With Iraq, it’s the 1980s all over again

Filed under: politics — jlm @ 21:36

While visiting family over the Xmas break, I came across this article from the New York Times republished in the Sacramento Bee.

BAGHDAD – The Obama administration is moving ahead with the sale of nearly $11 billion worth of arms and training for the Iraqi military despite concerns that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is moving to consolidate authority, create a one-party Shiite-dominated state and abandon the U.S.-backed power-sharing government.
While the United States is eager to beef up Iraq’s military, at least in part as a hedge against Iranian influence, there are also fears that the move could backfire if the Baghdad government ultimately aligns more closely with the Shiite theocracy in Tehran than with Washington.

Well, how about that. Just substitute Obama with Reagan, al-Maliki with Saddam Hussein, and swap Shiite for Sunni and enjoy the déjà vu.


Kentucky Board of Education smacks down creationist school superintendent

Filed under: politics, science — jlm @ 17:50


That is one awesome response letter. Hard to believe it came from a bureaucracy. I just hope the Board in Frankfort can exert more influence over the schools than Line the Hart County local.


UK recognition of the Haudenosaunee state

Filed under: politics — jlm @ 14:26

Did you read about the recent dispute about Britain refusing to admit athletes from the Nationals into the UK to play in the world lacrosse championship? (NY Times)

The Nationals represent Haudenosaunee, the Iroquois Confederation, and travel on Haudenosaunee passports, which Britain refused to recognize, saying it didn’t recognize them as a country, that land being divided between the US and Canada, while the nationalistic Nationals refuse to travel under those passports, especially with the historical mistreatment of Native Americans by those governments.

Well, this seems like a normal enough snafu, you can’t expect other countries to go along with the US and Canada’s fiction that these tribes are separate nations. We have treaties with them, after all, and other countries don’t. But then it occured to me, Canada has treaties with the Iroquois, but Canada hasn’t been independent from the UK for all that long, surely the treaties must predate Canadian independence and so it was Britain treating with Haudenosaunee as if it was indeed a state — and lo, the Treaty of Fort Stanwix was between Britain and Haudenosaunee, a few years before even the American Revolution, and I doubt it’s the only treaty between them.

Interesting wrinkle, or just a bit of trivia?


On Alvin Greene

Filed under: politics — jlm @ 09:09

One of the news stories from Tuesday’s many primary elections which has stayed in the news is about unemployed veteran Alvin Greene trouncing unpopular member of the party machine Vic Rawl in the race for South Carolina’s Democratic nominee for Senate, 59-41.

Greene self-funded, meaning he used his own savings to pay the filing fee: his campaign consisted of calling up his friends and asking them to spread the word to their friends. Now Rawl is asking how Greene, a political nonentity, who didn’t campaign, could have defeated him. (Fox News, New York Times, The Root) Part of the blame for Rawl’s defeat surely goes down to how his own campaign was itself minimal: Charleston City Paper. But from reading these stories, I think there’s something simple which is getting lost: Rawl was unpopular. (From Public Policy Polling[pdf]: “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Vic Rawl?” — favorable 5%; unfavorable 14%; not sure 82%)

To defeat someone unpopular, an unknown needs only to run. And with his unfavorable numbers at triple his favorable, Rawl should consider himself lucky to have picked up 41% of the vote! I’ve seen this happen several times with minor local offices, and sometimes even judgeships. The only news here was that it was an up-ticket race: US Senator.

Greene’s opponent come November is incumbent Sen. Jim DeMint, who doesn’t have the millstone of unpopularity around his neck that Rawl did. Greene was able to win round one just for showing up, but in round two he’s up against a goliath.


e-Government fail

Filed under: politics, web — jlm @ 23:26

[XML parsing error from www.whitehouse.gov]

There’s some small growing pains on the welcome road to a more online government.
It’s not quite as amusing as when I get this kind of thing from Failblog, though.


Washington’s farewell address

Filed under: politics — jlm @ 17:36

Randall Munroe, of xkcd fame, has gone and translated George Washington’s farewell address into everyday speech. It’s an utterly fascinating read, and much more tractable than trying to read the whole thing (it’s quite long) in his original text. Washington’s ideas on what makes good government are well argued by him, and Munroe has made it accessable. Give it a read, you won’t regret it!


MGL Chapter 2

Filed under: politics — jlm @ 16:50

Chapter 2 of the Massachusetts General Laws makes for endless entertainment.
Start at Section 1 and keep hitting “Next Section” — see how long you can go without cracking up. It starts to get amusing at Section 7 and just gets better from there, and keeps on going, and going, and going! If you make it all the way to section 53, you must be from Vulcan or Massachusetts.


Holiday poem

Filed under: politics — jlm @ 20:05

I was staying away from doing links to news and politics, but it’s a blue moon when a Congressman shows this much sense of humor.

Dingell’s Jingle

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