Thursday, November 30, 2006

Bush and Reinfeldt

As y’all should know, George W. Bush and Fredrik Reinfeldt are members of the same political organization. And today Reinfeldt’s Swedish buddies voted just as W. wanted in the European Parliament, more here [thanks to stellar Swedish MEP Åsa Westlund].

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Anders “Moneybrother” Wendin’s cover of ”Downtown train” (forthcoming) is great, but so is the original by Tom Waits (it’s been a while since I saw that video). Also, found some great, Iraq-related Bruce-stuff.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

FES, Moneybrother and football

Went to a reception yesterday in order to celebrate that the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung is opening up a Nordic office in Stockholm. In short, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung is a mix of Olof Palmes International Center and a left of center think-tank (they were the ones who put out the recent study about rising poverty in Germany). I guess this means that we have yet another social democratic think-tank in Sweden now?!

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I have heard two songs from Moneybrother’s new album in Swedish so far, and they are both great. The interview last Thursday (SVT Gomorron Sverige) was hilarious, and the version of Tom Waits’ Downtown Train is pure magic. Last possibility to watch the clip from SVT today [click on Thursday’s show].

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When I moved to the US in 2001 I did not understand why people cared about College Football. Now I understand, thanks to all the Notre Dame-games I was forced to watch, and if you are still in doubt, watch this play.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Party leader, football, and Babel

Yesterday’s Agenda was very interesting, but the figure suggesting that only 13 percent of local social democratic chairpersons think that it is important to choose a woman is probably misleading. (To be “well rooted” in the social democratic party was the most important prerequisite). In another recent survey, 73 local chairpersons preferred a woman, one person preferred a man, and others did not state a preference (more here). The way you ask this question will determine the result you get. I think most people in the party really feel that it is time for a woman, this might not be an absolute demand, but the best candidates are women.

Moreover, it is very clear that Margot Wallström has the most solid support. 54 of 95 local chairpersons that responded to Agendas survey preferred Margot, and only three percent stated that a seat in the Riksdag is an important prerequisite. Very telling, indeed.

(Don’t miss that some people with a background in Social Democratic Students voiced their opinions in Agenda; fellow blogger Anna for example).

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Jan Nygren, who was mentioned as a possible candidate last time around (1995), wrote an important op ed during the weekend. I think he misses one point though; for the renewal of the social democratic movement, the relationship to other parties in parliament is not the only thing that matters. I think we need to open up the party to organizations and movement outside parliament. I have written about that here.

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But PM Nilsson wrote the weekend’s best editorial. Important reading, both for the Social Democratic Party and the new “government”.

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And speaking of editorials and op eds, Länstidningen is undergoing changes. I will miss the old gang, and we will see where the new direction leads.

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Ronaldinho scored a fantastic goal last weekend, already on YouTube of course.

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My sister Anna was in South Africa for her birthday so we went to the movies and for a good meal at my expense Saturday evening. I can recommend both Babel and Bistro Süd. The three parallel stories in Babel really shakes you up, and the cool atmosphere at Bistro Süd calms you down.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Margot, Balkenende, Buckley

Loads of talking about whom will become the new party leader of the SAP. You have seen all the basic stuff, but don’t miss this article.

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Lousy election results in the Netherlands, you will find a major piece at about it.

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Guess you all have understood that I spend some time watching clips at YouTube. But what can you do when you find things like this?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Billy Bragg on Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

One of my favourite songs got new lyrics (again) by the progressive patriot. "Will YouTube give MTV the sack"?!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Go sister go!

The discussion about who will succeed Göran Persson as chairman of the SAP is heating up, read some general guidelines from the party newspaper here.

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Tomorrow Wednesday we have elections in the Netherlands. Loads of possible coalitions make the whole thing difficult to project; my support is with the PvdA of course. Funny political ad from the PvdA here.

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And in another European country – FranceSégolène Royal went all the way, as y’all know. I was happy to see her win, and I think she has a very good chance to become president in 2007. Interestingly enough we now have a French politician who uses the internet a lot, more here and here [in English].

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The New Republic is asking an important question: ”Iraq: What next?” Loads of reading here, and at the same time Bush’s approval ratings hit rock-bottom (here).

