Belgian Elections: Strong Victory for NVA

by Ingrid Robeyns on June 13, 2010

“First results are in”:, and the victory of NVA is even bigger than expected: They are the biggest party in Belgium, with about 20.8%. In the Flemish region of Belgium they have about 29% of the votes (these are partial results, the latest updates can be found by following the link, and I will post an update tomorrow).

It is difficult to describe the NVA – they are undoubtedly a nationalist party with a seperatist ideal (Flemish independence), but they need to be distinguished from the extreem-right racist Vlaams Belang (which, by the way, has lost considerably). NVA is often qualified as democratic, sometimes even ‘moderate’ – but I guess how one qualifies them depends on one’s own position on the political spectrum. In any case, the first thing Bart De Wever, the political leader, will say in interviews, is that he doesn’t dislike Francophone Belgians, but that he strongly believes that the structures of the Belgian state are rotten and need to be drastically reformed. A remarkable fact is that the ideal of NVA is a strong independent Flanders in a strong Europe – so they are not at all anti-European (in contrast to other conservative/right wing parties in Europe).
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Neat visualization of World-Cup-related tweets

by Eszter Hargittai on June 13, 2010

I don’t think I’ve seen this on CT yet: the Guardian’s replay of Twitter posts during various World Cup games. Pick a game by clicking on one of the colorful dots – as opposed to the gray ones that signal games not yet played – and not only see the changing relative popularity of related tweet themes, but also see when things happened during the game. (In addition to these showing up on the side next to players’ names as time goes by, you can also see the entire game time line below the figure and move to any specific point by dragging the blue arrow.) Very cool. (Tx: Gilad)

Happy Bloomsday

by Maria on June 13, 2010

A week or so ago, I received an email from an old friend – the redoubtable Bridget Hourican – asking for some family background about a great-great uncle who was made a character of in Ulysses. It should have clicked with me that 12 16 June was coming up.

Alluding to the other Timberteer who also rejoices in this ancestry, Bridget wrote:

“… when a friend of mine was asked in Germany what he thought of Ulysses – as all Irish abroad are asked at some point – he admitted that he hadn’t read it yet, but saved his reputation and astounded his questioner by adding that his great-uncle was in it. This great-uncle was Hugh MacNeill (the more disreputable brother of the revolutionary Eoin MacNeill) who appears, with his name cannibalised, as professor McHugh, murmuring “biscuitfully”.

Prof. McHugh is apparently a quite funny character who wanders around Dublin lecturing in Greek and Latin. Bridget’s written a gorgeous Bloomsday essay about the real people immortalised in Ulysses. It makes me want to give the book another go.