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Even though they try hard to kill it – as the Economist reports:

Gorky Aguila, Cuban punk rocker – No Comandante!

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I am off to the “Center of the World” for a week. Here are three of my favourite songs about the city. You may find the videos on You Tube…

The Beastie Boys: “An Open Letter To NYC”

Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten
From the Battery to the top of Manhattan
Asian, Middle-Eastern and Latin
Black, White, New York you make it happen

Brownstones, water towers, trees, skyscrapers
Writers, prize fighters and Wall Street traders
We come together on the subway cars
Diversity unified, whoever you are
We’re doing fine on the One and Nine line
On the L we’re doin’ swell
On the number Ten bus we fight and fuss
‘Cause we’re thorough in the boroughs and that’s a must
I remember when the Duece was all porno flicks
Running home after school to play PIX * 1
At lunch I’d go to Blimpies down on Montague Street
And hit the Fulton Street Mall for the sneakers on my feet
Dear New York I hope you’re doing well
I know a lot’s happen and you’ve been through hell
So, we give thanks for providing a home
Through your gates at Ellis Island we passed in droves

Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten
From the Battery to the top of Manhattan
Asian, Middle-Eastern and Latin
Black, White, New York you make it happen

The L.I.E. the B.Q.E
Hippies at the band shell with the L.S.D.
Get my BVD’s from VIM
You know I’m reppin’ Manhattan the best I can
Stopped off at Bleeker Bob’s got thrown out
Sneakin’ in at 4:00 am after going out
You didn’t rob me in the park at Dianna Ross
But everybody started looting when the light went off
From the South South Bronx on out to Queens Bridge
From Hollis Queens right down to Bay Ridge
From Castle Hill to the Lower East Side
From 1010 WINS to Live At Five
Dear New York this is a love letter
To you and how you brought us together
We can’t say enough about all you do
‘Cause in the city were ourselves and electric too

Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten
From the Battery to the top of Manhattan
Asian, Middle-Eastern and Latin
Black, White, New York you make it happen

Shout out the South Bronx where my mom hails from
Right next to High Bridge across from Harlem
To the Grand Concourse where my mom and dad met
Before they moved on down to the Upper West
I see you’re still strong after all that’s gone on
Life long we dedicate this song
Just a little something to show some respect
To the city that blends and mends and tests
Since 911 we’re still livin’
And lovin’ life we’ve been given
Ain’t nothing gonna take that away from us
Were lookin’ pretty and gritty ’cause in the city we trust
Dear New York I know a lot has changed
2 towers down but you’re still in the game
Home to many rejecting know one
Accepting peoples of all places, wherever they’re from

Simon & Garfunkel: “A Heart in New York”

New york, to that tall skyline I come, flyin in from london to your door
New york, lookin down on central park
Where they say you should not wander after dark

New york, like a scene from all those movies
But youre real enough to me, but theres a heart
A heart that lives in new york

A heart in new york, a rose on the street
I write my song to that city heartbeat
A heart in new york, love in her eye, an open door and a friend for the night

New york, you got money on your mind
And my words wont make a dimes worth a difference, so heres to you new york

Bob Dylan: “Talkin’ New York”

Rambling out of the wild west
Leaving the towns I love best
Thought I’d seen some ups and down
‘Till I come into New York town
People going down to the ground
Building going up to the sky.

Wintertime in New York town
The wind blowing snow around
Walk around with nowhere to go
Somebody could freeze right to the bone
I froze right to the bone
New York Times said it was the coldest
winter in seventeen years
I didn’t feel so cold then.

I swung on to my old guitar
Grabbed hold of a subway car
And after a rocking, reeling, rolling ride
I landed up on the downtown side:
Greenwich Village.

I walked down there and ended up
In one of them coffee-houses on the block
Got on the stage to sing and play
Man there said, Come back some other day
You sound like a hillbilly
We want folksingers here.

Well, I got a harmonica job begun to play
Blowing my lungs out for a dollar a day
I blowed inside out and upside down
The man there said he loved my sound
He was raving about he loved my sound
Dollar a day’s worth.

After weeks and weeks of hanging around
I finally got a job in New York town
In a bigger place, bigger money too
Even joined the Union and paid my dues.

Now, a very great man once said
That some people rob you with a fountain pen
It don’t take too long to find out
Just what he was talking about
A lot of people don’t have
much food on their table
But they got a lot of forks and knives
And they gotta cut something.

So one morning when the sun was warm
I rambled out of New York town
Pulled my cap down over my eyes
And heated out for the western skies
So long New York
Howdy, East Orange.


Watch this impressing documentary about a man, who traces his father’s journey “through former labor camps and cities in northern Russia and his final uncovering of the horrible truth at the dreaded camp city of Vorkuta within the Artic Circle”:

Jon Utley’s search for his father

John Stossel has some great ideas in this 20/20 documentary:

Stupid in America – How we cheat our kids

The Economist on How to stop the drug wars

Audio version

I just love this guy – self description: “Joe Cocker on speed”!

Watch Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and co-editor of the Journal of Democracy, debate his book The Spirit of Democracy – The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World, which I very strongly recommend to anyone interested in the science of democracy and democracy movements, with some researchers from Freedom House at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs:

The Spirit of Democracy – Carnegie Council, New York

Watch Dahlia Khalifa, senior economist at the World Bank, discuss the findings of the Doing Business 2009 Report, which again measures the strength of property rights and the fight against poverty around the world, at Second Life:

Doing Business 09 – Khalifa

Download the full report or single chapters for free on the Doing Business website:

Doing Business 2009 is the sixth in a series of annual reports investigating the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. Doing Business presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 181 economies – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe – and over time.”