EuroSavant heads east, into Internet-café-only Internet access and thus doubtful posting. But I’m back just in time for the aftermath of Election Day.
Archive for October, 2004
What is it with Pennsylvania? It truly must be the “swing state” conventional wisdom describes it as being since, in addition to the on-the-scene report for the Netherland’s leading general daily that I covered in my last entry, now Caroline König of the prestigious German commentary newspaper Die Zeit has bee-lined to the Keystone State to report on the pre-election atmosphere there (The Battlefield). Apparently it’s quite frenetic. (more…)
There is really a culture gap opening up along the fault-line of the Atlantic, but this is nothing you haven’t probably heard of already. Naturally I speak here with particular regard to the big climax, the big watershed which is coming up in ten days, the 2004 presidential election. Again, it’s exceedingly likely that you’ve heard in one form or another that John Kerry is a massively more-popular choice than George W. Bush to be US President from 2005 to 2009. (You’ll need to subscribe to or otherwise comply with the wishes of Salon.com if you want to click that link to read renowned foreign correspondent Mark Hertsgaard’s on-line exposition on that topic.)
People over here really find it mystifying why anyone would even consider voting for Bush. So the US correspondent for the Dutch NRC Handelsblad, Marc Chavannes, gamely sets out to perform a little public service for the folks back home and investigate this phenomenon. His research takes him to a recent personal presidential campaign appearance in Chocolate Town, formally known as Hershey, Pennsylvania. (Bush Stands For What I Believe – free registration to the on-line NRC Handelsblad required. By the way, for any of those who might be interested, Chavannes also maintains an NRC-sponsored Dutch-language weblog on the presidential campaign.) (more…)
Uh oh: looks like some funny business with the counting of the ballots. And don’t you find it a little suspicious that all the local election officials, the ones in charge of recording and counting the votes, are all professed partisans of the incumbent?
Yes folks, it’s the old bait-and-switch tactic again. All of this has truly been going on, but not (yet?) in Florida. I’m referring here instead to the recent “elections” in Belarus, commonly known as “Europe’s last dictatorship,” where to no one’s great surprise President Alexander Lukashenko managed to get passed the amendment to the Belarussian constitution that allows him to keep on running for re-election as long as he is physically able.
The key, of course, is that now that the Belarussian constitution allows him to run, it’s overwhelmingly likely that he will always win. This is not due to any special place Lukashenko occupies in the hearts of his countrymen, but rather to his efficiency in finding ways to win, irrespective of what may be the voters’ preferences. Johnni Michelsen of the Danish commentary newspaper Information managed to infiltrate the country to observe the Belarussian election process himself and send back a report: Chaotic Election Day in Belarus. (more…)
The fourth and last of the debates of the 2004 presidential campaign has now come and gone. For the most part European newspapers have successfully dealt with the fact that, just like the other three, this debate actually took place from 2:00 AM to 3:30 AM their time, so that newspaper reports are popping up together with even the occasional analytical treatment already.
The Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung is among those already featuring some of that analysis, or Kommentar, and I think it is worthwhile to turn to that. (more…)
I’m sitting here reading the German on-line press, preparing my review of one paper’s treatment of the last Bush-Kerry debate (including quite a novel twist; I think you’ll be amused after a little while, when that weblog entry appears right above this one). But I feel moved in the meantime to let you know what I’m listening to on the Internet at the same time, namely Rosenkjærsprisen 2003 (4) on the first Danish public radio station, P1. As the P1 website explains, the “Rosenkjær Prize” is a 25,000 Danish kroner award (= €3.380) given each year by Danish Public Radio to a leading academic or cultural figure who is distinguished by his or her ability to explain complicated material in language (Danish language, that is) that the common man can understand. In exchange for the money, and the honor, that figure assumes the obligation to in fact deliver a series of lectures on his/her subject of expertise, on the public P1 radio channel of course.
What that means tonight is that I am sitting here listening on the Internet radio to an old man going on and on, talking at length in Danish with a voice that fortunately does exhibit some pretty good modulation. Except that this old man is last year’s Rosenkjær Prize-winner, historian Søren Mørch, delivering a lecture entitled The World As It Is that is basically a treatment of 20th-century cultural history. (That “(4)” in the program title means that tonight’s presentation is the fourth over-all, in a series of six. The P1 website already has the first in the series available for listening; I assume that the rest will be added to this on-line archive in time.) (more…)
A notable topic covered lately in the Czech press is one of that country’s chief vices: smoking. That coverage does not really concern the associated damage to one’s health and the fact that anyone who can quit really should – the Czechs know about all that already. Rather, what has occurred is two recent developments with seemingly opposite meanings for the country’s smoking classes, but which in the end still basically leave them gasping for air. (more…)
Kate Brumback – a very un-French name, but there you go – writes today in the on-line Nouvel Observateur about an interesting book, published just yesterday (and only in French so far), entitled Chirac contre Bush, L’autre guerre (“Chirac Against Bush: The Other War), by Henri Vernet and Thomas Cantaloube. Both are reporters for the newspaper Le Parisien, and the research they conducted on American-French relations in the run-up to the spring, 2003 invasion of Iraq, by Coalition forces which of course did not include the French, turned up a couple of interesting revelations. (more…)
“He forgot Poland” George W. Bush famously complained during that first presidential debate last week. And so John Kerry apparently did. And what about Poland, and specifically its roughly 2,500 soldiers now serving in Iraq? We’re out of there by December, 2005, no matter what happens, is the essence of what Polish defense minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski announced in an interview published yesterday in the leading Polish national newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.
A pretty definitive statement, you would think. And, by the way, a resounding scoop for Gazeta, since no other on-line Polish newspaper treated Szmajdzinkski’s remarks until today, and that mostly in reaction to the splash he had made in yesterday’s interview. But unfortunately it’s not so simple as all that: Gazeta had several pieces accompanying that interview – as do other newspapers today – basically passing on a message of “don’t listen to Szmajdzinski!” from other leading Polish politicians, to include such figures as the President and Prime Minister! The situation is muddled, then, to say the least. (more…)
Heard of the latest new Russian pop music phenomenon? No one knows her real name; she’s known only as “n.A.T.o.” and is a self-professed “suicide bomber” musician, who performs in a full-length burqa (i.e. the all-covering Muslim female dress) and veil, singing in Arabic.
Yep, it’s apparently for real. I first got word of “n.A.T.o.” from Belgium’s De Standaard, whose De Kleine Parade feature always has short but noteworthy, even believe-it-or-not pieces of which I have made mention in this space before. But in this case there is thankfully even more extensive coverage available from an English-language source, namely Elizabeth Day’s article in Britain’s Telegraph. (more…)