Tempelhof referendum

After this weekend’s failed referendum, forced by Berliners wishing to keep it open, Tempelhof, the Berlin Airlift airport, used during the Cold War to support the Western part of the City, landlocked by the Soviets, will be closed in October. It’s reasonable: it’s too close to the City centre, surrounded by residential areas, and the runways are too short for modern jets. The terminal, one of the biggest buildings in Europe, built from 1936 to 1941 by Ernst Sagebiel (according to Albert Speer’s plan for rebuilding Berlin, or "Germania", the new world’s capital), should be preserved.


Full employment in France

Mr Sarkozy said it loud and clear tonight, on TF1: "Plein emploi". Full employment. Looking for something to illustrate this post, I've found this excellent video, and I've also found out that Mr Fillon had already used those two magic words.

Let's recapitulate: we have a president that was elected because of its liberal program. He was going to put France to work. He and his prime minister. Work more to earn more, they say. At the same time, he also tried to convince us that he was the one who could talk Mr Mittal (above all people...) to keep Gandrange open, and this is not very liberal-like, it sounds more like populism. Cheap populism, which is what you get when you try to marry 400 years of Colbertism with freshly found liberalism in a country accused by sacrosanct Liberal England of wasting half of the European budget on its cows. And now they've also discovered Mr. Maynard Keynes. All in one year or, by the Luxembourgish calendar, between 2 Schueberfouers.


Biofuel: filling your tank with hunger

The UN is calling for action to avoid the "silent tsunami of rising food prices which threatens to push more than 100 million people worldwide into hunger" (http://www.un.org/). Protests against rising costs of basic foods already started in Haiti, Mexico, the Philippines, Bangladesh, South Africa.... Sub-Saharan Africans continue their decades-old silent protest, dying slowly, quietly, dryly.
I recall now the bad feeling I had last year when I read about Bush's visit to ethanol-driven

Biofuel production is said to be responsible for at least one third of the recent increase in food prices. It was already being called “deforestation fuel”. Now it’s also “hunger fuel”.

But it’s bio. «Quand je dors chez mon copain, on mange tout le temps bio» (Sanseverino, «Cette conne m'ennuie»).


Big political issue

The Vel'ohs are becoming the biggest political issue in Luxembourg City, which demonstrates vehemently the opposition's improficiency. First, someone asked a professional biker to test the bikes and to let us know that they're too heavy and that the brakes are not very good (who cares? they're built to be ridden at a relaxed pace, to cruise along bike paths and enjoy the ride). Now the CSV in questioning the security of payments made with credit cards at the Vel'oh stations.


OLEFA: The next generation school portal: Made in Luxembourg

"OLEFA is a collaborative web platform for schools offering a suite of cool web applications: school website management, library management & online books , collaborative writing tools (wiki), online comics & storytelling and much more...

The school-communities of 27 townships and over 50 schools in Luxembourg currently use OLEFA, 8.948 students and teachers are using the system by now. There are 25.209 collaborative wiki pages. 116.104 books are registered in 81 libraries."

From olefaschool.org. More details also at kirps.com.


Clearflow: Microsoft and traffic jams

Microsoft is launching a new web-based software tool to help drivers avoid traffic jams in 72 cities in the United States. It will be freely available at Live.com.

I wonder if it will also show people how to drive back from Vista to XP.

Sorry guys, I'm not going in that direction.

Peeping Tom in Luxembourg

A man has been arrested this weekend, for using a mini camera hidden in his shoe to look up skirts, at Auchan. WTF?!


Flemish Apartheid

If the recurrent language restrictions in Flanders were being imposed in a non-european country, protesters would already be camping in front of that country's embassies. Where is Europe going? (again?)

(see also easyexpat.blogexpat.com)


Where I Lay My Head (and my bones...) Is Home: Some statistical facts about dual citizenship in Luxembourg

(see the original charts in http://www.statistiques.public.lu/)

The red line at the bottom of the chart represents the number of foreigners that actually died in Luxembourg from 2001 to 2006 (arithmetic mean: 613 per year). Compare it with the blue line at the the top(arithmetic mean: 3133). Luxembourgers/foreigners death percentages: 83,6 / 16,4 %. Luxembourgers/foreigners total population percentages: 61,2 / 38,8 % (arithmetic means per year, again). Now think that some (most? half?) of this foreigners didn't choose to die in Luxembourg (road or work accident, sudden death, whatever...).
Surprised? I'm not.

