government, TV

Borgen – Season 1 (2010)

Lists of BEST NATIONS typically include Denmark close to the top.

But their government seems as chaotic as any.

Borgen is a Danish political drama television series. 

In DanishBorgen, lit. ’The Castle’, is the informal name of Christiansborg Palace where all three branches of Danish government reside: the Parliament, the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Supreme Court, and is often used as a figure of speech for the Danish government. …

… against all the odds, Birgitte Nyborg Christensen (Sidse Babett Knudsen)—a minor centrist politician—becomes the first female prime minister of Denmark. …

On Netflix the English voice over and captions are hilariously bad. BUT I did enjoy the characters and story lines. It gets great reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

Newsweek called Borgen “the best TV show you have never seen”.

NY Times:  “bleaker, Nordic version of The West Wing

A U.S. remake of the series is planned.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

cycling, ethics, government, health & fitness, hiking, travel

I’m fully vaccinated

😀 Send me ALL the vaccine passports.

I got dose #1 of “Covishield”, the Indian version of Oxford–AstraZeneca, March 18th. NO — I’m not worried about blood clots.

I was in the first 7.76% of Canadians to get jabbed.

When Alberta started allowing the second dose of AstraZeneca after only 4 weeks, I signed up. Got jab #2 on April 16th.

Sounds like Vaccine Passports are a terrible idea.

But it’s inevitable that something like this will become required for international travel for many months. Or years.

books, ethics, government, human rights, TV

Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell

Faceless Killers is a 1991 crime novel by the Swedish writer Henning Mankell, and the first in his acclaimed Wallander series.

Happily, the audio book is read by one of my favourites — Dick Hill — of the excellent Jack Reacher and Harry Bosch series. Hill has 542 audio books, last time I checked.

Inspector Kurt Wallander is called out to a seemingly senseless and brutal murder on a Swedish farm.

Wallander is forty-two-years-old. His wife left him unexpectedly 3 months earlier. He’s constantly worried about his estranged daughter. And unsure whether his own elderly father can continue living alone out on another farm.

Also, he’s gaining weight.

Uncoordinated. Accident prone.

Near broke.

Troubled, to say the least.

Author Henning Mankell was a left-wing social critic and activist. 

But the themes of the book include Sweden’s liberal attitude regarding immigrationracism and national identity. The character Wallander is conflicted.

Kenneth Branagh is one of the actors who’s played Wallander in adaptations.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

ethics, government, science

World’s First Genetically-modified Babies

He Jiankui has been jailed in China for 3 years. And fined US$430,000.

He’s the researcher who’s work led to the world’s first gene-edited babies known as Lulu and Nana in 2018.

Their father was HIV positive. Mother HIV negative.

His goal was to edit their genes to be highly resistant to HIV using CRISPR.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

education, ethics, government, health & fitness

What Nations come out of COVID-19 Strongest?

There’s an argument that governments should have let the pandemic run its course. Kept most things open as Sweden did at the beginning. More early deaths, more illness, more long long-haul side effects.

Leaders leaning this way include Trump, Nicaragua’s Ortega, Brazil’s Bolsonaro, Mexico’s Obrador, Belarus’s Lukashenko, Turkmenistan’s Berdimuhamedow, Cambodia’s Hun Sen, Tanzania’s Magufuli.

Populists pandering to their dumbest voters.

When the pandemic ends we’ll be able to calculate which nations survived best: economically, educationally, healthiest. It won’t be any of those nations. They will include New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, Iceland, Senegal, Denmark, Saudi Arabia.

ethics, government, human rights

Staying Quiet helps the Oppressor

Elie Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. 

Immediately after they were sent to Auschwitz, his mother and his younger sister were murdered.

Wiesel and his father were selected to perform labor so long as they remained able-bodied, after which they were to be killed in the gas chambers.

Wiesel and his father were later deported to the concentration camp at Buchenwald. …

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
     Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Quote by German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller 
ethics, GOP USA, government, movies

Movie – Trial of the Chicago 7

On the 51st anniversary of the trial verdict, Netflix put this film on YouTube for free.

 It’s the true story of the seven people on trial (eight including Bobby Seale) for protesting the Vietnam War at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The film depicts both the courtroom drama and circus surrounding the trial, as well as the protests in which people were beaten by Chicago police for expressing their constitutional rights. …

The Wrap

Sacha Baron Cohen plays Abbie Hoffman.

Sacha Baron Cohen has become the conscience of the American people. Certainly a hero of mine.

Born in England, of course.

Any thinking person in 2021 knows that the Vietnam War was a huge mistake.

80% of Americans once supported that war, fearing Communism. 80% of Americans were wrong.

The Chicago 7 were right. Mohammad Ali was right.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

government, humour

In praise of a Trump dictatorship

Sacha Baron Cohen is a genius.

The Dictator is a 2012 political satire comedy … with the dictator of the fictional Republic of Wadiya visiting the United States. …

Paramount Pictures described the film as “the heroic story of a North African dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.” …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

books, ethics, government

A Spy Among Friends by Ben Macintyre

Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

More entertaining than the fiction of Graham Greene, Ian Fleming, or John Le Carré.

In the case of Philby, truth stranger than fiction.

I can see how Kim Philby evaded detection for so long — but not Guy Burgess. He was a hopeless alcoholic looking for trouble, yet kept getting promoted.

Those closest to him—like his fellow MI6 officer and best friend since childhood, Nicholas Elliot, and the CIA’s head of counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton—knew him as a loyal confidant and an unshakeable patriot.

Philby was a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain’s counterintelligence against the Soviet Union. Together with Elliott and Angleton he stood on the front lines of the Cold War, holding Communism at bay. But he was secretly betraying them both: He was working for the Russians the entire time. 

Amazon