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And when it comes to music, don’t miss that Sweden’s best artist in rock’n’roll – Moneybrother – is about to release a new record. Listen to a new, great song!

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And when it comes to movies, both Al Gore (An Inconvenient Truth) and Dixie Chicks (Shut Up + Sing) are up for documentary Oscars.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Summing up and moving on

Has forgotten to link to my editorial and main story from the US Elections. There will be a follow up in the paper on Monday (a column and an article).

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If you ever have doubted that Fox is Republican, read this. And Amy Poehler on Saturday Night Live's ”Weekend Update” had a right on the spot summary of the US election: “In an ironic turnaround, Iraq brought regime change to the US”. [Thanks Peter K]

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We have a Services Directive in the EU, described as a Cinderella story by the trade unions. Good summary in Swedish here.

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This ploy with Swedish Enterprise is just hilarious. [Through Håkan]

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I am becoming addicted to YouTube. Cannot help it when you find old Letterman classics such as this.

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Will, naturally, spend quite some time at ”Socialistiskt Forum” tomorrow Saturday. I am in a panel about the left and the media at 10.00 am.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Thanks, Helsinki

It’s already mid-week, but first of all I have to say that the weekend in Helsinki was really nice. Our crowd knows how to mix party and culture: Nice and pretty late nights, but a lot of good study visits (Sirén’s beautiful parliament) and museums as well. Sunday, we visited the Mannerheim Museum, the Finnish Military Museum, and Kiasma (the Museum of Contemporary Art). At Misma, I voted for Elina Brotherus in the on-going Ars Fennica ’07.

Speaking of different sides of Finnish ”culture”, Saturday night in a sketchy karaoke-bar was a lot fun. When in such a place, remember to have a few drinks right away so you blend in; stay away if a fight erupts; and eventually sign up to sign a song yourself. And thanks for joining us, fellow blogger Esa.

First photo below shows three happy journalists in our group of 2004: Karin (Sweden), Edmundas (Lithuania), and Maria (Italy), and the second shows our host Riina – thanks for a great weekend!

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Listening to “Unsung” by Slaid Cleaves when writing this, pure magic. Check him out right away if you like alternative country (a.k.a. Americana).

Friday, November 10, 2006

All these airports

Feels like I have been in the air for ages already; Thursday-Friday I am flying Washington DC to Amsterdam to Stockholm to Helsinki. Right now I am in Amsterdam, and the reason I am continuing to Helsinki is an informal weekend meeting with a group of “Young European Leaders”. Our group (15 people) participated in an International Visitor Leadership Program to the US during the Presidential Elections of 2004, and amazingly enough we still keep in touch. Sure, the three week trip to the US in 2004 was great, and the group was great, and that we had a reunion in London in 2005 was great, and that we are meeting again is amazing. Will be loads of fun, and thanks for organizing Riina!

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And as y’all know, the US Elections ended on a much more positive note than in 2004. I am very tired but can recommend some reading: The Progress Report goes right into whether this election was a triumph of the center or not; the DLC certainly thinks so. And the TNR already has a few interesting articles.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

USA: The Senate as well!

Last nigth in DC, writing my last articles for AiP from here in Jim’s living room. AND: CNN just announces that Jim Webb has won Virginia. This has been a fantastic election for progressives (more here).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Looks good...

We won the House, the Senate seems to end 50-49 (depends on Missouri and Montana), and thus Virginia will decide if we get a majority in the Senate as well. First short analysis soon at [in Swedish].


The blogs, and now also CNN, are suggesting that there will be a recount in Virginia (here, for example). And the third candidate in that race will be the Nader of this election (more details about that here). Jim Webb is pulling ahead right now!

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I have seen this ad from the AARP a million times on CNN by now. It was good the first three times.

USA is turning blue, but how much?

Went by Tryst, Stetson’s and SAIS to check out their election nights, and finally decided against going out to Virginia and Webb’s election party. Closely watching CNN and blogs with some friends instead, which allows blogging and some working at the same time (still have a lot of articles to finish from here).

Basically: the House looks good, but the Senate will not happen since Virginia is not looking good after all.

