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Archive for December, 2008

On Sunday morning President Bush suffered a rude awakening from an Iraqi news reporter at a press conference in Baghdad.  The attack consisted of the reporter throwing both of his shoes and yelling ” this is a goodbye kiss from the Iraqi people, dog”.  While to Americans the throwing of a show is slightly humorous, in the middle east it is considered a huge insult.  The bottom of the shoe is considered insulting to be shown to someone, similar to the American insult of turning ones backside.   Because the attack is more insulting than violent, I feel that it has created more attention around the world.  The constant use of violence by Iraqi revisionist has become so prevalent on the news headlines that something different and purely insulting catches every ones eye. 

What I feel should be alarming for the American government is the support by the general public given to the attack.  While the Iraqi people are demonstrating for his release from jail, many Americans feel that the attack was well deserved. I feel it is important to recognize that the reporter is not some uneducated hostile terrorist.  He is an educated, and involved citizen who felt so strongly against the policy decisions made under president Bush that he had the need to throw his shoes at him.  With President Bush on his way out of office and president elect Barack Obama on his way in, the foreign policy executives of the new administration must learn from the incident.  Foreign policy in Iraq is obviously not working if attacks such as this one are occurring after seven years of American presence.  American foreign policy must make the lives better for the Iraqi people and install some sense of trust in the American occupation.

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The United States is facing a water shortage that is leading to the third year in a row of drought. Many say that while we are focusing mostly on oil in the next few years the attitude will adjust as many see water shortages. Water is a resource that is being over used in the US and may become very difficult to acquire in the future. Additionally, a water shortage means less agriculture production and other affects.

 

I do believe that water is a resource that needs to be dealt with because of the recent shortages. I think one of the main problems is the increasing amount of people that are consuming earth’s resources. Without constraining population the amount of resources will continue to deplete because it is more difficult to change human thinking or consumption patterns. However, I do think the problem is related to climate change in the way that in a few decades China will have less water to provide for Southern Asia. Glaciers are melting and may not be replenished. Therefore, I think it is crucial that water is kept in mind during National and international discussions on the environment or resources.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/science/12/11/drought.problem/index.html

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Oil Crisis in Nigeria

Oil is a large contributor to the national income of Nigeria. However, the country sees an overwhelming amount of poverty and destruction. The gap in the link from oil contributions to the government budget and the common public is the steady and past history within the government. Yet, recently attacks have been made on oil pipelines in order to demand money for projects in the most poverty stricken areas. The problem is that these attacks are now affecting an even greater range of people already sustaining life on a minimal basis.

 

Nigeria’s government has been historically corrupt. Therefore, I do not feel that the money from oil will be readily replaced or spent within the next few years for the Nigerian masses. At this point I feel the attacks must end because it is now affecting those who already live on a minimal basis. I am not sure if the developed world will intervene because of interest in oil. However, it would be best if a developed country put pressure on the Nigerian government to possibly shift government position on spending.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/12/11/pip.nigeria.oil/index.html

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With the recent convention for climate change in Poland there has been much talk about possible solutions. One step towards sustainability that is being worked on is a fund for developing countries to build clean carbon economies that will not pollute in an exponential fashion. However, the allocation and regulation of the funds has been disputed. The debate is whether to have the World Bank provide a substantial amount of the fund in form of loan or to have UNFCCC manage fund.

 

I have been investigating a negotiation like this for many weeks. The fund is a great way to have developing states accountable for emissions but allow for development in a clean way that is funded by the developed states that have historically polluted. Therefore, I would have to agree with article and say that best course for action is to give the money over to the UNFCCC this convention will be able to allocate the funds without being in loan form. Also, this is a noted convention that has dealt with the developed and developing states before and will be best equipped to allocate money appropriately.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2008/12/10-4

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Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is said to have orchestrated abuse toward prisoners at Guantanamo bay. The type of abuse that was similar to the case in Iraq. The Senate came out with a report solely blaming Rumsfeld and his deputies for knowledge and guidance over the acts of torture. Unlike some cases of abuse, the Senate has reported that this was not just a few people who took it upon themselves to act against the prisoners but the US government directing and explicitly outlining the measures to be taken on prisoners. In the defense of the officers, the White House is explaining that traditional practices were not working on detainees. However, many agree that the use of torture is wrong and inexcusable.

