We’ve heard a lot about the rhetoric of Barak Obama’s Pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. As a result, Obama had to distance himself from Wright. But apparently Wright is not the only reverend that could be a source of trouble for those aiming at the White House. Now it’s the turn of Rev. Rod Parsley, a supporter and close ally of Republican candidate John McCain. Parsley claims that the United States were founded to destroy Islam, a “false religion” according to him. How will the mainstream media cover this one and what effect will it have on McCain’s campaign? Stay tuned for more.
Posted by Marcos Ancelovici on May 9, 2008
Posted by Marcos Ancelovici on May 9, 2008
Pierre Assouline has written a moving piece on poet Susan Sontag (1933-2004) on his blog La Republique des livres. Among the thoughts and emotions that accompanied Sontag as she lived her last days, Assouline points out this surreal denial of death: she kept drawing attention, in the pages of the New Yorker, to movies to see, restaurants to try, shows to attend, and books to read, even though she had only a few remaining days to live…
Posted by Marcos Ancelovici on April 15, 2008
Catch the flame for labour rights: from now until April 18
While the official 2008 Olympic torch relay ducks to evade the scrutiny of human rights activists, an unofficial Olympic torch relay for human rights starts its journey across Canada today.
So far, nearly 9000 people around the world have carried the torch in support of labour rights for workers Olympics-branded merchandise. This week, it’s Canada’s turn. The flame is only in Canada until the end of the week (Friday, April 18), so join the relay now!
How to participate in the “Catch the Flame” torch relay:
If you’d like to pass the flame on via cellphone, send MSN an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your cell phone number and cell phone provider (e.g. Bell, Telus, Rogers, etc). We’ll send you a message to forward to your friends, family, and colleagues.and we’ll send you a message to forward to your friends, family, and colleagues.
Posted by Marcos Ancelovici on April 3, 2008
“BUCHAREST (Reuters) – It’s “Love me tender” between the United States and France after President George W. Bush compared French President Nicolas Sarkozy with rock’n'roll singer Elvis Presley.
Bush told NATO leaders at a Bucharest summit on Thursday that when Sarkozy visited the United States recently, he was seen as “the latest incarnation of Elvis”.
Such an example of “Burning love” marks a sea change from the “Suspicious minds” that clouded Franco-American relations under Sarkozy’s predecessor, Jacques Chirac, who often seemed to see Washington as “The devil in disguise”.”
Posted by Marcos Ancelovici on December 21, 2007
I would like to draw your attention to the webpage of Daniel Little, the Chancellor of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Dr. Little manages a couple of social theory blogs and has had the great idea of posting interviews with “innovative social scientists, historians, and philosophers.” It happens that the first interview, that took place on December 15, 2007, is with Columbia University professor Chuck Tilly, one of the greatest social movement theorists and specialists of French contentious history. Here’s the first (out of eight) part of the interview:
Posted by Marcos Ancelovici on November 19, 2007
France is really the land of contention! While French public transportation workers are on strike against pension reform, rightwing organizations such as Alternative libérale and the student union Uni organized yesterday a demonstration denouncing the strike and defending the right to work and study. They even accused French trade unions of being fascists! The only nice slogan was “Make love not strike!”. Here’s a short video of the protest posted by Rue89.com on Dailymotion:
Posted by Marcos Ancelovici on November 13, 2007
Voxeu.org published a very interesting piece questioning the claim that American multinational corporations are investing massively in China and increasingly moving their R&D there, thereby contributing to the American trade deficit and digging their own grave. Here are some excerpts:
“Many otherwise well-informed experts on international economics believe that US FDI [foreign direct investment] in China is large, that US multinational enterprises (MNEs) have significantly enlarged the US-China trade deficit by shifting production aimed at the US market to Chinese affiliates, and that this production shift has undermined investment at home and in other countries. Current conventional wisdom also suggests that US MNEs are moving cutting edge R&D to China, in order to take advantage of vast legions of low cost technologically skilled workers. Our recent research, based on comprehensive surveys of US multinational activity in China, suggests that each one of these suppositions is largely false.
First, US FDI in China is surprisingly small relative to nearly any relevant benchmark. US firms account for a small component of total FDI inflows into China. US affiliates have contributed very little to Chinese fixed asset investment or employment growth. Moreover, in 2004 the Chinese operations of US firms accounted for only 1.9% of total foreign affiliate sales and 0.7% of total foreign affiliate assets. (…)
Second, US affiliates in China have played very little role in China’s export growth. (…)
Third, there is little evidence that increased US MNE investment in China is associated with less investment elsewhere. (…)
Finally, our review of US multinational R&D data and US patent data convinces us that China has not yet emerged as a major technological power, nor is the level of US R&D activity in that country large enough to contribute significantly to such an emergence. (…) the real extent of innovative activity performed in China by US multinationals is quite modest. In 2004, US firms spent $622 million on R&D in China; an amount that was about 0.3% of the total R&D undertaken globally by these firms. China even accounted for less than 13% of total R&D undertaken by US firms within the Asian region. It is hard to reconcile these small numbers with the view that US firms are shifting the locus of their R&D activities to China. (…)
Has China become an important R&D center for a small number of US companies, even if it remains less significant in aggregate terms? Not yet. By far, the leading US firm in terms of China-generated patents is Microsoft. Yet even Microsoft’s China-generated patents amount to less than 4% of its total cumulative patents as of the end of 2006. And if we restrict ourselves to patents with only mainland Chinese inventors, the fraction drops to about 1.5%.
How can we reconcile this low level of innovation with findings that indicate a high level of sophistication among China’s exports? China has become an important exporter of goods that are technology-intensive, but relatively little of the technology embodied in these goods has been created in China or by Chinese companies. Instead, China continues to import much of the high value-added parts and components that go into these goods.”
Posted by Marcos Ancelovici on November 12, 2007
Rue89.com published an interesting piece on a book by David Dufresne, a former Libération journalist. Dufresne looked at the evolution of the police management of poor suburbs in France. He points out that in 2005, the CRS, who used to intervene in exceptional situations, began to patrol poor suburbs on a routine basis. Similarly, in 2006 military planes began to participate in a new surveillance strategy which relied on the use of the military to control a segment of the French civilian population. Here’s an interview with Dufresne that appears on the Rue89.com website:
Posted by Marcos Ancelovici on November 7, 2007
The Gapminder, a Swedish non-profit venture that collaborates with universities, UN organizations, public agencies, and NGOs, has a nice interactive graph of the relation between life expectancy and income per capita. You can select the countries in which you are interested and trace their evolution since 1975. Neat!
Posted by Marcos Ancelovici on November 2, 2007
On September 29, 2007, Greenpeace France organized a fake anti-environment protest in Paris. As the video below shows, protesters demanded SUVs for everyone, more CO2, more nuclear plants, supported Total and Monsanto, denounced Kyoto and restrictions on lethal chemical products, and condemned environmentalists as well as all tofu-eaters. Activism with a good sense of irony and surrealism!