Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Wag the dog

According what I have heard, a lot of newspapers tried to get a comment from Fredrik Reinfeldt all Sunday. The reason is “Nannygate” and the new allegations suggesting that Reinfeldt’s nanny was not allowed to work in Sweden when she lived in his home and worked for the municipality of Täby (where Reinfeldt’s wife used to be in charge of things).

The day after (yesterday), we got another set of “news” about the so called ”tsunami tapes”. Wag the dog, anyone?

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Today on YouTube: What’s good (from ”Magic and loss” with Lou Reed). ”What’s good – life’s good – but not fair at all” (full lyrics here). For all of us who knew IB.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Svensson, Nordström, hat and cattle, Rifkin

Two things you should read in Swedish media today: Tommy Svensson’s hilarious column in Aftonbladet (did Greider pass out?), and the interview with Niklas Nordsröm in Dagens Media.

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Some friends of mine in Washington DC have a band called Bütros Bütros, playing rock in DC clubs. Soon they will play at the Austin Grill, and I just realized that the restaurant is a 100 percent powered by wind. There is hope for US and the world, even though Bush’s brief words on climate change are all hat and no cattle so far.

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I guess some of you have heard of Jeremy Rifkin, a US scholar who says that the American dream might be worth dying for, but the European dream is worth living for. I wrote an article about him when he visited Sweden recently [here, in Swdish].

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Mona and Bush’s SOTU

The best blog post I have read this week is about journalists, politics, and how the TV-show Agenda used their poll on Mona Sahlin last Sunday. Their big piece of news was that 26 percent of likely voters said they would be less inclined to vote social democratic with Mona Sahlin as party leader. But they ”forgot” to tell that their poll also said that 27 percent would be more inclined to vote for us with Mona as new leader of the party... Read Helena Markstedt’s take on this [Swedish], and don’t miss her collection of new, brilliant, center-left female politicians [English].

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The Economist has a quite well-balanced view of Bush’s SOTU, and the Progress Report offers a more critical view and provides loads of links as always. I watched CNN the morning after and they were all so glad that he mentioned the word ”global climate change”. We don’t have high demands on that guy anymore.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

We cannot only be against a bunch of losers

Sweden’s new government has had a terrible start; indeed the worst in history (see the charts, the left block is well ahead in the polls). Maybe it is because they got a bad start in general and then lost the debate against the trade unions whether it is good to change a lot of important labor market policies. Maybe it is because the tax cuts has not kicked in yet. Maybe it is because the government has quite a few internal problems (Minister Leijonborg writes in DN that he wants to abolish the subsidies aiming at plurality in the media market, Minister Adelsohn Liljeroth writes in Journalisten that she wants to keep and develop the system. And two Conservative Ministers are fighting in public as well…).

Anyway, I just hope that we Social Democrats remember that the next election is more than three and a half years away, and in order to win we need renewal and a positive agenda. We cannot only be against the new disastrous government; we need new proposals of our own.

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Another loser, George W. Bush, will deliver another SOTU tonight. I was ”asked” to leave comments regarding the Democratic response, but I am sure Jim Webb will be fine without my help. American Progress and their bloggers are ready for tonight’s events.

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Went to the movies yesterday (again) and saw “Days of glory” (orginal title ”Indigènes”). One of the best and politically most important movies I have seen in a long while, review in Aktuellt i Politiken on Monday. See it, and then you realize why it has been nominated.

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A new book about Olof Palme was released today, I went to a “release seminar” where Widar Andersson and author Claes Arvidsson discussed the book. When Widar got the usual question/statement about Olof Palme being a psychopath he just leaned back and said that all people in such important/leading positions become a little psychic. If not, the person will resign pretty soon... Enjoyed talking to star-blogger Gudmondson as well. I got a copy of the book and will try to read it over the weekend; reviews are collected here.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Thoughts about Mona Sahlin

I wrote two editorials about Mona Sahlin today; one for Aktuellt i Politiken and one for Stockholms Tidningen (the edition of AiP in the greater Stockholm area). You can read them already on the web; AiP here and ST here.

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Now I am off to watch Pedro Almodóvar’s movie ”Volver” across the street from work, together with a good friend of mine. It’s been a busy week so to stroll across the street to a movie theater feels like the perfect thing to do. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

There is only one Mona Sahlin

Mona Sahlin will be just great as party leader; she was outstanding during the press conference a little while ago (watch it here). The fact that I did the first interview with her today makes me very proud.

I am so glad that we will get one woman in the amazing Mona-Anna-Margot trio as party leader; that's political history, folks. As Mona said when I spoke with her today: ”I have been thinkin a lot of Anna [Lindh] today, and I know that the strong support for a female party leader in our movement would make her proud”.

Enough said, this will be great.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Blogs versus ”old media”

Here is yet another example of how blogs beat “old media”; I wrote about the YouTube clip with Sweden’s Minister of Finance on January 3rd; today it is big news in Aftonbladet.

