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26 February 2005

The word "politics" is derived from the word "poly", meaning "many", and the word "ticks", meaning "blood sucking parasites".
Larry Hardiman

What´s New?

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule--and both commonly succeed, and are right.
H. L. Mencken

21 February 2005

103 555 votos em branco


Socrates is the new Portuguese Prime Minister.

Anxious Portuguese swing left
By Alison Roberts BBC News, Lisbon

Jose Socrates triumphs - but the honeymoon may soon be over.
Portugal's Socialist Party has swept back into power after three years in opposition, with its biggest ever election win. The Socialists, who will need to act decisively to reinvigorate the ailing economy, secured 45% of the vote. Outgoing Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopes's centre-right Social Democratic Party secured just 28%, and its coalition partner for the past three years, the right-wing Popular Party, 7%. In his victory speech, Socialist leader Jose Socrates pledged to restore confidence in the country and its institutions, but said little about his policy priorities.

The single biggest factor in the Socialist win was the unpopularity of the incumbent administration

Now with an absolute majority in the National Assembly, Socrates has no excuses if he is unable to accomplish what he has promised...

20 February 2005

First projections for the Portuguese Elections.

Seems like the next Portuguese Prime Minister will be Jóse Socrates with an Absolute Majority in The National Assembly.


Vote for the man who promises least. He'll be the least disappointing.
Bernard Baruch

Democracy consists of choosing your dictators, after they've told you what you think it is you want to hear.
Alan Coren

"Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody."
Franklin Pierce Adams

And the Winner is...

A pity, because the more things change, the more they will stay the same.

10 February 2005

North Korea rattles its Saber

North Korea Says It Has Nuclear Weapons and Rejects Talks

Published: February 10, 2005

OKYO, Feb. 10 - In a surprising admission, North Korea's hard-line Communist government declared publicly today for the first time that it has nuclear weapons. It also said that it will boycott United States-sponsored regional talks designed to end its nuclear program, according to a North Korean Foreign Ministry statement transmitted today by the nation's wire service. Pyongyang said it has "manufactured nukes for self-defense to cope with the Bush administration's undisguised policy to isolate and stifle" North Korea, and that it will "bolster its nuclear weapons arsenal." The statement, considered a definitive policy pronouncement, said that North Korea, led by the reclusive dictator Kim Jong Il, is pulling out of the talks after concluding that the second Bush administration would pursue the "brazen-faced, double-dealing tactics" of dialogue and "regime change."


Well this is one problem that seems to have no end in sight. I would be suprised if they didn't have nuclear weapons and short of nuking them I doubt there is much that can be done about this particular problem.

Round one to Pyongyang

A Profound Quote

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.

- Niels Bohr

09 February 2005

Sócrates and the Priest

Eleições: Sócrates contra posições do pároco da Igreja de São João de Brito

Fátima, 07 Fev (Lusa) - José Sócrates considerou hoje "infeliz" o apelo do pároco da Igreja de São João de Brito de Lisboa, o padre Loreno, para que os portugueses não votem em partidos defensores do aborto, eutanásia e direitos dos homossexuais.
Na sua homilia de domingo, transmitida em directo pela Antena 1, o padre Loreno defendeu que a vida humana vai da concepção à morte e referiu que a ética cristã reprova que seja equiparada à família "uma união de um homem com outro homem" ou de "uma mulher com outra mulher".

Falando aos jornalistas em Fátima, após uma reunião com empresários da região, o secretário-geral do PS repudiou as posições do pároco da Igreja de São João de Brito. "Foram declarações muito infelizes, mas que o PS não valoriza, porque essas declarações não representam a posição da Igreja Católica", respondeu o líder socialista. Em declarações à agência Lusa, o porta-voz do PS, Pedro Silva Pereira, acrescentou que a posição do padre Loreno "não é representativa" e que "as relações entre o PS e a Igreja Católica são normalíssimas".


"essas declarações não representam a posição da Igreja Católica"

And I suppose that means that the Catholic Church supports abortion, gay marriages and euthanasia?

06 February 2005

What Work Is

Philip Levine

We stand in the rain in a long line
waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work.
You know what work is--if you're
old enough to read this you know what
work is, although you may not do it.
Forget you. This is about waiting,
shifting from one foot to another.
Feeling the light rain falling like mist
into your hair, blurring your vision
until you think you see your own brother
ahead of you, maybe ten places.
You rub your glasses with your fingers,
and of course it's someone else's brother,
narrower across the shoulders than
yours but with the same sad slouch, the grin
that does not hide the stubbornness,
the sad refusal to give in to
rain, to the hours wasted waiting,
to the knowledge that somewhere ahead
a man is waiting who will say, "No,
we're not hiring today," for any
reason he wants. You love your brother,
now suddenly you can hardly stand
the love flooding you for your brother,
who's not beside you or behind or
ahead because he's home trying to
sleep off a miserable night shift
at Cadillac so he can get up
before noon to study his German.
Works eight hours a night so he can sing
Wagner, the opera you hate most,
the worst music ever invented.
How long has it been since you told him
you loved him, held his wide shoulders,
opened your eyes wide and said those words,
and maybe kissed his cheek? You've never
done something so simple, so obvious,
not because you're too young or too dumb,
not because you're jealous or even mean
or incapable of crying in
the presence of another man, no,
just because you don't know what work is.

