22/12/2011

Apres Vous : Post Dec. 11 and Geneva Trams

tram 13.pngDecember 11, 2011 witnessed a major re-organization of the Geneva tram system. Some lines have disappeared - Oh where oh where has my Number 13 gone? - while others are supposed to be operating with greater frequency. I have started meticulously timing my waits for the Number 12 since it is the only line left into the city from Carouge.

Someone took away my tram 13 in exchange, they said, for better service. I am constantly checking if that is actually happening. And I won't even mention the sprints at Plainpalais to change from Number 12 to 15! There is more physical action there running to change trams than in my gym on the treadmills.

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15:07 Publié dans Geneva, Me | Lien permanent | Commentaires (1) |  Imprimer |  Facebook | | | |

20/12/2011

What Do Elections Tell Us About Switzerland and the U.S.?

The Swiss Parliament has just chosen the country's seven Federal Councilors. The United States' Grand Electors will be voting for the President of the United States in the autumn. (The similarities in the two processes show how the Constitution of Switzerland mirrors the U.S. Constitution and how both countries shy away from having the citizens directly choose their leaders.) Beside the technical, electoral process, what is also fascinating is how fundamentally conservative are both electors. The center-right almost always wins national elections.

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09:00 Publié dans Switzerland, USA | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) |  Imprimer |  Facebook | | | |

14/12/2011

Occupy Wall Street Searching for New Venues

Winter is approaching. The occupiers of the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS) could be running out of steam because of the cold. Camping out in downtown New York in December is a true test of political fortitude. In addition, impressive muscular interventions by police have cleared out several of the protest sights across the United States. Many of the loyal are now behind bars.

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09/12/2011

Secretary Clinton’s Geneva Drop By

clinton Hillary coiffé.pngUnited States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Geneva for a short visit this week. The presence of the U.S. Secretary of State anywhere in the world is a major event. Those who complained about security measures at the United Nations Office and inconveniences in its neighborhood should be reminded of the power and importance of such events. Like it or not, Mrs. Clinton represents the world's major power - whatever that means - and is an important actor in her own right. Imagine the level of excitement if President Obama came to Geneva!

Mrs. Clinton "dropped by" Geneva in the midst of a whirlwind European tour, graphically described in the December 7 Tribune de Genève.

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11:50 Publié dans Geneva, UNO, USA | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) |  Imprimer |  Facebook | | | |

02/12/2011

Plus ca Change: US-Russia

The Cold War is supposed to be over. Unlike formal wars, the Cold War was not ended by a peace treaty, but there has been general agreement that with the end of the Soviet Union, the tensions between Russia and the United States are not what they were for over 40 years. No more Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), no more sirens in New York City with terrified school children trembling under their desks, no more pounding shoes on the table at the United Nations, no more massive buildup of troops in Central Europe. Welcome to détente, welcome to looking in Putin's eyes to see a man we can do business with, welcome to resetting the button between the two countries.

All of this comes to mind with three recent events. The death of Svetlana Stalina, the only daughter and last surviving child of Josef Stalin, brought back headlines about the cruel dictator still revered by certain people. Indeed, his statute remained in the town square of his birthplace Gori in Georgia until June 2010, over 50 years after his death in 1953. (There were confrontations about its removal. I am still waiting for the removal of Lenin's tomb from the Kremlin.)

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