Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
<< Previous 20

Reframing Liberty and Liberalism

by melo Sun Mar 25th, 2007 at 08:06:56 AM EST

            I find it interesting how the meaning of such familiar words and concepts as liberty and liberality are being reframed.
    For example, the root of both words is from the Latin word for freedom, yet they have apparently become descriptions of two political poles. I say apparently because perception may as well be reality in today's politics, yet i believe it is vital for us to parse how the message becomes the identity, in the sense of how such a meme can supply a sense of belonging, giving a seemingly stable point of reference to folks who feel at sea without one.

Read more... (9 comments, 866 words in story)

Vegetarianism is the new Prius

by melo Fri Jan 26th, 2007 at 08:36:18 AM EST

Surfing over at www.commondreams.org, I found this well-written piece, which i thought I'd excerpt for possibly interesting discussion.


Last month, the United Nations published a report on livestock and the environment with a stunning conclusion: "The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." It turns out that raising animals for food is a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and not least of all, global warming.


It seems that when you step outside and wonder what happened to winter, you might want to think about what you had for dinner last night. The U.N. report says almost a fifth of global warming emissions come from livestock (i.e., those chickens Hoover was talking about, plus pigs, cattle, and others)--that's more emissions than from all of the world's transportation combined.


Last year researchers at the University of Chicago took the Prius down a peg when they turned their attention to another gas guzzling consumer purchase. They noted that feeding animals for meat, dairy, and egg production requires growing some ten times as much crops as we'd need if we just ate pasta primavera, faux chicken nuggets, and other plant foods. On top of that, we have to transport the animals to slaughterhouses, slaughter them, refrigerate their carcasses, and distribute their flesh all across the country. Producing a calorie of meat protein means burning more than ten times as much fossil fuels--and spewing more than ten times as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide--as does a calorie of plant protein. The researchers found that, when it's all added up, the average American does more to reduce global warming emissions by going vegetarian than by switching to a Prius.

More over the flip

Read more... (49 comments, 1074 words in story)

What is Massage therapy, and why would you want to try it?

by melo Mon Jan 8th, 2007 at 09:18:09 PM EST

Have you ever seen a fire smouldering sleepily, not releasing much heat?
Have you noticed how poking the logs so more oxygen gets to them makes the flames dance and the fire come back to life?
Our cells need oxygen too, and our blood needs to circulate all the way from heart to tiny capillaries at the periphery of the body to bring the oxygen to all the cells.

  It is a common misapprehension that it is our skeleton which is responsible for our posture and ability to stand erect. While bones provide strutlike strength, it is the connective tissue that is decisive in determining our carriage, our adaptation to the forces in which we swim.

  Connective tissue has a very interesting property, namely its ability to experience many gradations between gel (rigidity) and sol (flexibility). The easiest example to note is after a hot bath, our fingernails can soften quite appreciably, subsequently returning to their harder state.

  Imagine dry, stiff, old leather, and rubbing saddle soap into it until it flexes freely again, and you get an idea of what the warmth and skilled touch can do to break down old adhesions and internal scar tissue, to restore freedom and original range of motion.

Read more... (15 comments, 1572 words in story)

Black Swan, blue moon

by melo Tue Oct 3rd, 2006 at 06:56:43 AM EST


  In which the author aspires to gently stir (not stir-fry) the readers' mental minestrone...

 There is a spatial/temporal disassociation inherent in blogging, a kind of lengthening of the experiential tetherings we are all in varying degrees committed to.

  I have read many attempts here to understand if there is a group identity we all share.

  Below the jump I'll share what identity means to me personally, and the questions about european identity that emerge for me, especially reading here, where there are many visitors and contributors, from many lands and backgrounds.

Read more... (13 comments, 1336 words in story)

Behold Czar Vladimir! If Putin went mega...

by melo Tue Jul 18th, 2006 at 12:31:12 PM EST

   Imagine if the Pope had the kind of temporal power Putin (That's President Putin, SIR!!!, Your most  Majestic Highness, Lord of Lords, Star of our firmament, etc, etc) holds in his cool hands right now?

  There he stood, in the mindblowing halls his ancestors lived out their megalomanic arc of Russian history, they so impeccably maintained and bespeaking the kind of Imperial omnipotence that era's architecture so loftily declaimed, yet his demeanour held no apparent regality.

  He lanced his guests' boils of pretension with delicate, statesmanlike precision, and a dry glee, perhaps consciously uncomplicit with a western audience, rather as if he was thinking how he would tell the boys at the fishing club later, how these bigshots tried to put one over him, and he reminded them right smartly to mind their manners!

  No 'putin' nothin on Vlad.

