everything and nothing. not really sure yet.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Fix

Check out Chris Cillizza's US politics blog at the Washington Post (look under links). It provides the most up-to-date information and analysis, including weekly ratings of the most likely candidates to be elected President in 2008 and regular looks at important polls and all the issues of the day.

Bush's Reich

Here is an article by Diane McWhorter on Slate bringing up the comparisons between Bush's America and the Third Reich. Whilst I feel that some of her comments are a little over the top, she makes some very good points.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sectarianism in Lebanon

Here is an article by Samir El Youssef, a Palestinean writer who grew up in a refugee camp in Lebanon and now lives in London. He grew up near the coastal town of Tyre and laments its passing from a beautiful, cosmopolitan city to a run-down dump, all in the name of sectarianism and rivalry.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Kramer a racist?

Here is Michael Richards (aka Kramer from Seinfeld)'s now famous "racist tirade". I warn you, it's pretty grim. Don't watch if you're easily offended or a huge Seinfeld fan (it'll break your heart).

Sunday, November 19, 2006


"I don't think there's too much racist about that."
James Sutherland, Cricket Australia's chief executive, when asked if a spectator allegedly calling Monty Panesar a "stupid Indian" was unacceptable.
Well that's Australians for you.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Amir Peretz and the Israeli Labour Party

The Israeli left has been sold out by Labour. Amir Peretz fought the election campaign on social issues, but when he entered government as Ehud Olmert's Kadima Party's main coalition partner he didn't take a socio-economic ministry, instead opting for the defence ministry - a position for which he is hopelessly unqualified. During the election campaign, he also pledged never to sit in government with Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beitenu - a party of extremists and racists, essentually Israeli fascists. The Labour Party as an entity was markedly silent whilst Olmert tried to get Lieberman into government. Only one Labour minister, Ophir Pines-Paz, resigned over the matter, when if Amir Peretz was truely commited to the ideology he and labour had set out for themselves he would have threatened to pull his party out of government. This would have been disastrous for Olmert, as he would have been left with a choice of either running back to Likud and grovelling (which would give him the absolute minimum needed for a majority, provided Netanyahu agreed which is unlikely), or calling an election in which both Kadima and Labour would suffer heavy losses and gains would be made by Likud and Yisrael Beitenu. Olmert would have no choice but giving up on Lieberman. Instead, Peretz has become Olmert's yes man, a nodding dog. I certainly hope Labour elect a new leader in next year's primary - maybe Pines-Paz himself - and go back to concentrating on what needs to be done to address Israel's growing social problems. Then maybe they can go into an election with enough credibility to tackle Likud and build a government commited to socio-economic issues and the peace process.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

On poppy fascism

Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow has managed to spark up controversy over his refusal to wear a poppy on air. His argument is that, as a newsreader, he should not make any kind of statement (that could be a poppy, an aids ribbon, a wristband, or anything else for that matter). I agree with him. Newsreaders are supposed to be unbiased, but displaying something like a poppy shows a personal opinion that has no place in news - which is supposed to be about information only. I also don't think that one person should be forced to do something he doesn't want to do, just because everyone else on television is. I also don't think people should just wear poppies because its the convention, because then they're not being sincere about their opinions. Then they're not really supporting the poppy appeal. For the record, despite being decidely pacifistic and anti-military, I support the poppy appeal. Just because I don't necessarily support the war they're fighting in, it doesn't mean that I don't support them.

Friday, November 10, 2006

On monkeys and police

Some fantastic pieces of news from Northern India. First, there is to be a judicial decision on the fate of Delhi's monkeys. The monkeys have been terrorising the city, and even managed to steal secret military documents from the Indian military's HQ. Also, hundreds of prospective police officers in Uttar Pradesh have rioted after they deemed a written exam too hard. The hopeful police officers ran out onto the streets, forcing drivers from their cars and sexually assaulting females. I think both these incedents call to question the standard of India's security forces.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Midterm Mania - follow up

As a follow up to my last post, see this CNN.com piece on the dynamics of a potential democratic senate.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Midterm Mania

There's been a lot of talk (even on this side of the pond) about the upcoming US midterm-elections. It seems that the Democrats are likely to take at least one house of congress - most likely the house of representatives. What we should ask ourselves is, "What does this mean?". On foreign policy, not as much as one might think. They will, however, have the power to set up public hearings on the president's policy in Iraq. On social issues, they will likely have less effect. A lot of conservatives are claiming that if the Democrats win both houses, they will try and force "liberalism" whatever that may be down America's throat. This is complete nonsense (unfortunately). Many of the Democrats that seem to be confident of victory in "red" states and districts are, socially at least, quite conservative. Otherwise they'd have no appeal to the right-wing reactionaries that populate these districts. See Sherrif Brad Ellsworth in Indiana's 8th and former NFL quaterback Heath Shuler in North Carolina's 11th for proof. It seems that a Democratic congress might not be as progressive as one might hope.