Thursday, July 30, 2009

And now for a little culture . . .

Music and thoughts on theater, from Paris, with thanks to and praise for Le Salon du Théâtre et de l'édition théâtrale and Foire-Saint-Germain 2009:

Un obus dans le coeur de Wajdi Mouawad...
Video sent by Cid-Errant

Lecture dirigée par François Leclère, metteur en scène et directeur du Salon du Théâtre et de l'édition théâtrale. Périphériques du Salon 2009... Avec Julie Recoing et Céline Carrère.

Irie Maffia en concert sur le parvis de l'Odéon...
Uploaded by Cid-Errant. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Get Real, Get Modern, Pass Health Insurance for All !

Come on, America! Health insurance for everyone is NOT communist, not even socialist; it is merely a gesture of humane concern for one's fellow man, something practiced in one form or another in nearly all civilized western countries, whatever the variety of their capitalism, for approximately one and a half centuries! (And for the R-people among you, you can think of it this way: sick workers cannot work for you, sick consumers cannot purchase from you, and people with no money left after trying to bear medical bills will not be able even to care about you.)

Health-care Reform and Congress : The New Yorker:

"In other free countries, legislation, social and otherwise, gets made in a fairly straightforward manner. There is an election, in which the voters, having paid attention to the issues for six weeks or so, choose a government. The governing party or coalition then enacts its program, and the voters get a chance to render a verdict on it the next time they go to the polls. Through one
or another variation of this process, the people of every other wealthy democracy on earth have obtained for themselves some form of guaranteed health insurance or universal health care."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Reading and Preparing

Uwe Johnson's Das dritte Buch über Achim, halfway through...
E.A.Poe's Selected Tales, intermittently one or two, more than half (re)finished...
Bernard Sichère's L'Être et le Divin, just received and completed the introduction...
Pierre Guyotat's Progénitures, pending and CD for listening...
Claude Lanzmann's Le Lièvre de Patagonie, pending...

And preparing for Koko's house guest to arrive on Wednesday to spend almost a month with us while his folks are on vacation. His name is Pedro, and once the two of them are here together, the volume of intriguing babble in our apartment should increase noticeably without us contributing to it at all.
There will be pictures, perhaps even a short sound-film of the goings-on.

Elsewhere, my nephew is preparing for his wedding before shipping out to Japan. Good luck, Christopher, and keep watching for news about yourself and everyone else you know or don't.

Sunday postings are bizarre, and there's so much to do in the week these days that there otherwise seems to be no time!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

For dictator's everywhere, in support of yesterday' demonstrators in Teheran...


(This applies to IRAN, CHINA, WHITE RUSSIA, and all those others who think the people in their countries are merely a nuisance to be controlled. And it thus applies to many who fortunately do not have power in our own countries but would like to get it to exercise that same sort of control.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

How to Mess Up a Good Transit System !

Well, just do as the S-Bahn has managed in Berlin...

  • reduce personnel
  • close workshops
  • ignore maintenance
  • "overlook" inspections
  • funnel profits out and up to the parent company

Then you can end up with what we've had here for the last couple of weeks: service reduction of 33% +

  • cancelled routes
  • overfilled trains
  • baffled commuters
  • great PR

Finally, you can mess around until the safety board grounds another major portion of your rolling stock due to your failure to conduct inspections and required wheel &/or axle replacement by the deadline. Then you can create the absolute chaos that will begin here this coming Monday:

  • 66% + reduction in service from normal!
  • no traffic on the essential east-west axis between Zoo Station and Ostbahnhof
  • NO S-BAHN SERVICE for our new shiny modern Main Station
  • NO S-BAHN SERVICE for Schönefeld Airport
  • hardly any service to outlying areas
  • short trains and reduced service where anything's running at all
  • the greatest lapse in S-Bahn commuter train service in Berlin since the devastation of World War II
  • Less east-west train service than during the period in which the Wall divided Berlin until 20 years ago

And you can claim subscribers will get a free month's service, once it's all fixed again (which may be by December!)

