Archive for January, 2010

What would Cyrus the Great make of it?

January 24th, 2010 by Roger Darlington

There’s something more than faintly ironic about the argument between a democratic state like Britain and an authoritarian nation like Iran over an artefact that some claim is the first proclamation of human rights in history. I refer to the British Museum object known as the Cyrus cylinder and you can read about the dispute […]

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Earthquakes as killers

January 23rd, 2010 by Roger Darlington

The web site today carries this interesting information: “Nearly every day of the year, somewhere on earth, an earthquake occurs. Most happen in unpopulated areas, or are so mild that they go unnoticed by the general public. But, there are about 18 major earthquakes a year, with those of the strongest intensity occurring about […]

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Time to break up the banks

January 22nd, 2010 by Roger Darlington

So now we have the news that Barack Obama wants to get tough with Wall Street and ensure that banks that borrow and lend do not engage in speculation and risk. Effectively this is a return to the sort of regime introduced by the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 – a response to the Great Depression. […]

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We are but a speck …

January 21st, 2010 by Roger Darlington

… in time and space.

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Holocaust Memorial Day

January 20th, 2010 by Roger Darlington

Here in the UK, in one week’s time, it will be Holocaust Memorial Day. You can light a virtual candle candle and access information materials here. Of course, the Holocaust is a huge and complex subject but I found this book really informative and insightful.

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Two British views of the British General Election

January 19th, 2010 by Roger Darlington

Nick Cohen fears that Labour could be heading for a massive defeat in a few months’ time – see this blog posting. He could be right. But try this for an alternative scenario: the Conservatives win the largest number of seats but no overall majority, go to the polls again in May 2011, and a […]

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An American view of the British General Election

January 19th, 2010 by Roger Darlington

Of course, the British General Election has not been called yet, but it has to be in the next five months and it will probably be on Thursday 6 May 2010. So it’s interesting to read this American view on the forthcoming poll. Especially useful is the graph about the imbalance between votes and seats […]

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How is Obama doing? (3)

January 19th, 2010 by Roger Darlington

Tomorrow Barack Obama will have been US President exactly one year and there’s lots of media analysis on his challenging and troubled first year. In this piece, it points out: “A poll for the Pew Research Centre last month showed that 84% of Democratic party voters identified as liberal believe the president is doing an […]

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How is Obama doing? (2)

January 18th, 2010 by Roger Darlington

In this piece in today’s “Guardian”, Gary Younge brings a dose of reality to the discussion: “Yes, there are grounds for disappointment. Bush’s torture infrastructure has been left largely intact, the Iraq withdrawal has been extended by two years and the healthcare reform debate might have panned out differently had he led more decisively. But […]

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How is Obama doing? (1)

January 17th, 2010 by Roger Darlington

Whenever I contemplate this question, I’m tempted to recall what Chou En-lai said when asked what he thought of the French Revolution: “It’s too soon to tell.” After all, Obama is only one year into a four-year term and hopefully will have eight years in the White House. But there’s no doubt that he’s under […]

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