The Hollow Men

by T.S. Eliot

Mistah Kurtz -- he dead.
A penny for the Old Guy


We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us—if at all—not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer—

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkling of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death's other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death's twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

05 February 2005

Unnamed Lands

by Walt Whitman

NATIONS ten thousand years before These States, and many times
ten thousand years before These States;
Garner'd clusters of ages, that men and women like us grew up and
travel'd their course, and pass'd on;
What vast-built cities--what orderly republics--what pastoral tribes
and nomads;
What histories, rulers, heroes, perhaps transcending all others;
What laws, customs, wealth, arts, traditions;
What sort of marriage--what costumes--what physiology and phrenology;
What of liberty and slavery among them--what they thought of death
and the soul;
Who were witty and wise--who beautiful and poetic--who brutish and
Not a mark, not a record remains--And yet all remains.

O I know that those men and women were not for nothing, any more
than we are for nothing; 10
I know that they belong to the scheme of the world every bit as much
as we now belong to it, and as all will henceforth belong to it.

Afar they stand--yet near to me they stand,
Some with oval countenances, learn'd and calm,
Some naked and savage--Some like huge collections of insects,
Some in tents--herdsmen, patriarchs, tribes, horsemen,
Some prowling through woods--Some living peaceably on farms,
laboring, reaping, filling barns,
Some traversing paved avenues, amid temples, palaces, factories,
libraries, shows, courts, theatres, wonderful monuments.

Are those billions of men really gone?
Are those women of the old experience of the earth gone?
Do their lives, cities, arts, rest only with us? 20
Did they achieve nothing for good, for themselves?

I believe of all those billions of men and women that fill'd the
unnamed lands, every one exists this hour, here or elsewhere,
invisible to us, in exact proportion to what he or she grew
from in life, and out of what he or she did, felt, became,
loved, sinn'd, in life.

I believe that was not the end of those nations, or any person of
them, any more than this shall be the end of my nation, or of me;
Of their languages, governments, marriage, literature, products,
games, wars, manners, crimes, prisons, slaves, heroes, poets,
I suspect their results curiously await in the yet unseen
world--counterparts of what accrued to them in the seen world.
I suspect I shall meet them there,
I suspect I shall there find each old particular of those unnamed lands.

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Lee Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

What road will Portugal take?

You must Pay!

AU: Pay up for slavery

Addis Ababa - The African Union plans to relaunch attempts to gain reparations for the countless Africans who were abducted from the continent and sold into slavery over the centuries, the pan-continental body said. In a statement released late on Friday from its headquarters in Addis Ababa, the African Union said its executive Commission would push the issue, and would also call on African parliaments to do so. "In the coming months the Commission will relaunch a committee on repairing the damage caused by slavery," said spokesperson Adam Thiam. He added that the AU was calling on African countries to take measures to outlaw slavery like those adopted by France in May 2001. The new French law classifies both slavery and the slave trade as a crime against humanity.

This is A Good Idea. Just imagine, the Ndebele asking the Zulus for reparations as thousands where killed, the Chinese seeking compensation from the Mongols, the Scottish seeking compensation from the English etc. There would be very few countries in the world that would escape without paying up to someone. Africa needs help, but there are other ways to ask for it...

04 February 2005

Algumas Ideias sobre a Politica Portuguesa.

1)Estou muito preocupado com a falta de medidas concretas apresentadas pelos partidos nesta campanha eleitoral. Como muitas vezes referido, não basta dizer o que vai mudar, é necessário dizer como vai mudar. Dizem que vão pôr a economia a crescer, vão diminuir em X números de desempregados, vão melhorar a saúde, vão corrigir as desigualdades entre litoral e interior, etc. mas poucas vezes explicam como vai ser feito. Infelizmente isto também é notado noutros países além do nosso.

2) O sistema de eleições precisa de mudar. Quero votar num deputado para a Assembleia da República. Não consigo entusiasmar-me com a ideia de votar numa lista! Quem é o meu representante? Círculos uninominais já! Isto também devia abrir a porta a mais independentes a concorrerem à Assembleia da República. Deve haver uma responsabilização directa do deputado pelos eleitores que o elegerem.

3) É necessário mudar o funcionamento da Assembleia da República. A substituição de deputados deve ser proibida. No caso de um deputado deixar a Assembleia da República deve haver eleições no seu círculo para eleger um novo deputado. Cada deputado também devia ter a liberdade de votar pela sua própria consciência, independentemente da cor política e do sentido de voto do partido.Quantas vezes num mandato, o deputado é visto no seu círculo a falar com os seus eleitores?

4) Um dos grandes males da nossa política é o número de promessas feitas pelos políticos, para serem eleitos, que acabam por nunca serem cumpridas. A falta de verdade na política está a destruir a crença do eleitorado nos seus políticos.