And I'm also not too keen on the traditional idea of patriotism. In fact, I think most of it is a bunch of nonsense, and "national" traditions just a model for those who are too lazy or too stupid to think for themselves. But I do believe in citizenship, in responsibility, in rights and duties. The kind of citizenship built in Europe after the French Revolution (but not in France, it seems...).

There is no true citizenship without integration. The dual citizenship law in Luxembourg will only serve economical purposes. Luxembourg needs citizens, not "nationals", and those can not be created by law. True integration will come later, when people will be willing to die in Luxembourg. That's why I see no point in the "patriotic debate". It's only a question of money, a question of labour force. The patriotic debate will eventually boost up some clever (sorry for the incoherence) extreme right political formation, and that's it.

I also find the linguistic question to be a joke in a country with three official languages ("triglossie", they call it, in French...). But the language tests can be a good thing. In fact language tests can help improve the Luxembourgish statistics on accidents at work. It's different to be able to understand "José, bring me that cement bucket" (level A2) or "José, bring me that cement bucket without falling off the scaffold" (level B1).


Vel'oh! hoax

Someone at RTL Radio Luxembourg thougth that the Vel'ohs were just asking for an April Fools' Day hoax ... and shot himself in the foot!

The hoax was about swapping an old bicycle for a Vel-oh!'s annual subscription. The City decided to fight back, and play the game:

"La Ville de Luxembourg s'était inspirée de l'action «poisson d'avril» organisée par RTL Radio Lëtzebuerg le 1er avril pour proposer aux intéressés de déposer leurs vieux vélos le 2 avril entre 15h et 16h devant l'Hôtel de Ville, place Guillaume II. En contrepartie la ville a pu offrir 35 abonnements d'un an à vel'oh!

La ville projette d'utiliser tous ou une partie des vieux vélos dans le cadre de l'action «Mei oder manner», ayant pour but d'engager les enfants des écoles primaires à prendre leurs responsabilités et de susciter leur compréhension envers la nature et l'environnement.

Merci à tous ceux qui ont joué le jeu !" (in vdl.lu)


The old "Veräinshaus" in Differdange

I don't understand this country. Is it so difficult to see some cultural and patrimonial value in this XIX century (the entrance gate is older) building in Differdange?

The fabrique d'Église(laymen association in catholic parishes) wants to sell it (one million euros). The Secretary of State for Culture wants to preserve it. According to L'Essentiel, this is another political dispute between central and local governments over the possession of land.

Either way, couldn't they preserve the old building and use it for community purposes? Just the idea of preserving it would serve per se a very strong community purpose - it would help keeping the city's collective memory and it would strengthen the sense of identity of its habitants.

I'm sure they could find another place to build this ... thing:


Tim Buckley / Song To The Siren

YouTube rules...

"Long afloat on shipless oceans
I did all my best to smile
'til your singing eyes and fingers
Drew me loving to your isle
And you sang
Sail to me
Sail to me
Let me enfold you
Here I am
Here I am
Waiting to hold you

Did I dream you dreamed about me?
Were you hare when I was fox?
Now my foolish boat is leaning
Broken lovelorn on your rocks,
For you sing, touch me not, touch me not, come back tomorrow:
O my heart, o my heart shies from the sorrow

I am puzzled as the oyster
I am troubled as the tide:
Should I stand amid your breakers?
Should I lie with death my bride?
Hear me sing, swim to me, swim to me, let me enfold you:
Here I am, here I am, waiting to hold you"

Herbert James Draper - Ulysses and the Sirens (1909)

'Come here,' they sang, 'renowned Ulysses, honour to the Achaean name, and listen to our two voices. No one ever sailed past us without staying to hear the enchanting sweetness of our song- and he who listens will go on his way not only charmed, but wiser, for we know all the ills that the gods laid upon the Argives and Trojans before Troy, and can tell you everything that is going to happen over the whole world.'

(The Odyssey, by Homer, written 800 B.C.E, translated by Samuel Butler, here)

Tom Waits - European Tour Petition

Update: European dates here!

"To: ANTI Records

I have been a Tom Waits fan for many years now, yet have never been lucky enough to see him in a live setting; I wasnt born at the time he performed in Scotland and couldnt get tickets to see him at his last appearance in the UK in London in 2003. It is with this petition that I hope to appeal for a European tour - however small - to iron-out the inequities wrought by Time and to see one of the most original and electrifying musicians of our era.

C. MacIntyre


The Tom Waits - European Tour Petition to ANTI Records was created by and written by Chris MacIntyre (chris_mac159@hotmail.com). This petition is hosted here at http://www.petitiononline.com/petition.html as a public service."