Category Archives: Uncategorized

Map of the day: The graying of Europe’s peoples


From Eurostat [PDF], which notes:

The European Union (EU) as a whole is confronted with an ageing population. In 2014, the proportion of persons aged 65 or over reached 18.5% in the EU and it is projected to further increase in the future to almost 30% by 2080. In particular, the proportion of persons aged 80 or over among the total population is expected to more than double, from  just  over  5%  in  2014  to more  than 12%  by  2080. This  demographic trend  confronts  the EU with major challenges, notably regarding the economic situation and social inclusion of older people.

In 2014 in the EU, 18.5% of the population was aged 65 or over, including around 5.1% aged 80 or over. Member States  with  the highest  proportions  of population aged  80  or  over were Italy (6.4%), Greece (6.0%), Spain and France (5.7% each). Conversely, the lowest proportions were found in Ireland and Slovakia (both with 3.0% of their population aged 80 or over) as well as in Cyprus (3.1%).

The proportion of the EU population aged 80 or over has risen over the last 15 years, from 3.5% in 2001 to 5.1% in 2014. Population projections show that the EU population will age further: by 2080, almost 1 out of every 8 persons (12.3% of the population) would be aged 80 or over. Slovakia (now the Member State with the lowest proportion) is projected  to  become  the  Member  State  with the  highest  share  of persons aged 80 or over (16.3%),  followed  by Portugal (15.8%), Germany (15.1%) and Poland (14.9%). At the opposite end of the scale, Ireland (with 7.4% of the population expected to be aged 80 or over by 2080), Lithuania (8.9%) and Latvia (9.5%) would have the lowest shares.

The Empire Report: The corrupt Saudi state

In her latest edition of The Empire Files, Abby Martin takes on the corrupt Saudi royal house and their brutal campaigns of repression and class warefare, armed and supported by Barack Obama’s government.

Sexual repression, assassinations of labor leaders, and massacres of political protesters have been part of the House of Saud’s leadership style for generations, and Abby Martin lays it all out in context.

From Telesur English:

The Real House of Saud – Saudi Arabia’s Oil-For-Tyranny

Program notes:

Meet the new head of the United Nations panel on Human Rights: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Abby Martin takes us inside the brutal reality of this police-state monarchy, and tells the untold people’s history of resistance to it. With a major, catastrophic war in Yemen and looming high-profile executions of activists, The Empire Files exposes true nature of the U.S.-Saudi love affair.

Chart of the day: Not longer hopping on pop?

From the New York Times:


We’ve never quite grasped the nation of paying as much for drinking water as we do for gasoline, but Americans eagerly hop on board the notion.

At least with sodas, they give you some extras for your cash.

DroughtWatch: Golden State, extra crispy

California’s epochal drought may be relieved in the months ahead by an epochal El Nino, but until then, all but a fraction of a single percentage point of the state’s land mass is afflicted by the dry, and nearly half of the state meets the criteria for the most extreme category of Exceptional Drought.

From the U.S. Drought Monitor, and click on the image to embiggen:

BLOG Drought

A farewell to one of the greats of Film Noir

LIZABETH SCOTT in a studio publicity still

LIZABETH SCOTT in a studio publicity still

We’ve always considered film noir as the greatest of American film genres, a style best suited for the intimacy of the pre-letterbox black-and-white medium that we grew up with in an early 1950s Kansas farm town.

Better than any other genre, film noir captures the fundamental ambivalence of the United States, a nation literally built on soil fertilized by the blood and bodies of millions of indigenous inhabitants slain by invisible microbes and the swords and bullets of European invaders and enriched by the labor of slaves imported from another continent.

And Lizabeth Scott was one of the genres greats, a woman of suggestive gazes and lethal enticements, uttered in a unique, huskily seductive voice to lead many a leading man astray.

And now she’s gone.

From today’s Los Angeles Times:

Lizabeth Scott dies at 92; sultry leading woman of film noir

Actress Lizabeth Scott, whose sultry looks and smoky voice led many a man astray in 1940s and ’50s film noir, died Jan. 31 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was 92.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said her longtime friend Mary Goodstein.

Scott aspired to be a stage actress but was stereotyped as the femme fatale in the hard-boiled, film noir world of crime, tough talk and dark secrets.

“She had the smoldering look, the blond hair, the voice,” Alan Rode, a film historian who produces annual film noir festivals, said Friday. “She was someone you would see in a nightclub through a haze of cigarette smoke, with a voice made husky by a couple of highballs and an unfiltered Pall Mall.”

To mark her passing, here’s her 1949 Film Noir classic Too Late for Tears directed by Byron Haskin, the tale of a woman determined to keep the mysterious $60,000 [a large sum in 1949 when hamburgers sold for a dime] thrown into her car on a dark night on Mulholland Drive:

MexicoWatch: A very slow news day indeed

Only two items, despite an intense search.

First, another image, this one from A photographic experiment. By Chico Sanchez:

100% Mexican - 100% mexicano. Drawing demanding justice for the 43 students missing from Ayotzinapa - Dibujo demandando justicia para los 43 estudiantes desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa

100% Mexican – 100% mexicano. Drawing demanding justice for the 43 students missing from Ayotzinapa – Dibujo demandando justicia para los 43 estudiantes desaparecidos de Ayotzinapa

And our lone reporting entry, from a very exhaustive and exhaustive summary of what is known about that bloody night in Ayotzinapa from Borderland Beat:

Guerreros Unidos and Los Rojos conflict-Scientists reject account of students incineration at dump

To those that followed the case, especially those who have long followed the criminal activity in Guerrero and Iguala, you are not surprised at the mistrust of the government, from the victims’ families and friends. They have rejected the ‘official’ version, offered in testimonies of suspects (link here)  previously arrested for involvement in the attacks.

The mayor, his wife, the municipal police, and Guerreros Unidos, are reported to be at the core of the crime.  While details lack clarity, there is little doubt that the aforementioned parties were involved.  Within 8 hours after the last attack, on social media, residents begin throwing suspicion and accusations straight at the mayor’s office. This stems from a history of abuse, disappearances and corruption accusations.

Both the mayor and his wife threatened Arturo Hernandez, a social activist, the day before he and 7 others were kidnapped off the highway.  Witnesses who managed to escape, gave sworn testimony they witnessed the mayor personally raise his AK47, shoot and kill Hernandez.  Just before shooting him in the head he said to Hernandez,  “You fucked with me, now I will take pleasure in killing you”.

In the testimony of suspects in the case, they contend Mayor Abarca was advised by the G.U. plaza chief, that  bus passengers were infiltrated by members of the Los Rojos.  This is said to be the basis of the initial order by the mayor to take the passengers into custody and interrogate them.  The information was erroneous, there were no cartel members in the group of students.  If the GU plaza chief guessed that the students were Los Rojos or otherwise has not been determine.  But that is how the massacre began.

Chart of the day: Environmental differences

From a report on the Americans’ political priorities for 2015 from the Pew Research Center [PDF]: