when millions of people willingly watch this brainwashing TV-station every day (it’s a mash-up obviously)?
Watch the whole video, then sit back in your chair a minute and try and recall what the Republicans have called Ms. Clinton, Ms. Pelosi or Ms. Sotomayor. If you don’t recall, google it. Or use my new pet search engine Spezify. I was directed to the video from here – a link I found on Twitter, posted by @sharonKONE.
That censorship luckily becomes more and more difficult for the horrible regimes around the world is shown by this excellent article in the Washington Post.
For all the people out there who struggle to hear our voices and who struggle to make their own voices heard over the clatter of the propaganda machines and the short, short memory of the Western press, we really owe them to qualify the news we read/watch/hear and check our sources. We’re the ones who can!
It being Mother’s Day tomorrow, the Times has asked six women, mainly writers, to write a letter to their children at 21 (they all have young children) or to share the advice of their own mothers. Some of these letters are so, so beautiful. I didn’t just well up, I had to go and get a clean hanky out of the drawer. I like Sarah Vine’s and Justine Picardie‘s the best. Found on Tania Kindersley’s brand new blog.
The Times has also compiled a list of the most powerful Muslim women in Britain. An interesting read!
So, at 49, I’ve finally found a word that defines me: Geek Mum…
Olivia James writes a very poignant piece about Mother’s Day. Read it if you have a troubled relationship with your own mother!
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a weekly food column in the Guardian. If it wasn’t online I’d feel compelled to buy the paper every Saturday. Actually, I might do that anyway, the Weekend Guardian is a very good paper, lots of sustenance! Today it’s about flour. Also one of my pet causes. I buy almost all my flour freshly milled at the Farmers Market, not least the lovely spelt. It’s a totally different experience from the supermarket stuff. Hugh forgets to mention cornmeal – not the dreary stuff that you buy to thicken your gravy, but the real stuff. I use it in muffins, which then look beautiful and yellowish and as one of three types of flour in my sourdough bread.
1 kg fresh, plum tomatoes, chopped, seeds removed, save juices (key to recipe is the tomatoes actually tasting of something)
4 garlic cloves, crushed (I always dump them in boiling water for a bit to take the top of the “sting”)
Maldon sea salt (or similar) & freshly ground pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
4 tbs red wine vinegar
3 red peppers – grilled until black & skinned, then chopped
2 fresh chillies – not necessary
100 gr salted, large capers
100 gr salted anchovies (these can be ground to a paste and mixed with the dressing)
150 gr black, pitted olives
1 large bunch of basil
Cut the bread (preferably stale) into bite-sized chunks. Mix all “wet” ingredients and toss the bread chunks in this. Mix all ingredients. Don’t serve cold.
Also in the Guardian, Ben Goldacre again crucifies a number of journalists for their faulty and misleading interpretations of a scientific paper about prostate cancer.
I’ll never stop recommending TED. Probably the best source of ideas on the web. It never, never fails to inspire and to lift my spirits. Here’s about how to grow your own fresh air… What to do when you DO NOT have green fingers?
A lot of people are – as usual – angry with the new design of Facebook. Maybe I’m easy, but I’m fine with it… Here’s one who doesn’t like it, but makes a good joke of it.
Here are some very useful tips about how to customise the new Facebook. I’ve already done it – I have some FB friends whose updates are rather boring, to be frank. But I still want to keep them as friends. Done!
I don’t find any reason whatsoever to doubt this story about the GRU and the FSB in Russia using cyber “weapons” against Georgia in the war. But then I’m not a great fan of the Russian Leadership.
Oh yes, and as an Iphone owner I’m thrilled to bits by this. Can’t believe I forgot to write about it earlier!
An American soldier tells the moving story of when he accompanied a fallen soldier to his final resting place. Very touching and also enlightning. The Americans are good at honouring their fallen. Would be nice if they were as good – or even better – at honouring the wounded and crippled.
Here’s about the methods of torture applied by the CIA. You know, the ones sanctioned by John Yoo, as mentioned yesterday.
This sounds like a good plan. Geithner reveals how the US will deal with its toxic assets.
See, here’s what sets a respectable Republican apart from one you can’t respect. Please Sarah Palin, can’t you just go elk hunting forever?
How can this and this take place in the same country at the same time? It’s about the right to life on the one hand and the right to a dignified death on the other.
With a few exceptions, which are from my RSS reader, all of the above were harvested over 24 hours on Twitter. So don’t tell me twittering is a waste of time.
Somehow I’m always trailing behind a bit. Yesterday was the International Women’s Day and I didn’t do a single feminist thing all day. Generally, feminism is not a popular subject, as my friend Nanna (Danish) so rightly pointed out to me recently. When writing today on Facebook about doing nothing feminist I got a reply from a (male) friend which completely sums it up; he wrote: Feminism is dead. You won. This is the opinion of most modern men. Some of them have the experience close to home of a wife, who earns more and “runs the show”, others – most – just cite the high-powered women they know and emphasise how they both cook, empty the dishwasher and pick up the kids from school. Or whatever. But this is completely beside the point.
Women are still trailing behind men when it comes to same pay for same job
Women still do the bulk of the house work in 90% of all Western households and 100% of all non-Western households – yeah yeah, guestimates, but not wildly off the mark.
Men are still the majority everywhere important decisions are made.
It’s still women who tend to the huge majority of their children’s needs, 50 p for cake day, packed lunch with love, school clothes clean, ironed, ready for next day, swimming kit ready on a Tuesday, pictures printed for showing “My Holiday” at school. Etc. etc.
Women in the so-called Third World are most often treated like dirt. How much is this on the agenda, when the high-powered are discussing foreign policies?
Young women see a distorted picture of themselves in the media.
Young men get a sick introduction to sex, if that introduction comes from porn (which it depressingly often does).
Women in power very often have to endure endless comments on their appearance, before they even open their mouths.
And so on and so forth.
So don’t give me that cr… about women having won. Clearly some women have come out on top, but what about the unseen bulk of the iceberg? I’m not complaining about my personal life, most of my woes are self-inflicted and I’m determined to put the rest right too.
Today I read a blogpost from a Canadian writer/feminist, who uses Gladwell’s Outliers to make her point. I agree with her, that Gladwell’s book suffers from being only about men. But the important issue here is that a whole new group of Western women now have a unique opportunity to actually get somewhere if they work really hard (Gladwell’s 10,000 hours). The Internet offers us that opportunity, because we can do this at home, in between the myriad of tasks that many of us perform each day. Read the post. Her previous post also refers to Outliers, but from a different perspective. If you have a child, who’s youngest in class, read it. She mentions a few female outliers, but I’d like to mention one more: Carla Fiorina. When, to say the least, I disagree with her political views (she endorsed McCain – imagine what went through Fiorina’s head when he nominated Palin!!??), I do admire her. Do you remember her downfall? I remember wondering why so many male commentators felt the need to gloat so much? She has just undergone surgery for breast cancer. Fingers crossed.
I recently read this lovely book review. The book in question is Backwards in High Heels and, clearly, according to the reviewer, India Knight, whom I admire greatly, is nothing like the notions you get in your head when you see the title. I have it on my Amazon Wishlist and I WILL buy it, I just don’t have time to read it right now. You should see the look on my husband’s face when another packet arrives from Amazon. And he is right – I just have to attack the stacks at hand, before I start adding more to them!
But consider this quote from the review:
It’s one of those rare beasts that you want to earmark, scribble in and rush out and buy for all your girlfriends. It contains within its pages everything an intelligent woman might want to know about the nuances of every conceivable topic: big subjects, such as love, motherhood, feminism, politics, grief, ageing, as well as what stupid people often patronisingly refer to as the “shallower” stuff. Except, in this book, as in most women’s heads (to say nothing of their lives), the demarcation between the deep and the shallow is so slight as to be barely noticeable. This is a brilliant feat of realism that hasn’t been managed convincingly in print before: with this kind of how-to guide, the choice until now was either froufrou delight or slash-your-wrists gloomfest.
Isn’t this exactly the kind of book you want to read? I often wonder why it’s supposed to be so totally contradictory to read both the business- and finance pages AND the Culture- and Background pages of the paper, read serious fiction, be good at computer stuff AND take an interest in one’s appearance, read cook books, bake cupcakes? Nobody seem to think it’s strange when male top executives spend their weekends playing golf or watching football? Read a hilariously funny but yet acutely precise excerpt from the book here.
Christopher Hitchens with whom I agree on very little, but who’s intelligence I most certainly admire, has this column on Slate. The below quote is his finishing lines. Before that he argues very convincingly – read it yourself!
This is what the Republican Party has done to us this year: It has placed within reach of the Oval Office a woman who is a religious fanatic and a proud, boastful ignoramus. Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just “people of faith” but theocratic bullies. On Nov. 4, anyone who cares for the Constitution has a clear duty to repudiate this wickedness and stupidity.
I received a message on Facebook from my old friend Lone Skovgaard about the power of being FOR something rather than being AGAINST something else. It is a very relevant point. So let it be noted that I’m
FOR a raised standing for America in the world √
FOR less aggressive meddling in other countries’ affairs √
FOR every American’s right to basic medical treatment √
FOR a tightened access to weapons in the US √
FOR intelligence and compassion in the White House √
The Times yesterday (paper, not online) had a run-down of some of the Sarah Palin videos on the web. There’s the Saturday Night Live version of the VP debate. The “maverick-ing” is to die for.
Then there’s a “trailer” for the film “Don’t cry for me Alaska”. Actually, I don’t find it that funny, but judge for yourself. I think this one about John McCain’s age is better.
On Huffington Post (a liberal online news site) there’s a clip from a talkshow with Alec Baldwin. I really don’t like Alec Baldwin as an actor – I think he seriously lacks talent. But as an impersonator he does pretty well. See him wink and charm as Sarah Palin here. And if you didn’t see the debate and have doubts whether she’d really do that, look here. I saw the debate myself – she really did wink more than once. And for good measure you also get one of her many mavericks here.
Ever wonder about what a Maverick really is? Here’s the answer from m-w.com:
Samuel A. Maverick † 1870 American pioneer who did not brand his calves
1. an unbranded range animal ; especially: a motherless calf
2. an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party
Several of these links are called something with tinyurl.com. Ever wondered what that is? Well, it’s a kind of shortcut you can use, when you want to direct people to a website with a very long URL. Anybody can use it. See Wikipedia’s explanation here.
The issue stems from a remark the Illinois Democrat made in August 2007, in Nashua, New Hampshire. Speaking to supporters, the Senator called for an increase of U.S. troops in that war zone because, without the influx, operations were being limited to air raids that resulted in many preventable civilian deaths.
“Now you have narco drug lords who are helping to finance the Taliban,” Obama said, “so we’ve got to get the job done there [in Afghanistan], and that requires us to have enough troops that we are not just air raiding villages, and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there.”
Last night, before I settled down to watch the vice-presidential debate, I watched the first of a new series of programmes with Jamie Oliver. I don’t know if it’s become less trendy to like Jamie Oliver, but I actually like him more and more. His life could be easy – very easy. But he’s chosen to rant (his own expression) and thus to make enemies, because lots of people hate ranting. (I do a bit of ranting myself, so know what he’s talking about). He rants about food obviously. But his concern is a country where people have forgotten how to cook. They don’t know what real food tastes like and they certainly don’t know how to shop for it, prepare it, even eat it!
He visited a couple of single mums on welfare. One of them had her children eating out of Styrofoam boxes on the kitchen floor – who needs a dining table, when there are no real meals? – her 4-year old daughter had never tasted a home cooked meal in her life. Jamie took a look in her fridge. The vegetable drawers were filled to the brim with – chocolate bars! And there was not a trace of any vegetables, any fruit, any kind of real food in the house.
That’s what he’s determined to change. He wants all of us who can cook to take it upon us to teach other people to cook. He’s even put it into a system. Read about it on his Ministry of Food homepage.
I want to teach some people to cook. I want to take part in this. I’m often surprised at what people have – and maybe even more at what they have not – in their fridges and kitchen cupboards. And at what’s considered “a meal”. When Dane tells me what some of the other children have in their lunch boxes, I’m genuinely shocked. It’s cheese dippers, white sandwich bread with square slices of “ham”, so-called yoghurt (15-25% sugar), rarely fruit and certainly no veg.
I know it’s quite unlikely that any of my readers 1) can’t cook 2) want to learn 3) live near here. But – if that were the case, please drop me a line and we’ll set up a date for a cookery class with a nice meal at the tail end.
If you live far away or just can’t be bothered to have me as a teacher, but still want to improve your cooking skills, I can only once more recommend the excellent Videojug, where you can learn to cook a wide variety of lovely meals. Bring you laptop into the kitchen – and cook!
Btw. what kind of food do you think Sarah Palin cooks for her family?
Oh my, a lot of water under the bridge since my last post. It’s certainly a fast-moving world we live in! Reading it now I can see that my previous post could sound like I am like those “staunch Republicans” who weren’t in favour of any intervention at all. But I am, just didn’t like Paulson’s original plan. I still don’t love the plan, but then, who does? There was a great quote in the New York Times the other day from a Texan Republican. He said that voting for the plan would be voting yes to “the slippery slope to socialism”. HA! That’s so funny!
Early in the House debate, Jeb Hensarling, Republican of Texas, said he intended to vote against the package, which he said would put the nation on “the slippery slope to socialism.” He said that he was afraid that it ultimately would not work, leaving the taxpayers responsible for “the mother of all debt.”
Today the Congress has luckily come to their senses and they’ve voted yes. So maybe all the Wall Street hysterics can calm down a little and realise that our society can’t really function if we can’t borrow money from each other. I thought those guys coveted Capitalism! But it’s probably only when the money flows into their pockets. Isn’t it funny how the state is always supposed to bail out banks in trouble? Who’s ever heard of banks easing the terms or lowering the rent a little to help out the state in a pinch?
On a related subject a friend posted a great video on Facebook the other day – it’s Sarah Palin explaining the bailout plan. It’s hilariously funny. If you can decipher what she’s actually saying (or what she means for that matter), please post it in a comment. On Supreme Court decisions, here’s her first answer. And here’s her answer after a couple of days of intense rehearsals. Impressive. But is it coherent?
A kind person has made a 10 minute version of last night’s vice-presidential debate with extra emphasis on all the gaffes. See it here. We’ve recorded the whole thing and when I’ve finished this post, I’ll go watch it with my husband. Better than any movie! But – before we get carried away I’ve found a very useful site. About.com has apparently taken over Urban Legends. That doesn’t make the site any less great. I WARMLY recommend it whenever you hear something or read something that has a bit of a false ring to it – or if it’s just too good to be true. Anyway, they’ve collected all the stories floating around the web about Sarah Palin and tells us which ones are true and which ones aren’t.
And now I need to go sit in the sofa. I’m so full! Made pizza tonight and ate too much. Also made a nice carrot cake. Will I find room for it?
Sarah Palin is meeting how many? foreign leaders in 24 hours? I forget. And I suspect she will too. Very quickly.
How is it possible in a democracy to keep a candidate to such an important job away from the press? I do believe everybody would find it quite OK, if she doesn’t know the name of the president of Belgium or whatever. But in one of two interviews (one on one) she’s given, she didn’t know what the Bush Doctrine is? And I remember that her “boss” McCain named the German chancellor Vladimir Putin… How can the Americans choose to vote for her, when they haven’t even heard her answer some of the questions, which must surely be on their minds?