Run, Barack, run…

Yes, he is running, watch the video here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dr. Melfi, let me ask you a question...

All things suggest that Mona Sahlin will become our new party leader; rumor is that she will get the official question from the electoral board very soon. I think she will be great. Read my “official” editorial about all this here, and there were two great op eds in DN today (Orback and Feldt).

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Been to the movies twice recently. “All the King’s men” was good, but not as amazingly fantastic as I hoped (the version from 1949 is great, it is about US politics, Sean Penn plays the main role...). I would give it 3/5 and you can read the review I wrote for AiP here.

Saw “The Departed” on Saturday night with Emma, sister Anna and her fiancé Per-Erik (I was the only one showing any support for Matt Damon). In short, Matt Damon infiltrates the police in Boston on behalf of the Mafia, and Leonardo di Capriccioso infiltrates the Mafia on behalf of the police. Jack Nicholson is fantastic and I don’t think he overacts, as it has been said in some reviews. I would give it 4/5 (read a million reviews in English here) and I really hope that Martin Scorsese will get his Oscar this time (he has been nominated for Raging Bull, Last Temptation of Christ, Good Fellas, Gangs of New York and The Aviator).

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Since I moved around a lot in the early 2000s I never really managed to follow “The Sopranos” properly. But now I watched the whole first season in a few days and I am totally addicted. Will try to find the time to start watching the second season tonight; these DVD-boxes are great when you need to catch your breath.

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Don’t you want one as well?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Sahlin’s majority, Bildt, and Whiskeytown

Aktuellt i Politiken can now report that frontrunner Mona Sahlin already is supported by a majority of the delegates at the Social Democratic congress in March – at least technically. The thirteen districts that hitherto say that they support her have 180 out of 350 delegates at the congress. Full story here.

You will find another article about the myths surrounding Mona Sahlin here. I will address this whole topic in my editorial on Monday.

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Carl Bildt’s problems even made it into The Economist’s useful “Politics this week”:
Prosecutors in Sweden began an inquiry into share options given to Carl Bildt, the country's foreign minister (and former prime minister), when he was on the board of a firm linked to Russia's Gazprom.
And just because the prosecutor now says that Bildt did not do anything illegal does not mean that this is over. This is a political – not an economical – issue.

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One weird thing with YouTube is all these covers you find with lonely guys playing your favorite song on guitar in front of a video camera. Today I was looking for stuff with Whiskeytown and found this version of “Houses on the Hill” and I found it… almost quite ok. Or am I just too crazy about this song? [The line “Eisenhower sent him to war, he kept a picture in his pocket that was closest to his heart” is great, anyway].

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bildt’s conflicts of interest

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Obama and McCain [and Calle Bildt]

US politics: The Fix recently updated its ranking of presidential candidates:
Dems: 1. HR Clinton. 2. J Edwards. 3. B Obama. 4. B Richardson. 5. T Vilsack.
GOP: 1. J McCain. 2. M Romney. 3. R Guiliani. 4. N Gingrich. 5. S Brownback.

As of today, I think it will be Obama vs McCain.

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The New Republic runs a fascinating debate about Mitt Romney’s chances and the role of religion in US politics [and Washington Post reports that Romney is gaining steam].

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A lot has been said about the money and lies surrounding Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. But shouldn’t he give the money to Darfur?

Monday, January 08, 2007

More birthdays: Bowie and the King

Jonas Morian is a good friend, one of Sweden’s best bloggers, and he is right to say happy birthday to the great David Bowie (turning 60 today). But there is another guy who was born on the 8th of January as well: There is only one King...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Closer to 30 than 40

Just got back from a fantastic dinner at a restaurant around the block from where I live. It’s my birthday and I am now 33 years old; still way closer to 30 than to 40… The three women in my life joined me for the dinner (my mum Gunnel, sister Anna, and girlfriend Emma), as did Anna’s great fiancé Per-Erik. Got wonderful cufflinks, Sopranos on DVD, and a treat at this wonderful place, among other things. Tomorrow it’s really Monday again.

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Just saw Nancy Pelosi on the news; balance of power is back in place.

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Lucinda Williams is about to release a new record, sneak preview here.

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I don’t like Man U at all, but naturally I am glad Larsson scored.

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And I can confirm I am colleague X in this blog entry.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Research and Lipset

In the Swedish election campaign I often used the following argument: “Sweden spends more money on research and development than everyone else, except maybe Israel”. Well, that is true if you don’t count New Mexico and Massachusetts, I learnt today. Read more on the subject here.

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As I said I spent New Years with some friends in France, and we didn’t discuss it this time, but boy have we had discussions about “American Exceptionalism” (in short: why socialism never grew strong in the US). Now the man who coined that phrase has passed away, rest in peace Seymour Martin Lipset (orbitury here).

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

AMS and Storåkers...

[Swedish politics]: Have you seen that Storåkers (m) and AMS are working together?

Meet Mr Borg: Sweden's Minister of Finance

Guess y'all have seen this by now?