Read more... (12 comments, 1387 words in story)

millennial mayday in the msm mountains

by melo Mon May 1st, 2006 at 09:48:14 PM EST

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

my funny german partner was just saying how in italy they're stuck on 'bella ciaou' and no new leftwing song had captured the national imagination since, while germany had some more modern hits that all the crowds know the words to.

she proceeded to sing something anthemic, and mildly kinetic, distinctly retread. i imagined it with an eurovision type midi schlock digibeat, and became briefly depressed and humourless, mumbling nonsense and giving up .

briefly, because the sun was shining, the solar water heater was reporting the happy temperature of 55 c., the donkey and stallion were softly affectionate, mellowed out by the copious fresh green grass coming up right now in the rainsoaked loamy clay, and hey! spring is spring, and comes but once a year after a long cold mountain winter.

we went out to the plant store this morning and spent an hour buying numerous vegetable starts, too many to list, though i get a pleasureable thrill thinking of each little being ready to 'stand with us' during the adventure of growing here at home, out of their perfect-conditions greenhouse into a test-through weeds, terracotta-dry weeks, potato-eating porcupines, wild grubbling feral pigs, (or maybe ivano's hybrid 300 kilo pink flubbity monster, taking a left from rooting for acorns and chestnuts in the forest), birds, ants, mice...

from experience most of them'll make it fine.

the pests, that is!

this year the solar pump is going to weave its way into the irrigation game plan. this involves either digging more frogpond reedbeds, (they are so loud and expressive this time of year it's operatic), or picking up old whiteglue 500L tanks, washing them well, and using them to store water for shady dry days,

they are a deal at E50, and i can use the digger on the tractor, but this hill is saturated with water from this last cloudy, rainy spell, and there's no way... it's like ireland right now...

it'll take two consecutive days of straight sunshine and preferably a west wind to dry off the top to a crunchy cotto, crust enough to take the weight.


m. made us a super great thai-ish lunch, which we ate watching the new john le carre political thriller novel - oops i meant the world news!

surfing feverishly like the post 9/11, peak oil-savvy, hysteria-network junkies we are, we watched the stirring moral mass of the peaceful, normally out-of-sight, normally overbent backbone people-who-power-the- beast, without whom its gardens would be tangled jungle, hospitals dirty, straighten up, straighten up and peacefully force-focus the world media to confront the naked contradiction of its ignored, effaced identity, stripped for one day of its airbrushed-out, truman-show invisibility.

again pointing to how all this world news all the time was waking a lot of people up to using the media, and their own simple, dignified presence, to state something glaringly obvious, but possibly only by its absence...without them gratefully showing up for underpaid punishment -oops i meant work, every day, what price your supermarket produce specials then?

pondered what was so different about this demonstration, and realised there was one message that united so many people, so tired of being asked to do the jobs others think themselves above or are too weak to do, and then made to feel they're somehow less worthy of what life has to offer.

most leftwing demos are weakened by their very plurality, but then power is not such a goal for many anyway, they just want to be left to get on with their little lives, and are tired of feeling that way.

these guys in the usa right now are real low key, nor a lot of exhibitionism, the message is so simple all clutter would be superfluous...we are here - and there are billions more behind us, humbly wondering if so few could have so much power over so many for so long, without finally that one day the injustice would prick enough consciences to level the ecomomic playing field.

moving right along... to another soundbite-subset.

jugears brit homsec made to look like a right wally, obviously missed the memo on the 1000+ convicted illegal immigrants, released from jail, gaol as it used to be called, as in reading...

request to liberate into the general public, and local genepool, a goodly stock of proven moral pedigree insane asylum-seekers, instead of taking them to immigration and airports to be sent home, some rapists and murderers among them.

'what was that?   can't be serious!  ha ha ha!
someones's having me on...

very funny...well if you think that's funny, this is masterful...i'll sign it!

and people think i don't have a sense of humour!'

(some underling thinks this is a good idea, maybe all the buses are busy...) = competence in government, mole provided courtesy of chortling dave chameleon cameron...how to paralyse the thinking voter with fresh charming promises, so soon after the last ones people are still reeling from...

someone's throwing bad mojo on that falling tower of an admin, maybe wiccans doing circles, maybe bereft families of those killed by war and greed, spun as the third way.

we're up to three, are we?

almost want to make you believe in domino theory after all, the italian dear leader having finally ungripped his delusional fingernails from his wall of make-believe, just giddy days ago. madonna save him now!

let me see  -who might be next?

clutch your crucifixes, dare to believe! karmic exorcism is at hand!

writing two new pieces on the piano, one gospel funk blues, and a folkclassical, so had some fun with those.

did the ironing and almost subtly escaped getting pulled into an argument....got in touch with my unelaborated inner royally-cranky-budding tantrum throwing child...recouped a few cycles later, damage limitation kicked in and peace overtures recommenced.

took bipolar self to bath, bed and laptop.

logged on, commenced to ramble irredeemably...

electron disturbance regrettably under-cir-concised.

a little blogging is a terrible thing...

another millennial mayday, and many more to you all!


