Politik

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Stamcellskriget i USA

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Ingenting visar hur extrema dagens republikaner har blivit som deras beslut att med alla medel stoppa stamcellsforskningen i USA. Newsweek har en bra artikel om denna kulturkampf utan like i modern historia.

Det verkar i dagens läge som om USA kommer att förhindra forskning på stamcellsområdet som, som Newsweek omtalar, skulle kunna bota sjukdomar hos inte mindre än 100 miljoner amerikaner.

Men miljoner amerikaner vägrar att befatta sig med den moderna världen utan lever i sin egen bibel-värld. Detta är de sanna reaktionärerna.


Embryonic-stem-cell research, while still in its infancy, has the potential to treat or perhaps even cure the more than 100 million Americans who suffer an array of illnesses and conditions, from heart disease to spinal-cord injuries. Scientists say the cells could be one of the greatest revolutions in modern medicine—and half of American voters support using taxpayer dollars to fund the research, according to the NEWSWEEK Poll. But because the cells are derived from days-old human embryos, the science raises thorny ethics questions, key among them: should taxpayers fund the research? As scientists and stem-cell activists push the envelope, the stakes only continue to grow.

Last week Harvard researchers reported that they had applied for university permission to clone human embryos to study models of human disease like diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Across the country in California, stem cells are the topic of dinner conversation and Hollywood cocktail parties, as supporters rally for votes on an initiative—on the Nov. 2 ballot—that would fund $3 billion worth of stem-cell research, creating a haven for science and a 21st-century gold rush for biologists and biotech companies.

Hur de amerikanska partierna är organiserade

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Economist har en mycket bra artikel om hur de två amerikanska partierna är organiserade.

Republikanerna under Bush och Karl Rove är fast beslutna att göra om USA till en en-partistat och de verkar vara på god väg att lyckas. Inte en en-partistat av sovjetisk eller nazistisk modell, utan en enpartistat efter östtysk modell. Alltså en stat med flera partier av vilka dock endast ett, det republikanska, har någon som helst möjlighet att vinna. Vi kan redan se detta i Texas där det visserligen finns ett demokratiskt parti med demokraterna i Texas röstar ofta på republikanerna.


The most obvious concerns momentum. Momentum in the presidential race may shift from day to day, but momentum in the battle to become America’s dominant party seems to be largely in the Republicans’ direction. Forty years ago, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by two to one. Today they outnumber them by just a few percentage points. Forty years ago the Democrats had a lock on Congress. This November the Republicans have a good chance of retaining control of both the House and the Senate. Forty years ago the Democrats set the political agenda. Today the Republicans are a much more fertile source of ideas on everything from foreign policy to school reform.

A second contrast lies in organisation. The Republican Party seems to be organised like a blue-chip corporation: directed from the top and tightly disciplined. The Democratic Party is much more of an “adhocracyâ€?: a collection of groupuscules that have come together for the single purpose of winning this election.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the ground war. It is generally agreed that the big prize this year will go to whichever party does the better job of getting its supporters to the polls. To this end, the Republicans have reinvented the traditional political party for the age of suburban sprawl. The party boasts an elaborate hierarchy of activists—state chairmen, county chairmen, precinct captains, local volunteers—who all have a pre-assigned role in a plan laid down in the Bush-Cheney headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. By contrast, the Democrats—ironically, given their opposition to outsourcing—have handed over most of the grunt work of registering and mobilising voters to independent groups such as MoveOn.org and America Coming Together

Folkpartiet och liberalismens fiender

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Jag hamnar av en slump på Folkpartiets hemsida. Där kan jag läsa om liberalismens fiender, och på sidan ser jag två symboler på just dessa fiender. Den ena är den nazistiska örnen med ett hakkors i klorna och den andra är vad folkpartier tror är en symbol för det kommunistiska sovjet med hammaren och skäran. (Se ovan)
Men tydligen finns det ingen inom folkpartiet som kan det minsta ryska, för inskriptionen på den sovjetiska medaljen lyder “otechestvennaya voina” alltså “Det Stora Fosterländska Kriget”. Det här är en medalj för krigstjänst under kriget och alltså inte en symbol för kommunismen som sådan. En bild på Lenin hade varit betydligt bättre.

Men vad som drar uppmärksamheten till sig är den symbol som saknas på sidan. Dessa båda symboler har lyckligtvis för länge sedan förpassats till historiens skräphög, till priset av miljoner döda.

