth

5th Studio and Garden Party in Erich Paproth's Berlin Village
Samstag, den 14. Juni 2008 ab 16 Uhr
Yesterday, 14 June 2008 from 4pm on

Es zeigen ihre Arbeiten und werden persönlich anwesend sein:
Artists showing their works and present for the garden party:

Kerstin Grimm, Berlin,
Skulpturen aus der Serie „Stunde der Dämonen“ (2007/8)
Sculptures from her series "The Hour of the Demons" (07/08)

Lucía Peinado Metsch, Berlin
„Quijoterie-Quijotada“ (2008)
Linoldruck in 48 Blättern: Präsentation zur Abschlussarbeit an der Kunsthochschule Weissensee
48 sheets linoprint, presentation for diploma project at Weißensee College of Art

Martina Büttner, Malakoff bei Paris
Arbeiten auf Papier: „Freche Frösche und andere Gestalten“
Works on paper: "Fresh Frogs and Other Creatures"

Erich Paproth, Berlin
neue Arbeiten auf Leinwand
New works on canvas

Um ca. 20:00 Uhr liest
Reading at app. 8pm by
Bettina Rolfes, Hamburg,
Prosa und Lyrik unter dem Thema „Bunte Worte“
Prose and poetry on the theme "colorful words"

And here are some more photographic impressions of a very pleasant and often amusing afternoon and evening.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Clever !

I thought this meant something the first time I saw it, even if you can only see the one party known to me and the other one known only to her from behind. They are clearly holding hands while walking on the street at night! Is this interesting to my sister perhaps? Or to my nephew (of whom perhaps some uniform shots my soon appear here)?
Thanks and credit to Darth Rachel, who took the photo in Barcelona and flickered it under this link.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Supreme Court Justly Slaps the Bushbaby and his Playpen!

The New York Times

Justices Rule Terror Suspects Can Appeal in Civilian Courts
By DAVID STOUT / Published: June 13, 2008
The Supreme Court rejected the Bush administration’s argument that the Guantánamo Bay detainees had adequate protections under a 2005 law.

And here is a link to the full text of the Supreme Court decision:
Boumediene v. Bush

Gore Vidal’s Article of Impeachment

Truthdig - Reports - Gore Vidal’s Article of Impeachment:

I wish to draw the attention of the blog world to Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s articles of impeachment presented to the House in order that two faithless public servants be removed from office for crimes against the American people. As I listened to Rep. Kucinich invoke the great engine of impeachment—he listed some 35 crimes by these two faithless officials—we heard, like great bells tolling, the voice of the Constitution itself speak out ringingly against those who had tried to destroy it.

And I would like to express my deep respect for both Mr. Kucinich and Mr. Vidal ! It is good that some are thinking about and voicing dismay at the crimes of the playpen. The two faithless officials Gore Vidal is here referring to are of course the sitting President and Vice-President of the United States. They are those two renegades here always called the bushbaby and the chainy one.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Waiting Another Week...

The Berlin mom, with platelet counts of only 18 yesterday when we visited and lunched with her on "süß-saure Eier" in which she forgot to put the vinegar and sugar in the sauce that gives the dish its name and then added it at the table, nonetheless went off to the hospital this morning with her bag packed in hopes they would begin her final round of chemo. It was rather clear they wouldn't, with such low counts, the same reason she had to wait out a week the last time.
Well, she phoned from back home to say she should have listened to us and not taken the bag, that her counts were up to 40 (they want 100 before a new round), and they had sent her home to wait until a week from today to return and begin that last round but that she needn't go in for lab work anymore till then.
She could laugh, though she was irritated about the delay, agreed that the pitichiae are a sign since the doctor confirmed that today, and that she has no choice but to wait. Asked what she planned to do with the unexpected free week she had been given, she said she'd have to think of something, and hopes that it won't take long after she finishes Friday week before she doesn't have to deal with any of the side effects at all anymore.
Patience, thy name is a patient!

„radiomultikulti“ muss bleiben!!!

Wir verurteilen den Beschluss des rbb, den Sendebetrieb „radiomultikulti“ zum 01.01.2009 einzustellen, auf das Schärfste und fordern dessen sofortige Rücknahme! Lassen Sie rbb wissen, daß auch Sie gegen die Einstellung sind!

Das Programm und die 21 verschiedenen Sprachen des Radiosenders radiomultikulti spiegeln die Vielfalt der Berliner Gesellschaft wider. Radiomultikulti hat sich - auch überregional - als DIE mediale Integrationsstimme etabliert. Der Sender zeichnet mit seinem vielfältigen Programm ein ausgewogenes Bild der Lebenswirklichkeit von Migrantinnen und Migranten im Einwanderungsland Deutschland. Er leistet einen signifikanten Beitrag für eine aktive Partizipation. Die Entscheidung des rbb stellt die Glaubwürdigkeit des Nationalen Integrationsplans (NIP) in Frage, an dem die öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten maßgeblich mitgewirkt haben. Auch die Migrantinnen und Migranten tragen zur Finanzierung der öffentlichen Medienanstalten bei. Sie würden durch die Schließung von radiomultikulti faktisch institutionell diskriminiert werden. Wir fordern den rbb nachdrücklich auf, seine Entscheidung rückgängig zu machen. Ferner werden alle politischen Entscheidungsträger aufgefordert, auf eine Rücknahme der skandalösen Schließungsentscheidung des rbb hinzuwirken.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Γермано Российский Фестиваль

Deutsch Russische Festtage in Berlin Karlshorst from June 6-8...
First, on the evening of the first day of the three-day German Russian Festival, we ate pelmeni and bliny and drank kwas, and took no pictures of that. Then it was on to the really rather sensational program of this second annual festival, which the organizers hope to establish permanently, a good idea considering the long on-going German American and German French festivals every year here. And of these acts, we snapped a few photos, slide show below.
First, Iweria, a youth dance group from the Olympic city Sotchi, with traditional Russian dances.
Then Ludmila Nikolaeva and Russkaya Dusha (Russian Soul) from Moscow with traditional to pop Russian music accompanied by another dance group. She was really good, as the youtube insert gives a hint of, despite the video having poor sound, as made with our digicam. (And here, therefore, a link to a Russian TV broadcast of one of her songs when she won their folk music award in 2005.)

