Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

kick ass

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

I’m no particular fan of George Galloway, but I do admire the fact that he stridently took on the US Senate today, in no uncertain terms. If nothing else it’s a good thing to see someone speaking out and standing up to them:

Far from displaying the forelock-tugging deference to which senators are accustomed, Mr Galloway went on the attack.

He rubbished committee chairman Norm Coleman’s dossier of evidence and stared him in the eye.

“Now I know that standards have slipped over the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer, you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice,” the MP declared.

The whole room scanned Mr Coleman’s face for a reaction. The senator shifted in his seat – nervously it seemed.

Here’s more, and some quotes

Family news: I had a good long chat with Toby again today, and again it was about the steam engine which seems to have been quite the highlight of his trip. The newsworthy thing is how English his accent has become in just a week.

bunch of liberals

Friday, May 13th, 2005

True, these folks come off as a bunch of whiny liberals, but I advise you to read the reporter’s observations and also the comments afterwards. Especially if you think that Americans are typically happy with the way the country and its relationship with the world and the Earth is going. The article is from the Washington Post, a national respected paper, not just a niche website.

hard decisions

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2005

There’s a high-profile story going on at the moment where there have been court appeals and counter-appeals by the husband and family of a woman who has been in what doctors call a “persistent vegatative state” after being brain damaged seven years ago. The husband, who is the legal guardian, argues that she would not have wanted to be kept alive in the state she’s in and that she should be allowed to die by being taken off life support. Her parents and brother are arguing against this. It’s all rather a horrible story, not just in of course the life and death situation, but the fact that there’s so much political and media grandstanding, with contradictions all over the place, as noted by Paul and others.
It reached new lows for me when I noticed the following paragraph in today’s Washington Post update:

“The Schindlers’ attorneys argued that allowing their brain-damaged daughter to die before the federal courts can review her case would violate Congress’s will and lead to the ‘damnation of her soul’ because it would conflict with her religious beliefs.”

Welcome back, 17th century! They should know perfectly well that the courts, at least in the United States, don’t give a hoot about souls. Courts are here to uphold the laws of states and the Union, not religious beliefs which people may or may not have.

get a grip

Wednesday, December 29th, 2004

El Presidente has finally made a statement (no rush – he was on vacation of course) about the tsunami disaster, where right now it’s looking like more than 100,000 people may have died, and nobody knows how many are homeless, facing hunger, thirst, disease… Even in the mainstream media there’s some criticism of Bush in the fact that he took so long to even say anything, and the article obviously makes the connection between what’s happened there and what happened here in 2001 when much of the world very quickly made statements – even if they didn’t contain specifics they at least expressed shock and condolences. From the article:

There was an international outpouring of support after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and even some administration officials familiar with relief efforts said they were surprised that Bush had not appeared personally to comment on the tsunami tragedy. ‘It’s kind of freaky,’ a senior career official said.

It’s more than that, it’s a lost opportunity to show American ideals of compassion and leadership and it’s frankly yet another embarrassment from an embarrassing leader.

even the conservatives

Saturday, October 16th, 2004

If you’ve been reading this site for a while you know that I’m something of a flaky liberal type. But I try hard to see the merits in other viewpoints – not to do so is to shield yourself from the rest of the world, and doesn’t help you develop your own ideas or question your beliefs, which is a very valuable thing to do.

If you read the thread to Richard Bloomfield’s blog on my previous post, there was a lot of back and forth – it got kind of tedious. But one of my final points was to say that there’s nothing wrong with being a conservative, if that’s where your priorities lie. However – you could probably tell this was coming – it does not mean that you have to support Bush. In fact conservative voices have been saying exactly this too. Andrew Sullivan, respected conservative blogger, has been moving further and further from the current Administration viewpoint for some time, and now even the conservative editor of the New Republic is saying the same thing, and much more coherently than I ever could. It makes really interesting reading – I hope that whatever your viewpoint you take a look.

sanctity

Saturday, June 12th, 2004

Not even sure why I bother posting this because the man is so clearly a hypocrite, but I noticed today that Rush Limbaugh (nasty conservative radio host in the U.S.) is getting divorced. It’s actually the third marriage for both him and his soon-to-be-ex-wife, and they were married by conservative Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. You can be pretty sure that all three of these people have lots to say about the sanctity of marriage and that they also make a great deal of the fact that letting gays and lesbians marry would undermine that sanctity. Pity they’ve made such a great big arse of the whole thing themselves, and are setting such a bad example for the rest of us.

continued state of alarm

Tuesday, May 21st, 2002

As I mentioned a few days ago, there’s been a lot of back and forth in Washington, DC about what the government knew before September 11, and why they didn’t do more. Slate has been weighing in as it tends to do, and as usual doing a good job. If you haven’t already seen this I think it sums up a lot of what’s been happening.

state of alarm

Friday, May 17th, 2002

There has been a lot of news in the last couple of days about how the Whitehouse knew about possible terrorist threats before September 11. And some tough questions, not least this excellent article from Slate. And this morning I heard that the Vice President was warning Democrats that to ask questions of the President and start pointing fingers was overly political. Of course he’s quite correct – in a democracy it is completely out of bounds for an opposition political party to be asking questions of the President, which at least half of the citizens want to be answered.

america expects

Friday, October 5th, 2001

It’s a strange thing that after the September 11 attacks we (American citizens and residents) are being encouraged by the government to live it up as much as possible. I knew that during the World Wars Britain had to become a very frugal place, and there’s a second-hand bookstore along the road from work where they have American WWII posters with similar messages – save food, cycle rather than drive, grow your own veggies etc. But it’s all very different now, we’re being encouraged to spend on travel and consumer goods, and invest in American stocks. Emma and I are doing our best at both of the above (while making sure we also have decent savings, of course).

still strange

Friday, September 14th, 2001

The atmosphere is still strange – America sometimes feels like a big and small place at the same time. I think that working in a downtown environment (although downtown Minneapolis is way smaller than New York) makes the attack feel closer to home, and although New York is a long way away, everyone seems to know someone who lives or works there.

The TV and news coverage is still incessant, although it seems like most networks are getting back to normal – showing commercials and regular programs again. Slate.com has continued to impress me with the depth and thoughtfulness of their coverage, but a lot of the best information is first-hand through weblogs. This one was linked to from the front page of Blogger and has amazing pictures and moving words.

Work is going on pretty much as usual – it surprises me that they had three minutes of silence in many businesses in Europe today, but not here. I have the feeling that the morning service at St Mark’s is going to be hard going, although on Wednesday night we were rehearsing music which wasn’t too morose. Not wanting our spirit to be dampened I guess. All the flags I’ve seen are at half staff, and a lot of office buildings and homes have put flags out. There are still hardly any commercial flights going over, and it’s strange how you notice the absence of sound. On Tuesday night we heard what we thought was thunder, but it was F-16 jets patrolling, and they’re still around. I’m trying to work out if this is comforting.