Good blogs to follow right now: Talking Points Memo, Matthew Yglesias, Tapped, Political Animal, and The Plank.
[Thanks Kevin]

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

…and this is my prediction!

Just been to a polling station a block away from where I lived during the summer of 2002 (16th street/Columbia Ave). They were pretty busy, even if this is Washington DC where not too much is at stake. It started raining though, which is not a good sign (Washington State is flooded, according to CNN). Nice weather and high turnout is always good for candidates to the left of center.

Had lunch at The Diner because Tryst was closed – CNN was all over Tryst since they are going to broadcast from DC:s number one blogging-café tonight.

Here are my predictions: The Democrats will win at least 20 seats in the House; they need 15 in order to get the majority. When it comes to the Senate, I think the Democrats will hold all seats they have today (even though I am worried about New Jersey), and gain four to six (a net gain of six is needed). I think ”we” will pick up Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and even Virginia. But I am not all sure about Missouri and Montana, and unfortunately it does not look like Harold Ford Jr in Tennessee will become the first black senator from the South. The GOP GOTV-machine in these traditionally red states is very strong, but I am hoping for a miracle.

When it comes to the gubernatorial races, quite a few Democratic pick-ups are expected. Remember that it is very good if the Democrats get governors in swing-states like Ohio. This will be important in 2008.

Finally: two pictures from the Jim Webb rally in Virginia yesterday, featuring president Clinton. [And yes, I shook his hand as well].

America votes

You will find a new article I wrote about the US elections here [Swedish]. Pay attention to the Senate races in Virginia, Missouri and Montana tonight. ”We”/the Democrats need to win all those in order to win a majority in the Senate; it will be very tough, but the House still looks good.

Monday, November 06, 2006

One day left…

Had a really good time Saturday at the BBQ; thanks Lukas and thanks one and all for showing up!

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Went to the Jim Webb campaign HQ Sunday and was really impressed. I met a lot of nice, interesting people and it all resulted in quite a few interviews. A lot of people came there to volunteer and some of them ended up making phone calls in the hallways (picture). I got a good feeling about the Webb campaign; maybe he can pull it off after all (polls here).

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Ended the day at a campaign rally in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Congressman [my bad, Mike] Ben Cardin, who most probably will be elected, was there, the impressive duo O’Malley/Brown was there, but above all president Clinton came and held (as usual) a very good speech. He still has that charisma and his appearance was very appreciated.

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Will hit town now and do some interviews, and will round up with a Jim Webb/Bill Clinton rally in Virginia. It could be worse…

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A sort of homecoming

Coming ”home” to DC is always great; yesterday Jim picked me up at the airport, then we had Mexican food with a group of friends at Haydee’s in Mount Pleasant, followed by some beers at Stetson’s and Rumba Café.

Watched the McLaughlin Group all morning and the general agreement was that the Democrats will win the House, while the Senate is still too close to call (great overview here). Just saw Harold Ford on MSNBC and his race and the races in Virginia, Missouri, Maryland and Montana will decide this. On Monday I will visit a rally featuring Jim Webb and Bill Clinton in Virginia.

Now it is time for a BBQ at Lukas’ place with all my old friends. I will have to work/write a lot the coming week, but tonight will be pure fun. (And of course, I hope Notre Dame will win the college football game we will watch on TV. It's President Bartlet's team, after all).

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Finished Philp Roth’s “The plot against America” on the plane over and I can highly recommend it. I wrote a review that will be published in AiP soon.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Elections around the corner (again)

I am going to Washington DC tomorrow Friday and I have quite a few good interviews lined up, but most naturally I will catch up with the old crowd of friends as well. I have been working so much this week I haven’t really realized how much fun this will be.

When it comes to the congressional elections, the site “Electoral vote” is useful as always, and don’t miss the 123 election campaign ads at The New York Times website. Watch the terrible ads the Republicans run against Harold Ford in Tennessee and remember why there is only one good side in US politics.

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The post-election talk Timbro’s Maria Rankka and I had at Canal 7 can now be seen here. And tonight I will participate in a panel about the US Congressional elections (TV8, 20:00, the show is called “Världen i fokus”).

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Some really promising blogs have been started lately: Åsa Westlund, Per Wirtén, Håkan A Bengtsson and Magnus Linton.