 

After, previous incidents in Iraq I would like to think that the government would have noticed that the American public does not respond favorably to torture. The term itself is constructed to have a negative connotation. Furthermore, the fact that the report has been issued by the Senate from both a republican and democratic shows some legitimacy to uncover the truth. Regardless of the specific facts that will be eventually released, I am interested in seeing if Obama will close Guantanamo. I feel that these public prisons are very negative for the American image from the world and should be dealt with accordingly. Lastly, it is not ethical to torture prisoners for information or revenge because the worth of a human is valuable.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2008/12/11-7

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From-> FP -> Must Reads -> http://change.gov/newsroom/entry/the_plan_for_broadband/

Technology blogs and commentators are applauding a part of President-elect Obama’s plan for economic recovery laid out in his most recent weekly address: the promise to make broadband internet access available in every corner of the country, and to push hospitals and doctors’ offices to improve care and cut costs by adopting electronic medical records.

“It is unacceptable that the United States ranks 15th in the world in broadband adoption,” President-elect Obama said in the address. “Here, in the country that invented the internet, every child should have the chance to get online, and they’ll get that chance when I’m President — because that’s how we’ll strengthen America’s competitiveness in the world….[and] the economic recovery plan I’m proposing will help modernize our health care system — and that won’t just save jobs, it will save lives.”

As a techie I am happy to see this happen. Broadband access will go a far way to improve the lives of Americans. Improved access will mean a dramatic increase in availability of information, more opportunities for business, and better public services. I have had the luxury of having internet access from an early age and I could not imagine going through my current daily routine without it. The fluidity and flexibility access to the internet brings to people is incomparable to any other technology.

The improved availability of information through the internet will enrich teaching and learning along with helping to spark innovation. Youth whose access to information was limited by the amount of books at the local library ( if they even have library, which many rural communities lack), will now have limitless amounts of information. They will also no longer be isolated from other communities, as they would be able to publish their own opinion on the internet’s many forums and interact with those who share a common interest. With the ability to readily peruse information on what interests them innovation would increase with people getting new ideas online.

Broadband access will also help spur business opportunities. Communication between businesses with multiple branches would now be capable and everything from accounting inventory to teleconferencing would make businesses more efficient. Access to the internet also gives businesses more options to obtain what they need at competitive prices and we make it so they are no longer limited by local resources. Broadband access is also something that many businesses look for when establishing locations and would make areas that previously did not have it more attractive for them.

Lastly services are improved. Major uses of broadband connections are hospitals, banks, mail couriers, and entertainment. The passing of information that these services use will be increased exponentially which means faster, more convenient access by customers.

A quick note about digitizing medical records: I have many relatives in the medical field and from my experience with them I can say that it is a big help for them. When they are writing up reports at night electronically they do not have to worry about legibility, and I have many times seen them send case information through personal computers while at home. In the medical field time plays a huge role in saving a life or not. By being able to instantly access medical records through a blackberry rather than digging through mountains of filing cabinets can mean the difference of life and death, and I am glad the Obama administration is pushing for this.

In short advocating for broadband access for everyone is a very smart move by President Elect Obama. It has the best bang for the buck. No other expansions in infrastructure will bring the same amount of opportunities and services that broadband access does, and in an ever increases technological world those without internet access are at a severe disadvantage.

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From -> NPR -> Tony Blair On Obama, US Foreign Relations.

Transcript->http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=97789900

LISTEN NOW

Another quickie weekend post: It looks like the world has warmed up to President Elect Obama and is continuing to stay that way. Tony Blair, in an NPR interview, gives Obama the thumbs up on appointing Hilary Clinton to Secretary of State, his selection of Economy and Foreign policy teams, and how Obama has stepped up to the plate from Day 1. Hopefully with the Obama administration continues to be seen in good light by the rest of the world. A global opinion that will keep his administration on a path of de-alienation, which would be a major step in the United States furthering an agenda of keeping economic and social stability and keeping an open dialogue with the rest of the world.

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