Archive for switzerland

Overnight: Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes (UNESCO/NHK)

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Rhaetian Railway
Photo: Harold Cunningham/Getty on the BBC website linked to below.

I saw this feature:

The Swiss Train Tourists Don't Take (BBC)

about the Rhaetian Railway the other day on the BBC website then realized there might be a video.

'Rhaetia' - also spelled 'Raetia was a province of the Roman empire which is now part of Switzerland. The map on this Wiki will show you where: Rhaetia

I've always found it interesting because languages fascinate me and, while it's spoken by very few people, it is still one of the four official languages of Switzerland. You can learn more about it here: Romansh/Romansch

From the Wiki

Romansh is a descendant of the spoken Latin language of the Roman Empire, which replaced the Celtic and Raetic languages previously spoken in the area by the 5th century AD

I also love trains, which is why this video is here. Enjoy.

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Overnight: John Oliver Explains FIFA

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FIFA soccer John Oliver

John Oliver is a very funny man as you will see in this highly-instructive video about FIFA, the International Federation of Soccer Associations.

Enjoy.

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President Obama a Socialist? Think Again

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Obama

Image: Wiki

Just a preamble to the article on The Huffington Post I link to below.

Right-wingers see the world in black-or-white terms - that a system of government is either 'socialist' or 'capitalist' If the US Postal Service is delivering your mail, it's 'socialist' because, in their view, it's partially paid for by taxes. If FedEx or UPS delivers your mail, it's 'capitalist' because it's a private institution. The US Military, created and run by the government, is a socialist institution, paid for by US taxpayers, but right-wingers are okay with that because they profit from contracts to private firms with it. Right-wingers complain that government institutions are wrong because they produce no profits but that's not their function: their function is to provide services, not to create profits for shareholders.

What I fail to see in right-wing thinking is how governments and free enterprise can work together for mutual benefit. I will take tourism in Switzerland as a very quick example and compare it with a similar mountainous country not far away: Albania. The difference: in Switzerland the government works with private enterprise (ski resorts, hotels, restaurants) to build the roads, railways, tunnels, and other infrastructure for people to visit the country easily. Private enterprise profits from the visitors and pays taxes to the government which continues to build the infrastructure, train workers, keep the country safe, all things private industry would never be able to do on its own. So is Switzerland 'socialist'? Certainly not in the sense Albania was/is? (I haven't kept up with it recently). Not as far as I'm concerned. To the article: if President Obama were a 'true' socialist, he would be trying to increase the role of the government in our economy for its own sake. He's not doing that. His time in office has shown no essential differences to other Democratic presidents. Here's the story:

Here's Even More Evidence Obama Is The World's Worst Socialist. (Full story here.)

In what must be history's strangest socialist dictatorship, hiring by private companies just hit a record high. Meanwhile the government is still not hiring anybody.

Private employers added 192,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls in March, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Friday, making up all of the economy's job growth for the month. Federal, state and local governments added nada. There are now 116 million people working in the private sector, topping the previous peak set in January 2008. Federal, state and local governments, meanwhile, employ 21.8 million people, down from a high of nearly 23 million in May 2010.

Incidentally, here's a story about how private enterprise treats its workers:

UPS Fires Hundreds Of Workers Who Defended Fired Colleague

Is that the world you want to live in?

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Overnight: Switzerland: Swiss Rail: Zürich to St. Moritz

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SwitzerlandSwitzerland: Swiss Rail: Zürich to St. Moritz

A journey you'll like:

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Overnight: Fasnacht in Basel, Switzerland: Morgenstreich

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Fasnacht Basel SwitzerlandMore from 'Carnival' aka 'Mardi Gras' celebrations around the world, in this case in Basel, Switzerland.

One of the events this video covers is the 'Morgenstreich' - the 'morning prank' - so-called because it takes place on the Monday after the start of Lent in defiance, in years by, of a papal prohibition of any festivities taking place once Lent begins.

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Video Mid Day Distraction: Jean Tinguely in Basel and Paris

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Jean Tingueley was an amazing kinetic sculptor.

Here's his Stravinsky Fountain in Paris:

 More about him here

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Michele Bachmann withdraws dual Swiss citizenship: “I want to make it perfectly clear: I am a proud American citizen.”

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Paddy posted about Michele Bachmann's dual citizenship here, and above is last night's excellent Ed Show point-and-laugh segment.

Today, Michele posted this statement on her website (bolding is mine):

Washington, May 10 - "I want to make it perfectly clear: I am a proud American citizen"

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-06) issued the following statement today about her decision to withdraw her dual Swiss citizenship:

"Today I sent a letter to the Swiss Consulate requesting withdrawal of my dual Swiss citizenship, which was conferred upon me by operation of Swiss law when I married my husband in 1978. I took this action because I want to make it perfectly clear: I was born in America and I am a proud American citizen. I am, and always have been, 100 percent committed to our United States Constitution and the United States of America. As the daughter of an Air Force veteran, stepdaughter of an Army veteran and sister of a Navy veteran, I am proud of my allegiance to the greatest nation the world has ever known."

Under Swiss law, Bachmann automatically received dual Swiss citizenship when she married her husband, a dual American and Swiss citizen, in 1978.

See? It wasn't her fault that she was one of those European socialists! It was "conferred upon" her.  By evil Marxist Swiss law! When she married Marcus!

Wait, that would make it his fault.

Moving on.

"I am, and always have been..." What does that remind me of? Oh yes!

H/t: Livewire

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