Finally, Die Prinzen, one of Germany's most successful pop groups with a full act of their irreverent harmonic songs. Their encore led into the spectacular firework show to close out the evening. And here a link to some of Die Prinzen songs from youtube: "Deutschland"; "Millionär"; and "Schwein Sein"!
And we had front row seats in the grandstands at the former racetrack in Karlshorst where the whole thing took place. You can experience most of the world right here in Berlin.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Playpen Playing Poker ...

How many more dirty tricks will the bushbaby try to pull off (with approving nods from Johnny McCaney in the wings) before he's finally ridden out of town?
The Iraq war was foisted onto Americans and the world for reasons other than those presented to Congress, citizens, the UN, and the world, or for reasons of profit for large corporations, or for no reason at all. In other words, this ongoing war was based on LIES:

The New York Times
Editiorial June 6, 2008
The Truth About the War
A new report shows clearly that President Bush should have known that important claims he made about Iraq did not conform with intelligence reports.

Guantánamo is precisely the kind of crime the bushbaby claims those imprisoned there have committed: an attack on western democracy, justice, and freedom. It is a crime with which the bushbaby will always be identified, and a crime that the next president must speedily act to remedy. CLOSE GUANTÁNAMO and release those held there or try them in normal courts under normal judicial procedures.

Edito du Monde
Guantanamo, hélas !
LE MONDE 06.06.08 13h38
La base militaire de Guantanamo restera donc, jusqu'au bout, le symbole accablant de la présidence de George Bush. Ce camp-prison résume tous les égarements auxquels la "guerre contre le terrorisme" a conduit l'Amérique depuis les attentats du 11 septembre 2001. L'ouverture du procès des cinq premiers détenus accusés d'avoir fomenté ces attentats et d'y avoir participé en apporte une nouvelle démonstration.
Les candidats à l'élection présidentielle américaine, Barack Obama et John McCain, ont tous les deux exprimé le souhait de voir fermer le camp de Guantanamo. Le prochain occupant de la Maison Blanche honorerait son pays si sa première décision politique consistait à mettre en oeuvre cette volonté et à renoncer aux tribunaux d'exception. La démocratie ne peut combattre la barbarie en renonçant au droit.

And now, the playpen is also trying to place Iraq under more or less permanent military and entrepreneurial tutelage, making it impossible for a successor to withdraw from that quagmire, and also making nationalist rebellion, if not provincial secession, likely there.
The Independent
Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control
Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors
By Patrick CockburnThursday, 5 June 2008
A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.
The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.
But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.
The US is adamantly against the new security agreement being put to a referendum in Iraq, suspecting that it would be voted down. The influential Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called on his followers to demonstrate every Friday against the impending agreement on the grounds that it compromises Iraqi independence.
The Iraqi government wants to delay the actual signing of the agreement but the office of Vice-President Dick Cheney has been trying to force it through. The US ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, has spent weeks trying to secure the accord.
The signature of a security agreement, and a parallel deal providing a legal basis for keeping US troops in Iraq, is unlikely to be accepted by most Iraqis. But the Kurds, who make up a fifth of the population, will probably favour a continuing American presence, as will Sunni Arab political leaders who want US forces to dilute the power of the Shia. The Sunni Arab community, which has broadly supported a guerrilla war against US occupation, is likely to be split.

And as a former Iraqi minister sees it, in a column also from The Independent:
Ali Allawi: This raises huge questions over our independence
Thursday, 5 June 2008
It is only now that Iraqis have woken up to the possibility that Iraq might be a signatory on a long-term security treaty with the US, as a price for regaining its full sovereignty. Iraqis must know its details and implications. How would such an alliance constrain Iraq's freedom in choosing its commercial, military and political partners? Will Iraq be obliged to openly or covertly support all of America's policies in the Middle East? These are issues of a vital nature that cannot be brushed aside with the Iraqi government's platitudes about "protecting Iraqi interests". A treaty of such singular significance to Iraq cannot be rammed through with less than a few weeks of debate. Otherwise, the proposed strategic alliance will most certainly be a divisive element in Iraqi politics. It will have the same disastrous effect as the treaty with Britain nearly eighty years ago.

Send the entire playpen to Crawford and lock them in: bushbaby, condy ricey, chainy, and the entire gang!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Squeezing a Vacation Trip In

Just firmed up our bookings: After Jenn comes for a concert and Terri spends a week here with us, we're taking off the next evening for a week in Cork (Ireland). Details as it nears, but we were lucky to get a week planned at all this year! The Emerald Island!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Fahrradsternfahrt / Bikes from all directions

A bike demonstration from everywhere on the edge to the center of town. Masses involved, and afterwards lunch at Andy's where you can't tell in and out for utter modernity.