Thursday, August 27, 2009

Senator Byrd's Proposal

To all Republicans and Blue Dogs. Take your venemous thoughts and statements, crawl back under whatever rocks you live under and STFU. The US would be better off without ALL of you.

Back in VA for a short time before heading out to Africa and I did not want to sully the previous post with this. But,Senator Byrd's proposal to name the Health Care bill after Senator Kennedy is a perfect memorial to one of the greatest Senators in US history.


Senator Ted Kennedy


Some men see things as they are and say why - I dream things that never were and say why not. GBS and Robert

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Off to Africa

Break's over.

I will be blogging exclusively from Africa (Ghana and Tanzania) beginning sometime in mid-September. Although I will try to keep my fingers in the FSU and Europe (and sometimes comment on the increasingly bizarre American political discourse melt-down now dominated by gun-toting right wingers), it is likely that I will begin to discuss the foreign assistance picture in Africa.

I have mentioned before that I believe that small scale, private sector assistance may be the better approach in Africa rather than the large scale - and not very cost-effective - USAID, EU and World Bank interventions. However, foreign aid assistance in Africa is not an either/or scenario, but rather one where the two approaches need much more coordination and collaboration. Hopefully, I'll be able to get a better handle on the two approaches during the next year.

In the meantime, blogging will be exceedingly light as I head to the US.

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The Arctic Circle - Free at Last

The story of the Artic Circle hijacking keeps becoming more murky as the chronology is revealed. It was hijacked in the Baltic and the Russians, it appears, kept it a secret from Finland - where the ship is registered. Now there is speculation that the ship was hijacked twice - the second time after it had left the English Channel. Additional speculation is that it was heading for Algeria or Iran - although how it would pass Gibraltar, much less Suez or sail around the Cape of Good Hope - is left in the air.

Even more speculation is whose navy actually intercepted the ship, Russia or NATO and what was on it. Timber - yes, apparently. Nuclear materials? Missiles?

I suspect we will never know and that will feed the speculation.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

President Abdullah Gül says, "Forget about İmrali"

That took less than 24 hours. Imrali is the island prison where Abdullah Öcalan - leader of the PKK - announced that he was presenting a road map to settle the PKK/Turkey conflict. As mentioned in my previous post on this subject, I thought that the chance of the Turkish government accepting any sort of autonomous region for the Kurdish minority as suggested in the leak of the the road map details was as likely as finding a Republican voter with an IQ above his or her hat size. That was confirmed in this report.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The PKK Plan for Peace

The details of the plan have been leaked. A key point is Abdullah Öcalan's proposal to create "an entity similar to a democratic nation and to be organized in different fields of life such as sport, education and religion. This entity will similarly have the right to establish its own parliament and municipality if it can, according to Öcalan. He also dismissed the federal-state system in northern Iraq, finding it noncompliant with his model."

The chances of the Turkish government agreeing to this part of the plan are nil.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

US Politics

We - or at least me - are happy not to have to report on American politics. First, lots of people do it a lot better.

Second, and more importantly, I prefer to keep my blood pressure in check which is impossible if reporting and commenting on the ignorant rabble with a collective IQ of a slime mold who are carrying guns to town-hall meetings and spreading the absolutely stupid and mendacious theories of the far right noise machine regarding health care reform.

Third. You are there guys. Fight these people. Hard.

PS. I am still on a blogging break.

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The Arctic Sea

No - not the place. The ship.

This is a very weird story and perfect for the summer. Reports have indicated that this ship, hijacked apparently in of all places the Baltic, is somewhere near the Cape Verde Islands. It is still not clear, but now NATO as well as the Russian's are involved (16 Russian crew).

Great for conspiracy theorists too. The ship was first reported to be carrying timber. If so, why would anyone bother to hijack it - in the Baltic and then switch off its automatic locater after passing the English Channel.

With the Russian navy on its way to the Cape Verde Islands, the upcoming intercept will be fascinating to watch.

UPDATE: RIA Novisti reported today that the ship has been intercepted by Russian warships and the Russian crew is now being interviewed.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Blogging from Paris

The Eiffel Tower and La Défense business distr...Image via Wikipedia

Actually, I'm not. I'm on a blogging break. But, some news items caught my attention.

The first is the Russian Akula class subs patrolling in international waters off the coast of the United States. This, it appears, have the right wingers in the US all atwitter (pun intended). They need to take a pill and go home for a mental health break. First - these boats are old tech. Second - these boats are manned by crews who have not had this type of long distance experience in a decade. Third - these boats are loud (therefore easily tracked). Fourth - the Pentagon doesn't care. This all is news? Guess it's August.

Another bit of news is the Clinton effort that successfully freed two American journalists from North Korean clutches. Good. And, right wingers, it was a success. Not a failure. Not a concession to North Korea. End of story. Go back to your holes under the rocks.

Third. Putin and Erdogan are meeting in Moscow. Putin will have been in power for a decade. He also invited Berlisconi. How important is this meeting, exactly?

On a sad note, Sam the Koala, a survivor of a bush fire (not the ex president) in Australia, died in surgery. RIP

Also, former Senator Edward's mistress is in Federal Court for some reason. Could not open the web site because my connection is not so great and it, truthfully, bores me (but not prudish Americans).

Finally, Paris is hot. It is over 35 (for the centigrade challenged, that's hot). But, the wine and cheese is still great. The city is still beautiful. And their health care system is so superior to the one in the US, it is not measurable.

Back from Versailles today and off shopping tomorrow.

A bientot.

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