Idag finns det ett parti som står diametralt emot allt vad den moderna liberalismen står för, och som öppet använder ordet “liberal” som skällsord, och det är det amerikanska republikanska partiet. Här är därför den symbol som FP borde sätta upp på sin sida över liberalismens fiender:

Dvs den republikanska partisymbolen.

Det finns givetvis fler fiender till liberalismen, men ingen lika mäktig. Men det är alltid säkrare att slåss mot fiender som redan är döda än att slåss mot sådana som fortfarande lever och som dessutom är mäktiga.

Intressant om den svenska amerikaemigrationen

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SVT har ett bra program om den stora svenska amerikaemigrationen som jag tyvärr inte kan se här.

Man träffar rätt ofta ättlingar efter de ursprungliga svenskemigranterna här, främst uppe i Minnesota. Men de allra flesta har mycket vaga aningar om varifrån i Sverige deras förfäder ursprungligen kom. En orsak är att de allra flesta idag bara har det svenska arvet på ena sidan.

Det finns en annan vinkel på den svenska emigrationen som jag aldrig tror har berättats. Nämligen sedd från synpunkten av de indianer som för alltid och allra oftast med våld – blev tvingade att lämna sina hem för att de svenska – och andra – immigranter skulle kunna skapa sig ett nytt liv.

Men den stora emigrationen är fortfarande viktig för hur svenskar ser på USA. Och emigrationen fortsätter än idag . En av de mer intressanta motströmmar är alla de svenskar som blev tvingade att lämna Silicon Valley när IT bubblan sprack. Och det finns också en annan, dold mot-emigration. Före den elfte september 2001 var det mycket vanligt för unga svenskar, speciellt “barnflickor”, att arbeta och bo illegalt i USA. Jag träffade själv flera stycken som kom över på turistvisum och som sedan helt enkelt stannade och jobbade svart. En sak dessa människor fick lära sig var att köra bil utan att begå det minsta misstag eftersom de inte hade giltiga amerikanska papper.

För den som är intresserad av släktforskning i USA finns det en fantastisk websajt som drivs av mormonerna. www.familysearch.org

Man kan faktiskt använda den sajten för att släktforska i Sverige också eftersom jag tror personinformationen i alla svenska länsarkiv har mikrofotograferats och överförts till den här sajten.

Frihet att läsa?

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Bilden visar Princetonuniverstetets Firestone Library.

USA har några av världens bästa bibliotek. Jag läste t.ex. en stor del av Strindberg på Princeton-universitetets magnifika Firestone Library.

Men idag har den republikanska regeringen beslutat att amerikaner inte längre skall ha oinskränkt frihet att läsa. Den s.k. Patriot Act ger amerikanska myndigheter rätten att ta reda på vad vi läser utan att först gå till en öppen domstol. Allt sker bakom lykta dörrar. De amerikanska bibliotekarierna har kämpat mot den här lagen men republikanerna har nu stoppat en ny lag som skulle ge tillbaks amerikanerna friheten att läsa.

Alternet har mer om den här utomordentligt allvarliga inskränkningen av den amerikanska demokratin.

Den amerikanska biblioteksföreningen ALA har mer om detta.

Sinclairs TV-bolag och valet

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I en av de mest bisarra händelserna i ett mycket bisarrt presidenval har det starkt höger-inriktade TV-bolaget Sinclair Broadcast Group beslutat sig för att visa en utomordentligt otäck anti-Karry film alldeles före valet.

Liksom Robert Murdocks Fox TV gör Sinclairs TV-stationer inga som helst försök att vara opartiska. De utgör en viktig del av Bushs propagandamaskin.

Men Sinclairs beslut har väckt en våg av protester, t.om inom de egna leden. Idag har Sinclair avskedat sin byrochef i Washington för att han protesterade mot filmen.

Det här är något man bör studera i Sverige eftersom det är svårt att ha demokratiska val om det ena partiet äger de stora TV-bolagen och om det inte finns några regler för att dessa bolag behöver vara objektiva.

Alternet har mer om kontroversen

Sjukfrånvaro i USA

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Jag blev intressead av att jämföra sjukfrånvaron i USA och Sverige och gick därför till Bureau of Labor Stacsticisdär jag hittade massvis med information

Det borde vara enkelt för en statistiker och sociolog att göra en jämförelse mellan situationen i de två länderna. Begreppet utbrändhet existerar inte här idag trots att det ursprungligen kommer härifrån. Själv tror jag att det är någon slags masspsykos men jag har givetvis inga som helst belägg för det.

Men sjukfrånvaron här verkar helt bero på fysiska skador.