And you can refrain from posting ANY INFORMATION in the stations or offering commuters any printed material about what and how and when trains will run in the coming days. Your PR magazine goes on with life-is-a-dream as usual. Even the online route planner doesn't take these enormous reductions into account!

How about some old steam locomotives to pull some cattle cars into the S-Bahn stations? They might not look so pretty, but these days Berlin commuters would be happy to have something that rolls in and out of the station show up!






And let's just hope this is considered by tourists simply as another of those quaint things about Berlin which they have no hope of understanding anyway !

To see how little information non-German speaking tourists can hope for from this part of Berlin's transit system, follow this link to the English version of the S-Bahn's site. If you aren't convinced by their own statement of the paucity of information offered, click the little German flag to see all the warnings about no trains there, although this site also offers the Berliners very little overview. You sort of have to know yourself what would normally run and what isn't running now and what won't be running as of Monday.

So enjoy a commuting adventure! Book a stay in Berlin today!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Courtyard Art Party in Berlin Weißensee

We are quite cultural here...

Chaingang's Historical Contribution...

Cheney Is Linked to Concealment of C.I.A. Project -

The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday. [...]
The law requires the president to make sure the intelligence committees “are kept fully and currently informed of the intelligence activities of the United States, including any significant anticipated intelligence activity.” But the language of the statute, the amended National Security Act of 1947, leaves some leeway for judgment, saying such briefings should be done “to the extent consistent with due regard for the protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.”
In addition, for covert action programs, a particularly secret category in which the role of the United States is hidden, the law says that briefings can be limited to the so-called Gang of Eight, consisting of the Republican and Democratic leaders of both houses of Congress and of their intelligence committees. [...]
In the eight years of his vice presidency, Mr. Cheney was the Bush administration’s most vehement defender of the secrecy of government activities, particularly in the intelligence arena. He went to the Supreme Court to keep secret the advisers to his task force on energy, and won.

Sadly I must say that I am not in the least suprised. It would better serve the interests of the US in particular and of democracy and justice in general if all these matters were finally handled in court for assessment of responsibility, wrong-doing, guilt, and necessary punishment. Substantial action must be taken to ensure that such is never again possible in a "free and democratic" country with "justice for all".

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Better Leadership !

July 4th has come and gone, le 14 juillet is just around the corner, elections in Germany are pending in September, and in Europe, the presidency of the European Commission is up for consideration in the European Parliament. The incumbent, Mr. Barroso, does NOT have a good record, in economic, environmental, or human rights matters. The conservatives are pushing for him, but there is NO majority in parliament for their side. At least the European Green Fraction is calling for a common opposition candidate for this important position.
Check this link for more info, in German, English, or French!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wake Up the Military!

Now they have decided to dismiss Lt. Choi for admitting that he's gay!
Congress MUST finally take action to repeal the inane and discriminatory "Don't ask, don't tell" regulation. Sex and love have nothing to do with military competence or incompetence. In fact, denial of feelings may indeed be one of the greatest security risks the military could face within its own ranks.

Here, a link to the campaign, text of the letter quote below, to urge Pelosi to begin action by July 4!

Lt. Dan Choi is being fired from the military for refusing to lie about who he loves
Help him keep fighting by signing this letter to Speaker Pelosi asking her to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi:
We, the undersigned, urge you to make "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" a priority and publicly support the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (HR 1283) -- legislation that would repeal DADT and replace it with a policy of nondiscrimination.
Lt. Dan Choi, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, an Iraq War veteran, Arabic translator and California native, is a capable soldier and leader who could continue to play a vital role in this time of war. His firing is a symbol of all that is wrong with this policy.
Both the Senate Majority Leader and President Obama have spoken publicly about the need to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Speaker Pelosi -- your voice and your leadership is needed at this crucial time.
We call on you to make the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" a priority in Congress. We cannot afford to lose any more talented soldiers critical to our national security.

Visit the site and sign the petition letter. The curtailment of your own rights is never far away if the rights of others are limited or abridged!