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Comments >> (3 comments)

towards a more visionary, futuristic, and humble attitude to energy. w/poll

by melo Sat Apr 29th, 2006 at 07:53:03 PM EST

    i'm deeply hoping that the pressure from the eu (still burning from chernobyl fallout), continues on eastern-bloc countries seeking to join the eu and expand their reliance upon nuclear power.

however, gas is another oil, in that it's very optimistic to expect further easy big finds, and russia sadly has yet to evince more than little of the kind of stability, transparency, and global reponsibility one would desire before meriting commitment of beserk amounts of capital from  its neighbours, and commitments to huge investments in pipelines etc in a dwindling, probably soon-finite geological resource to a politburo, i n turn whose commitment to social democracy is too recent and inexperienced to deserve such (ingenuous) trust.

  -  said investments, if instead invested in education, conservation, insulation and sustainable sources of (ok relatively!) infinite sources of generously given, (and mostly unavailed of) natural energy such as sun-wind, tidal moon-water, largescale rainfall trapping and then transforming into irrigation and ram-pump micro-hydropower electricity generation, ponds as spirulina food creation, aquaculture, and algae for biodiesel etc etc..... (deep, teutonic pause for wind, both in and out-going)  

....would be a much less risky and more futuristic, visionary road to travel.

  if we can go to the moon, surely we can create bodies of water which can help to absorb runoff when rivers like the danube burst their banks.

  - if nuclear didn't exist, we wouldn't be tempted by these cement monuments to hubris and control-freakery, and would throw ourselves into the exciting work of scaling way, way down our fossil foolery and turning our attention to dropping all of the sundry superfluous activities that build on the back of this initial flawed premise: namely we deserve to continue stealing prometheus' fire at great, even terrifying, unfeeling risk to our descendants, rather than set things up to lay back and learn how to bathe under the warm, soft glow, at a un-icarus-like distance from the only nuclear reactor we'll ever need, and whose total energy we would never be able to make a dent in, no matter how many low-energy bulbs we left on all night, or music we left softly playing anywhere, on this planet or elsewhere in our solar system.

   -feeding the future serenity of our children into the hopper of our rushing, faithless, ignorant greed and conflicted, emotionally charged and polarised public opinion, not to mention the globally sociopathic and delusional sense of puffed-up entitlement and selfishness it reflects....

....is nuts!

   -we don't need florida oranges trucked to california and vice versa, we don't need three quarters of the landfill fodder our supermaket shelves are groaning with...

    -we don't need to be screaming up and down freeways like little jeremy clarksons in a permanent state of arrested (and should be!) adolescent development, rrrrmmmm.. rrrrmmmm..

   - we don't need to waste water, jet-spraying tobacco crops in 30+ degree midday august sun, diesel pumps yammering away sometimes  deep into the night, destroying the rich, subtle sonic tapestry of the woods and valleys, subbing it with an idiot hymn to carbon overload...

   -we don't need giant firework displays, when people are dying a few miles away homeless in the winter cold.

     -we don't need guns and bombs and space domination and phallus wagging displays of nationalistic, (seperatist faking as uniting) pseudo emotion.

---we do need to stop, back off, breathe, and take a long hard look at the bill of goods we are being sold, and decide who should have the power, instead of how quickly and which dubious ally to give it away to for the at-best temporary fix, carrying us on a while longer in oblivious disrespect to our appropriate place in the great, grand scheme of things.

we can keep our toys, if we can stop slapping the earth around to get it to yield what we need to run them.

lurching towards more reliance on a technology that depends on superhuman protection for tens of future generations' safety is rude, ungrateful, abusive, thuggy and a ludicrous example of false economy.

we as guests in this marvellous web of life, and we are acting like drunk arrogant fratboys in a beautiful home, destroying and despoiling, commoditising our ancestors's legacy, and annihilating hundreds of beautiful, ancient species of flora and fauna with the callous detachment of a bemused child pulling off flies' wings, or mommy or daddy sticking a knife and fork in the family dog.

   if five pigs' shit can digested in a cheap methane low tech device can provide cooking gas for an indian family, if farmers paid to not-grow. or even destroy good produce to manipulate market prices could put up windmills and grow biomass for pollution-free fuel and heating, if manufacturers' had a guild of pride in excellence at making sturdy, modular, machines that won prizes for their efficient combination of human and simple technology....

  like the windup radio, the windup LED flashlight/torch (which i have and love) windup laptops (already in prototype). bike-powered grain mills--instead of paying money to join healthclubs to burn calories produced by the earth, transforming them into...nothing but:

waste heat...
like this diary!


Comments >> (17 comments)
<< Previous 20

News and Views

 August 2022

by Bernard - Aug 1, 81 comments

Your take on this month's news

 July 2022

by Bernard - Jul 1, 225 comments

Your take on this month's news

Occasional Series
Click for full list

Top Diaries