Lost-worktime Injuries and Illnesses: Characteristics and Resulting Time Away From Work, 2002

A total of 1.4 million injuries and illnesses in private industry required
recuperation away from work beyond the day of the incident in 2002, according to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. The two occupations with the
greatest number of such injuries and illnesses – truck drivers and nursing aides, orderlies,
and attendants – offer examples of the characteristics of these cases.

Of the 112,200 injured truck drivers, 93 percent were men. Half of their injuries were sprains or strains, often to the trunk or lower extremities, stemming from overexertion, contacts with
objects or equipment, or falls. In contrast, 91 percent of the 79,000 injured nursing aides
and related workers were women. They predominantly suffered sprains and strains to
their trunk (typically their back), due to overexertion related to lifting or moving patients.

In goods-producing industries such as construction and manufacturing, which
make up about 20 percent of private industry employment but account for one-third of
injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work, contact with objects and equipment
– such as being struck by an object – was the most prevalent event. This is in contrast to
service-producing industries, which make up 80 percent of private industry employment
and account for two-thirds of the most severe injuries and illnesses. In these industries,
overexertion – especially overexertion by lifting – was the most prevalent event (chart 1).

* those requiring at least one day away from work, with or without job transfer or
restricted work activity; and

* those requiring only job transfer or restricted work activity.

In 2002, there were 1.4 million cases requiring at least one day away from work and are
the focus of this release. There were over 1,000,000 cases of injuries and illnesses
reported in 2002 with only job transfer or restricted work activity.

Ten occupations accounted for one-third of the cases requiring recuperation away
from work. Truck drivers experienced the most injuries and illnesses with 112,200
requiring days away from work followed by nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants with
79,000 and nonconstruction laborers with 76,600 (chart 2).

Sprains and strains, most often involving the back, accounted for 43 percent of
injuries and illnesses resulting in days away from work in 2002. When sprains and
strains, bruises and contusions, cuts and lacerations, and fractures are combined, they
accounted for nearly two-thirds of the cases with days away from work (chart 3).

Worker demographics and case characteristics

Demographic characteristics. BLS collects data on gender, age, length of service with
the employer at the time of the incident, and race or ethnic origin of workers sustaining
an injury or illness resulting in days away from work (tables 1, 2, and 7). Worker
demographics can be used to identify specific traits and patterns that may be relevant in
efforts to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses. Following are highlights of these
worker traits for 2002:

* Men accounted for 65 percent of total cases (1.4 million), which is higher than
their share of the hours worked, 59 percent. Of the 372,200 cases reported in
the services industry, women made up 64 percent of these cases, compared
with their employment share of 60 percent.

* Injuries and illnesses to workers aged 20 to 44 accounted for 64 percent of all
injured workers, about the same as their share of hours worked in 2002, 62
percent. Although workers aged 65 and over accounted for only a small
portion (1.7 percent) of total injuries and illnesses, 61 percent of these cases
occurred in the services and retail trade industries.

* Operators, fabricators, and laborers experienced more injuries and illnesses
than any other major occupational group (552,900) in 2002. Within this
occupation group, 36 percent of these cases occurred in the manufacturing
industry.

* Employees with one to five years of service with their employer accounted for
37 percent of all injuries and illnesses sustained, while workers with more
experience (more than 5 years of service) made up 29 percent of total cases in
2002.

* Of the black, non-Hispanic workers who sustained an injury or illness
(114,500) in 2002, 40 percent of these cases occurred in the services industry.
Hispanic workers accounted for 13 percent of total cases and most of these
injuries and illnesses were in the services (39,900) and the manufacturing
(39,500) industries.

Case characteristics. The survey uses four case characteristics to describe each event that
led to an injury or illness that involved one or more days away from work. These
characteristics include:

* nature – the physical characteristics of the disabling injury or illness, such as
cuts/lacerations, fractures, or sprains/strains;

* part of body affected – directly linked to the nature of injury or illness cited,
such as back, finger, or eye;

* event or exposure – the manner in which the injury or illness was produced or
inflicted, such as falls, overexertion, or repetitive motion; and

* source – the object, substance, exposure, or bodily motion that directly
produced or inflicted the disabling condition, such as chemicals, vehicles, or
machinery.

For example a nursing aide strains his or her back while lifting a health care
patient. The nature, or physical characteristic, is a sprain/strain; the part of body affected
is the back; the event or exposure is overexertion in lifting; and the source is health care
patient. Case characteristics can be used to help identify specific workplace risks for
disabling injuries and illnesses (tables 4-6 and 9). Following are highlights of the 2002
findings for these characteristics:

* Sprains and strains were the leading nature of injury or illness in every major
industry division in 2002, with 29 percent of these cases occurring in the
services industry.