I’ve read a lot about the bailing out of banks and other financial institutions lately. It is very difficult to form an opinion! But I think I’m getting there and tomorrow I’ll let you in on my thoughts!
But now I’m off to the movies with a group of other women (neighbours) to see – The Women. It’s got horrible reviews and it looks more than a little silly. But I’m sure we’ll have a good laugh.
I was recently enlightened on a new blog on The Times’ page. It’s called Alpha Mummy and it’s full of good stuff. Some pretty clever writers who do a lot of reading, off line and online.
Here’s on the double standards women political candidates are subjected to. It’s the Tonight Show again. I’m afraid I find him very, very funny. He must have some fantastic researches to always find just that clipping that gives his current victim away. And the fact that he always lets them give themselves away. He just sits there, leering…
And here’s an article written by an American Republican woman in The Times, which more or less answers the question I asked a couple of days ago. What are the not-so-religious etc. Republicans going to vote now? The sad answer probably is: They are not. Since they can’t bring themselves to vote for Mr. Obama, they’ll just stay home and do nothing. And if McCain/Palin win, they can sit on their high horses and say that they didn’t vote for them. No, but they didn’t vote against them either.
On the day – may it never come – when Mrs. Palin is president of the United States and wreaks havoc of all the remaining things we love about America, what will these people say in their defense?
The Sunday Times is unbeatable. There is no better Sunday paper – at least not of all the English, Swedish and Danish language newspapers I’ve tried over the years. It’s conservative, it’s snobbish, it’s eh, for want of better word, British… But it’s wonderful! We timed it today – a very lazy day indeed. We’ve been reading for six hours! On a daily basis I prefer the Independent and sometimes the Guardian. But not on a Sunday.
One of the great things about it is one of it’s most high-profile writers, AA Gill. He writes in a style all of his own in an English so flamboyant, so flowery, so vibrant, so vitriolic! And on Wikipedia I just read that the man is so dyslectic that he literally can’t write, he dictates all of his articles and books to a copywriter. He does features, travel writing and restaurant reviews. I found an interview with him on the American food-buff site Chow. I certainly don’t agree with him on everything, but I like to have my views challenged (occasionally…).
Today he writes on the subject on – yes again – the American election. The article is hilariously funny – at least if you’re no great fan of McCain & Palin. About Minnesota, where the GOP convention is held:
This is where the Swedes and Norwegians came to try to whittle Scandinavia out of the hem of Canada. Back home they grew to be the most liberal nations in the world. Here they grew silent and maudlin. There’s a Minnesotan joke – only the one. It goes like this: there was an old Norwegian man who loved his wife so much he almost told her. That was so funny I almost laughed.”
About the choice of Palin:
“Depending on how fundamentally hard right you are, Palin is either a godsend who speaks to the experience of ordinary small-town large-breasted American women and sticks two fingers in the eyes of the coastal latte liberals. Or she’s a hideously embarrassing mistake that will swamp the election in underclass redneck sexual incontinence and that everything is about damage limitation and trying not to think about what would happen if president McCain died and this was the first family. Not so much from igloo to White House as igloo to White Trailer.”
Isn’t he wonderfully vicious? (The article, Redneck Regina, is not yet available online, but I suspect that it will be made available in a few days time.)
Anyway, we discussed this at length at a dinner party last night. Most people around the table had friends, business relations or family or all three in America and several of them known Republicans. But none of them from the religious right. How are they going to vote??? McCain is 72 and looks even older, his health isn’t that good, he’s had several so-called cancer scares and has the five years in Hanoi Hilton in his baggage. And the job as president is rather demanding, isn’t it? You can’t really take a day off? So, this woman will only be the famous heartbeat away from the presidency. Are the not-so-religious, pro-choice, non-members of the NRA, polar bear-friendly Republicans just going to cross their fingers, close their eyes and vote for McCain anyway? Or what?
I’ve got friends and family of the Republican persuasion. And I know some of them occasionally read my blog. If you do, then please enlighten us Europeans on your thoughts upon the matter. We really want to hear!
