What’s my vote worth in dollars?

The Economist has invited its readers around the world to vote for McCain or Obama. I expected that Economist readers from around the world who had not been exposed (or had been less exposed) to the circus show that is American politics would lean slightly towards Obama.

They do lean towards Obama, currently at 7991 votes for Obama to 12 votes for McCain.

What do we know that Americans don’t? Or vice-versa?

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Sarkozy you lucky B@$&£!)

I saw the French President’s wife model / chanteuse Carla Bruni on Jools Holland’s Later Live yesterday.

Yes I would!!

She sang me a song in French, ‘Tu Es Ma Came’. Apparently there were nearly 1 million other viewers as well.

Metallica were also there, although I wasn’t impressed by their song which seemed to be a chop-up-and-blend of every Metallica song over the past 20 years. Was good to see Lars Ulrich though, with his trademark Ahead LU black and white-tipped drumsticks. I bought Yas a pair 6-7 years ago for £25, and it still costs the same.

Das Leben der Anderen

Or ‘The Lives of Others’

A German movie about living in East Germany before the Wall came down.

The Stasi is all-pervading, and people watch what they are saying. A writer and his actress girlfriend (“Künstler” or “artists”) are put under surveillance under the supervision of a Stasi officer, who while eavesdropping slowly gets involved and starts to question the system he serves.

The film twists and turns, especially toward the end, but rather than an outlandish plot it’s the depth of character portrayal that really grabs the viewer, with a brilliant mood setting for pre-1989 DDR. Much darker than another great recent German movie set in the same time and place, Goodbye Lenin.

Top notch film, captivating and essential viewing.

Goals of incarceration

The blog OnFiction describing Hamlet being performed in a high-security prison. One line struck me:-

“One also cannot help but ponder the potential for human transformation in general, and the competing goals of incarceration: to both rehabilitate and to punish”.

Competing goals of incarceration.

1. A phrase that explains exactly why different prisons end up taking different approaches. In some societies it is primarily a tool of punishment and in other a chance for rehabilitation.

What is ‘incarceration’ to you?

2. Can you imagine prisons working so well that an individual might prefer committing a crime and, say, learn a skill in there while being fed than take the alternatives society provides him? Could such a model prison work when society around it is operating at a worse level (I suppose there could be micro-climates that are operating at lower levels than society taken as an enitirety).

Is this already happening?