* The trunk, which includes shoulder and back, was by far the part of body most
affected by work incidents, accounting for 36 percent of all cases. The
services industry had the highest number of injuries to the trunk with 28
percent of these cases.

* Overexertion and contact with objects and equipment accounted for more than
half of all events or exposures that resulted in a disabling condition. Thirty
percent of all overexertion cases were reported in the services industry, while
25 percent of injuries and illnesses resulting from contact with objects and
equipment occurred in the manufacturing industry.

* Floors, walkways, and ground surfaces; worker motion or position;
containers; and parts and materials accounted for 57 percent of reported cases
in private industry and were the leading sources of injury and illness in 2002.

Musculoskeletal disorders

The U.S. Department of Labor defines a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) as an
injury or disorder of the muscles, nerves, tendons, joints, cartilage, and spinal discs.
MSDs do not include disorders caused by slips, trips, falls, motor vehicle accidents, or
similar accidents. In 2002, MSDs accounted for 487,900, or 34 percent, of the injuries
and illnesses with days away from work. Table A presents the number of MSDs by major
industry division, and table B presents the occupations with the most musculoskeletal
disorders in 2002.

* The services industry reported the most musculoskeletal disorders, accounting for
29 percent of all cases of this type.

* The manufacturing industry reported 21 percent of all MSD cases.

* Nursing aides, orderlies, and attendants had the highest number of
musculoskeletal disorders (44,400) in 2002, followed by truck drivers with 36,800
MSD cases.

Table A. Number (in 1,000s) of work-related musculoskeletal disorders involving days away from
work and median days away from work by major industry division, 2002

Number Median
days away from work

Total musculoskeletal disorders 487.9 9

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing 6.6 9

Mining 3.3 23

Construction

Lost-worktime Injuries and Illnesses: Characteristics and Resulting Time Away From Work, 2002

42.9 12

Manufacturing 101.4 12

Transportation and public utilities 58.2 13

Wholesale trade 38.6 8

Retail trade 85.1 7

Finance, insurance, and real estate 11.7 10

Lost-worktime Injuries and Illnesses: Characteristics and Resulting Time Away From Work, 2002
Services 140.2 7

Google-konkurrensen

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New York Times har en bra artikel om hur Google-avund nu har lett till en intensifiering av konkurrensen på sökområdet. Denna konkurrens är utomordentligt bra för IT-världen som inte har sett speciellt många nya uppfinningar sedan den IT bubblan sprack.


SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 17 – Propelled by Google envy, new players and Internet industry giants are rushing into the online search market, setting off a burst of activity that contrasts sharply with the lull after the dot-com collapse.

To fend off its challengers, Google has furiously intensified efforts to add new services to its brand.

Last Thursday, it introduced Google Desktop Search, a program that is a direct challenge to Microsoft’s control of desktop computing because it searches for information on a user’s personal computer as well as on the Web.

In recent weeks, Google has also announced Google Print, to compete against the Search-Inside-the-Book feature of Amazon, and Google SMS, a new software tool for searching the Web from cellphones.

But despite its push into new areas, some experts say that Google may be vulnerable because the search market, one of the Internet’s most profitable areas, will increasingly be shaped by brand and other nontechnology factors. And that shift may play to the advantage of larger competitors like Microsoft and Yahoo.

In fact, Google’s urgency in releasing a desktop search program shows that it knows the fight over search is moving to new ground.

Google’s smaller rivals have also introduced new services in recent weeks. Amazon brought out A9, a search engine that allows users to maintain a running history of their Web travels. Vivisimo introduced Clusty, a search engine that uses artificial intelligence techniques to categorize search results. And Idealab, an investment company based in Southern California, has presented Snap, a search engine that permits easy sorting of search results.

Senatsvalen i USA

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Daily Kos har en ypperlig översikt över situationen i de amerikanska senatsvalen. Om Bush vinner valet, som nu verkar mer och mer troligt, så är det viktigt att demokraterna i alla fall är så starka i senaten som möjligt.


Mon Oct 18th, 2004 at 16:48:30 GMT

Here’s an overview for those who don’t follow the ups and downs of the various Senate contests obsessively.

We start with a Republican advantage of 51-48-1 (with the independent caucusing with Democrats). We need a net gain of two seats to take back the Senate. We can hold it 50-50 if Kerry wins, but it would necessitate the same sort of power-sharing agreement Daschle wrestled out of the GOP in 2000. And such an agreement would close down the Senate. It would be better to either hold the Senate outright, or not have it so Kerry can run against Senate Republican “obstructionists” in 2006 and 2008.

