Use the New Blog
Please use the new blog exclusively, and change your bookmarks. I'll be disabling this one, when I get the time. For now, you can post either (in case there are questions), but if you want to start a thread and be sure you can come back to it, post it there.
Reminder. I have to approve your first comment on the new blog, so get your account and make a post if you haven't, already.
Isolated, tiny and desolate, The Liancourt Rocks are the center of an international dispute that dates back to the 15th century. Koreans claim sovereignty over what they call "Dokdo", while the Japanese maintain that the islets are theirs, calling them "Takeshima". South Korea currently administers this collection of 90 islands and reefs in the Sea of Japan (East Sea), centered about halfway between South Korea and Japan - with only 2 permanent residents and 40 government workers stationed there (police, lighthouse keepers, Fishery Ministry personnel). Although the dispute is centuries old, it has heated up recently due to several incidents: increased efforts in Japan to call attention to the dispute itself, a flip-flop last year by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names where they briefly labeled the rocks as having "Undesignated Sovereignty" (undone by executive order within days), and the public observations in Japan of "Takeshima Day" on February 22nd. South Korean citizens have staged numerous protests against Japan over the past few years, some with extreme demonstrations, including a woman and her son who cut off a finger each, and one man who attempted to set himself on fire.
An Early Prediction
President Obama will not make the following statement.
"In view of the fact that an overwhelming majority of the American people want (some form of) 'public option' in any health care overhaul, I want congress to know that any bill they present to me without such an option will be vetoed. Following that veto I will ask congress to begin working on election reform, including the requirement that every advertisement during a political campaign end with a disclaimer stating who has funded that congressman's campaign, and therefore who's interest they will be representing if elected. Failure to pass a 'public option' will be a clear signal that it's time to end the tyranny of special interests."
Regardless, congress (specifically, the Senate) will not only fail to pass a bill with a "public option", they'll fail to get the dirty money out of politics and indeed fail to pass any of the reforms that Obama has called for. "Progressives" will be pissed, but at the wrong people.
By the time the next Presidential election rolls around, President Obama will be so weakened by the failure of congress to pass any meaningful progressive reforms that he'll be in danger of becoming a one-term President. His only chance to win will be that the GOP has "learned the lesson of the McCain candidacy", and will put up a candidate who's such a nutter that we'd have to be insane to elect him or her. Unfortunately, this "insanity bar" is no guarantee of the outcome of that election.
You read it here, first.
Working from the province by province breakdowns of the 2009 and 2005 results, released by the Iranian Ministry of Interior on the Farsi pages of their website shortly after the election, and from the 2006 census as published by the official Statistical Centre of Iran, the following observations about the official data and the debates surrounding it can be made.
· In two conservative provinces, Mazandaran and Yazd, a turnout of more than 100% was recorded.
· If Ahmadinejad's victory was primarily caused by the increase in voter turnout, one would expect the data to show that the provinces where there was the greatest 'swing' in support towards Ahmadinejad would also be the provinces with the greatest increase in voter turnout. This is not the case.
· In a third of all provinces, the official results would require that Ahmadinejad took not only all former conservative voters, all former centrist voters, and all new voters, but also up to 44% of former reformist voters, despite a decade of conflict between these two
· In 2005, as in 2001 and 1997, conservative candidates, and Ahmadinejad in particular, were markedly unpopular in rural areas. That the countryside always votes conservative is a myth. The claim that this year Ahmadinejad swept the board in more rural provinces flies in the face of these trends.
"More and Better Progressives"
Democratic Underground is obviously a site that focuses on electing Democrats. Orange State makes no bones about electing "more and better Democrats". Other "progressive" sites are
as much about opposing conservatism and Republicans as supporting Progressives, and generally default to "vote for this Democrat, (s)he is progressive."
Conservatives have found common ground between anti-abortion fanatics, tax protesters, "smaller government" "libertarians", and (paradoxically) MIC supporters and war hawks.
So, in light of the fact that uniting progressives is like herding cats, how do we elect more and better progressives? Where do we start? Is that even the proper way to frame it? How about "which issues would you support?", instead?
Happy Father's Day
OK, so putting up a new blog site and then leaving for several days probably wasn't the wisest thing I've ever done. A blog/message board with a relatively small membership, that came into existence as a "stable meeting place" should be, among other things, stable.
I like the WP software, but I'm USED TO the B2evo software, and I'm probably not alone on the latter. So, lemme bounce an idea off ya. (Readership appears to have dropped dramatically since I put up the new blog. 93 unique browser hits here, yesterday. So if I don't hear from any of you I'll just do what I think is best.)
I'll keep the old (B2evo) blog at http://www.timbuk3.com/blog/ as a "political blog", and I'll use the new (WordPress) blog at http://www.timbuk3.com/discuss/ as an "anything but politics" blog. My first idea was to make the WP blog an "environmental" blog, but I decided that was too limiting. Post movie reviews, stories about what's going on in your life, gardening tips ... whatever. No worries. It's not like there's "a penalty" for cross-posting. Maybe politics IS what's happening in your life. Maybe you want to talk about an issue (environmentalism comes to mind) that's "in a gray area"; important to you personally, but not entirely apolitical. Post wherever you like. It's a "guideline", not a "rule".
Well, happy Father's Day.
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