Inspired by the renewed debate about abortion, Slate has a really good article about the statistics surrounding this. And the history of the debate. The Republicans are talking about challenging Roe vs. Wade, the historical Supreme Court case about the right to abortion. I’m sad to see though, that the far right has succeeded in planting the term Pro-Life (like they also planted the term Political Correctness), so that even liberal Slate uses it. They are NOT Pro-Life. They are Anti-Abortion. It is NOT the same thing in my opinion.
In yesterday’s Guardian there was a good, although sad article about how the number of women in the highest positions in society is dwindling fast. There are good insights and some stabs at an explanation. The super famous and wildly successful businessman Sir Alan Sugar is quoted:
“he said that as an employer he would like to be able to ask women at interview “Are you planning to get married and have any children?”, adding that the fact that this was legally prohibited gave businesses an easy option: “Just don’t employ them.” “
Is this sad or what?
I wrote recently about intellectual property and copyright. The record industry always claims that it’s doing for the artists. That’s such a joke! And I feel sorry for the artists who believe it. Here’s a story from Boing Boing about how prolonged copyright in Europe benefits – yeah well, who do you think. Clue: it’s not the artists.
On happiness, this time the Danes’. Again. The article is written by a Brit living in Denmark. And so, why are Danes the happiest people on the planet? Because we have such low expectations to life! Take that. Link found on New York Times’ Idea blog.
Here’s a commercial from the Obama camp, which might do the trick. Isn’t it great that Mr. McCain has actually been filmed while bragging about voting 90% of the time with Mr. Bush (or W. as the American media love to call him)! Ezra Klein had it.
That American politics really are different from politics anywhere else is no news. Here’s an article from Politico about “the Jewish Problem” (not that Jewish problem, the Republicans’ Jewish problem). And why is that interesting? Well, it’s interesting because it – from one corner of this huge arena of stuff that’s not politics – shows why real politics are so relatively unimportant in the US presidential elections.
Ezra Klein is at the Republican Convention (also called the GOP convention, GOP being short for Grand Old Party!!!) and reports from all the speeches. He tells us that the theme of Mr. McCain having spent five years in the Hanoi Hilton isn’t exactly being played down. And that several of the speakers seem to think that having endured torture will make Mr. McCain a better leader. And he quotes this freezing comment from one of his readers:
So torture builds character that leads to leadership.
I can only imagine the sign above Gitmo:
“Welcome future world leaders”
Ezra Klein also points to the front page of US Weekly.
I wrote the other day about Mrs. Palin’s Wikipedia entry probably undergoing changes as I was writing. I was more on the spot there than I’d ever suspected. See this bit from Boing Boing and follow the links.
From next week I’ll be following a course at Uni called “Source Reliability”. A brief look at the reading list shows that there’s a lot about the debacle between Wikipedia and Encyclopedia Brittanica. Or rather – between Nature and Encyclopedia Brittanica. Since I haven’t read the articles yet, I don’t know what my teachers are trying to prove. But I have previously followed some of this debate and what I’ve learned is this: I used to blindly trust information found in sources like E.B. or the like – but Nature‘s examination of some of the entries in E.B. showed that they are as flawed as the people who wrote them. And aren’t we all flawed? So – I love Wikipedia because when I read an article there, I don’t trust it like it was the Truth – depending on the character of the subject matter, I check and re-check the information. When checking on which king came before Henry VIII or the name of a card game or the specifics of a plant, I happily use Wikipedia and only that. When checking political matters as the aforementioned Mrs. Palin, I’d be dumb if I relied only on the information on Wikipedia – or anywhere else for that matter.
No matter how many articles I read about the flaws in Wikipedia, it is still a fact that there were never before ONE easily and readily accessible place where you could find so much information and so many links for further reading about every conceivable subject.
Btw – the picture of Mr. Obama on my previous post and the picture of Mrs. Palin above are both from the excellent community site Picapp.com. It contains pictures free of copyright and can be used and downloaded by anyone. Legally.