Here are the battleground Senate seats, ranked by chance of switch. Oh, and I don’t do “toss-up”, as I find it a sort of cop-out, like “50% chance of rain”.

1. Illinois (R open seat):
The big question here is whether Democrat Barack Obama will get more than 75 percent of the vote. This one is so in the bag, as Republican carpetbagger Alan Keyes makes an ass out of himself, that Obama has spent more time campaigning for other candidates than himself.

Definite Dem pickup

2. Georgia (D open seat):
While Denise Majette has showed some life as of late, this race will mark a switch from Republican-pretending-to-be-Democrat Zell Miller to a bona fide Republican.

Likely Rep pickup

3. Colorado (R open seat):
Proven Colorado vote getter — Democratic Attorney General Ken Salazar — has held solid leads in polls against bad-beer maker Peter Coors. Coors has lots of money, and the NRSC is dumping a lot of cash into the state, so we can’t put this one in our column just yet.

Leans Dem pickup

4. South Carolina (D open seat):
Republican Jim DeMint looked to be running away with the race against Democrat Inez Tenenbaum. Then the DSCC ran some of the most effective ads of any race this cycle — hammering DeMint for his proposed national sales tax. Throw in outsourcing as an issue in this textile state, and suddenly Inez is nipping at DeMint’s heels. If the election were held today, the state’s strong Red bent would give DeMint the victory. But the election is not today, and Inez has the momentum.

Leans Rep pickup

5. Oklahoma (R open seat):
We shouldn’t be competitive in Oklahoma, but we have a hell of a candidate in Brad Carson, and they have a candidate from hell in Tom Coburn. Carson weathered Coburn’s post-primary bump, and has held consistent, if erratic, leads in subsequent polling.

Leans Dem pickup

6. Alaska (R incumbent):
Another state where Dems shouldn’t be competitive. But we have a super candidate in former governor Tony Knowles. The incumbent is Republican Lisa Murkowski, who was appointed to the seat by her daddy when he moved in to the governor’s mansion. Her father’s short tenure as governor hasn’t been smooth sailing, while the nepotism issue has haunted Lisa from day one. Meanwhile, Knowles has run the perfect, error-free campaign.

Leans Dem pickup

7. North Carolina (D open seat):
Democrat Erskine Bowles held strong leads through most of the summer, but after enduring a barrage of negative ads from Richard Burr and the NRSC, that lead has evaporated into a dead heat. If the election where held today, Bowles would eeke out a narrow victory. But the election is not today, and Burr has the momentum.

Leans Dem retention

8. Kentucky (R incumbent):
This race shouldn’t be on the radar screen, but Republican incumbent Jum Bunning is literally falling apart. His erratic and bizarre behavior has raised alarm bells in the state’s media, and the beneficiary has been Democratic long-shot Dan Mongiardo. Bunning still has the advantages of incumbency in a Red state, but those are eroding by the day, alongside Bunning’s mental faculties.

Leans Rep retention

9. South Dakota (D incumbent):
Depending on the poll, Senate majority leader Tom Daschle is either up comfortable, or up narrowly. One or two outliers (Rasmussent) have shown his republican opponent, John Thune, with a narrow lead. Dascle is the only Democratic incumbent in any danger this cycle, but Daschle has weathered many a close race as a Democrat in this solidly Red state. And SD Democrats have proven they can win, given their hold on the state’s two Senate seats and at-large House seat. Those victories are never easy, however.

Leans Dem retention.

10. Louisiana (D open seat):
Since reconstruction, Lousiana has not sent a Republican to the Senate, and this year should be no different. The wild-card in this race is the runoff. This seat will be decided in a December runoff election between Republican Daivd Vitter and either Chris John or John Kennedy for the Dems. If Kerry wins the White House, and control of the Senate comes down to this race, the GOP will be able to make a compelling case for divided government.

Leans Dem retention

11. Florida (D open seat):
This year’s hurricane season has made this Senate race something of a bust (no one thinks politics while they’re trying to rebuild their lives). Castor has had the early advantage, though Martinez has been pounding her for alleged ties to accused terrorist sympathizer Al-Arian. Castor just turned the tables on Martinez, running a hard-hitting ad featuring a picture of Al-Arian with George Bush. This race is down in the gutter, but I’m giving Castor the edge given the strong GOTV operation in the state on behalf of Democrats.

Leans Dem retention