Go Ukraine

I'm more optimistic about Ukraine's future than I am about what the US has coming. I went to the US looking for ways I could help. I can't. America doesn't want help -- at least not the America I saw. The America I saw (granted, it was rural Missouri) is very happy with the way things are going. Ben Sargent sums it up perfectly here.

It's time for deep blue staters should consider supporting Libertarian candidates. The Big Government that the GOP has been squawking about forever has emerged. It's a heavy-handed, intrusive federal government that is restricting states' rights all over the map. From gay marriage in Massachusetts to medical marijuana in California, Washington is determined to silence the majority of voters in less-than-red states and enforce a country-fried agenda on the unwilling. Call it the talibanization of America.

Of course, you could try secession. Or emigration.

So I'm following events in Ukraine with interest. Will they preserve the Union? Probably. I'd been thinking I was contrary in rooting for the separatists until I remembered that Czechoslovakia achieved a peaceful and fairly amicable split in 1993. (Of course, Slovakia got the very short end of that stick, but it showed that separatism can work. Or not.)

RFE/RL reports that former Czech President Havel is firmly behind the people in the Ukraine. Here's his statement, originally in Czech, sent from Taiwan where Havel was on a visit (translation by Magda Sebestova of RFE/RL):

Dear Citizens,

Allow me to greet you in these dramatic days when the destiny of your country is being decided for decades ahead. You have its future in your hands. All trustworthy organizations, both local and international, agree that your demands are just. That is why I wish you strength, perseverance, courage and good fortune with your decisions.

Yours truly,

Vaclav Havel

Somebody tuck Vášek in -- he's plainly exhausted.

At any rate, the Radio is hosting a roundtable 1 December on 'Ukraine: What next?' If you want to go, RSVP by 10:00 a.m. tomorrow at lukaso@rferl.org.


Gone huntin'

Getting back to my red-state roots for a couple weeks. I know you'll miss me. Some things to ponder while I'm away.

*Iraq needs help. No. I mean really. I still owe you my notes from the RFE/RL roundtable. Highlights include:
- Me getting spanked -- spanked! -- when I suggested maybe semi-autonomous regions might not be such a bad idea.
- The Shii'a representative saying with a straight face 'We are working with non-Muslim groups'.
- The Sunni representative saying that, although Sunnis would not recognise the validity of the elections, the elections must go foward.
- The Sunni representative saying that 'all of Iraq's problems are caused by neighboring countries' and pointedly not naming those countries, including the one whose name rhymes with 'you wait'.
- The Kurd representative saying, in response to the rather strange question 'Do your parties support the Iraqi army': 'Kurdistan has its own army.'

AvP. How come the interior of that pyramid was so well lit?

Czech democracy. As Doug points out, more than a small amount of the Czech population want their communism back. Bad on MfD for not reporting what the precise question was. Expressing 'nostalgia for the Communist era' may simply mean they got laid a lot in the seventies. Or could be they miss a time when they weren't being hassled to the polls to go vote for ODS again. Or not.

Aight. Got an early flight tomorrow. You kids be good and don't give your grandma a hard time. And no TV until you finish your homework.


Faith-based humility

Earlier today, I noticed that Gary Hart is leading the Democrats' charge to retake the moral high ground.

There are five important things about getting on TV ...

As Scott mentions, our zany election-night camera-jacking antics seem to have paid off, sorta. It's an old trick: Cameras are drawn to hand gestures like jackdaws to bright, shiny objects. Next time you're watching a press conference, notice how all the flashes go of when the speaker raises his or her hand; even better if the subject gives a thumbs-up, make an expansive gesture, rubs a bald head or rubs a semi-bald head.

The baby and the Baath water

Jon Lee Anderson writes in the New Yorker:

'An American special-forces officer stationed in Baghdad at the time told me that he was stunned by Bremer's twin decrees. After the dissolution of the Army, he said, "I had my guys coming up to me and saying, 'Does Bremer realize that there are four hundred thousand of these guys out there and they all have guns?' They all have to feed their families." He went on, "The problem with the blanket ban is that you get rid of the infrastructure; I mean, after all, these guys ran the country, and you polarize them. So did these decisions contribute to the insurgency? Unequivocally, yes. And we have to ask ourselves: How well did we really know how to run Iraq? Zero."'


I'm so sorry

"It's rare that a successful apology happens. One where you apologize to someone, not for selfish reasons, but because you're really sorry and you want them to know that, and when the person you're apologizing to really hears what you're saying. Three stories of people groping toward that moment."
- Ira Glass, This American Life, Episode 277


Room of one's own. Sleeps three.

Next Wednesday I will be attending a roundtable discussion on 'Political Developments In Iraq Ahead Of January's National Elections' hosted by RFE/RL. Speakers will include Mrs. Sallama H. Abdulla, Member of the Iraqi National Assembly, Shi'a; Mr. Mohammad S. Mohammad, Deputy of the Kurdistan Democratic Party's Public Relations Burea; and Mr. Baha Aldin B. Abdul Qadir, Member of Electoral Commission of Iraqi Islamic Party, Sunni. The event starts at 11 and is 'open to the public'. Let me know if you wanna go.


Getting it and not getting it

I don't get it. Do you get it? I just don't get it. Either I don't get it or more than half the American voting public don't get it. And if the majority don't get it, then I guess I just don't get it.

By the way, Zlata hvezda sucks ass. But then, who am I to say?


My opponent is a flapjacker

Campaign-Trail Quotes From George W. Bush, If He Were Running for President in 1848

"It is simply not true that we lacked support for the Mexican War. Our coalition was joined by Bohemia, the Papal States, and Lombardy. When listing our supporters, my opponent also forgot Schleswig."

Of course, he'll lose the electoral college

Kerry continues to hold the lead in Czech polls, with the exception of the Czech World News poll, where Bush has moved in front with 52.94% of 34 votes (How does that work?).

Elsewhere in the Czech Republic, it's a Kerry landslide. The iDnes poll has Kerry with 9570 votes to Bush's 5124 (and the votes are coming in faster than I can keep track). Český rozhlas has Kerry with 61.4%, Bush with 32.0%, 'někomu jinému' with 5.0%, and 'nehlasoval(a) bych' with 2.0%.

The Prague Post's poll has Kerry winning with 59.7% of respondents, Bush 35.2% and Nader 5.1%. (I don't mean to criticise unnecessarily, but the Post's poll raises a couple questions, namely, Why have they put Kerry [begins with K] ahead of Bush [begins with B]? Maybe it's because the senator's ahead in the race. And why Nader but not Badnarik or Peroutka? I mean, sure, they won't get even as many votes as Nader, but their names sound Czecher.)

Across the border, Sme has a relatively close poll, with Kerry at 51%, Bush 43% and Neviem 7%. The Slovak Spectator has local beer leading the race with 52% of respondents, Kofola at 31% and mineral water with 17%. Wait, wrong poll. Oh well. Interesting to know that the summer drink poll had 1071 responses while only 572 Spectator readers had an opinion on 'Should Slovak forces be withdrawn from Iraq?' (55% said 'yes').

In Bulgaria, the Sofia Echo also has its thumb on the throbbing pulse of public opinion. According to their poll 100% of respondents are watching Big Brother.