Monthly Archives: June 2007

Down, Down, Down Goes US Popularity

The latest Pew Study of world opinion notes an ever increasing downward slide in how people regard the United States. Of the 46 countries surveyed, only Israel, Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria support continued American military presence in Iraq. Respect for America has declined from 2002-2007:
Germany from 60$ favorable to 30%
England from 75% to 51%
Mexico from 64% t0 56%
The current approval rate for the United States is 9% in Turkey, 13% among Palestinians, and 15% in Pakistan.

I find it distressing people in Israel still haven’t grasped that George Bush has done more damage to their nation than any figure in the past fifty years. They should ask a simple question: Is Israel today better off than it was in 2003?

Nepal Communists Infiltrate Casinos!

If you happen to be in Nepal in the coming months and stop at the Hyatt Regency or the Radisson to engage in some gambling, be aware that many people running the casino tables are members of the Nepal Communist Party. For some reason, the Maoists have decided that workers of the world should unite at the nearest gambling casino. You will note every time the House wins a pot, the casino worker raises a clenched fist in the air.

I have a hunch old Karl Marx is turning over in his grave.

Male Teacher Education Quota Nixed in Korea

The Korean Education Ministry rejected a request from the Seoul schools to establish a quota ensuring that at least 30% of teachers be male. At present, 74% of elementary teachers are female, 63.6% of middle school teachers are female and 38,3% of high school. Female educators argued quotas would be an example of sexual discrimination.

There are interesting world wide trends in education which reflect that females constitute an ever increasing percentage of college students. This is true in the United States as well as in many European nations. On one hand, historically the fight was to establish quotas to ensure females got equal opportunities, and, on the other hand, the situation in education is reversed. Do we need male quotas?

A Day In the Life of Afghanistan

Following are items appearing on the front page of the Pajhook Afghan News today.
Four tons of drugs burned.
11 rockets land on cities.
3 schools burned.
9 of 18 miners kidnapped by Taliban are released.
7 suspects detained.
5 kidnappers killed.
3 rebels killed and four arrested.
18 rebels eliminated
Store of drugs are burned.
Taliban executes defector as government spy.

So, what was your day like today?

Lock Em Up, Throw Away the Keys

Senator Lindsey Graham wants to impose mandatory detention of any immigrant who overstays a visa. At present, 230,000 immigrants are detained for one violation or another and 63 have died while being held in prisons since 2004. The Graham solution fits in perfectly with Republican hysteria about immigrants and terrorism. Actually, could any Republican provide some examples of exactly how many, if any, immigrants have been arrested and convicted for being terrorists?

People have immigrated to America for hundreds of years, and many, for one reason or another overstayed a visa. We currently have over a million foreign students in this country and we can assume X percent overstay their visa for legitimate or lazy reasons. If we adopt Senator Graham’s plan, it will be a bonanza for those who wish to build prisons since we would need quite a few more Guantanamos in this country rather than in Cuba. Or, maybe Senator Graham wants to send hundreds of thousands of detained immigrants to Cuba.

America is rapidly gaining a reputation as having a Not Welcome sign to visitors. Visitors are responsible for billions of dollars of revenue, and if we continue taking negative attitudes we will lose that source of revenue. I suspect if anyone examined his or her immigrant history examples would crop up of a distant relative who overstayed a visa or broke one or another immigration rule. My uncle entered this country illegally and turned out to be a decent citizen.

Minister of Migration and European Affairs Speaks

Finland has created a new Cabinet post entitled Minister of Migration and European Affairs which is headed by Astrid Thors. She believes immigrants are best assisted by ending discrimination against them, but also, by allowing them opportunities to do something for their nation. She refers to immigrants as “New Finns” which is a positive approach to identifying immigrants to one’s nation. Finland recently, as part of the Ourvision European song contest, had a special song contest for those falling into the immigrant category. The contest got great publicity in Finland.

Ms. Thors believes Internet racism is a major issue that must be addressed and she will strive to cut red tape so New Finns will not be confronted by a burdensome bureaucracy which makes life difficult for the newcomer.

America might have something to learn from Finland. First, we can call immigrants, New Americans. During the 1930s, there were special events attracting immigrants on “I am an American Day.” As a child in school, teachers continually emphasized we were “Americans” even though our parents had migrated from another land. Secondly, we can explore possibilities of what can immigrants do for America other than serving in the armed forces. Thirdly, let’s simplify every immigrant form so it is person friendly.

The Oil Food Fight

Exxon Mobil Corporation and ConocoPhillips have quit Venezuela after failing to come to an agreement with the Chavez government over what percent goes to the government. Several other oil companies like Chevron decided to give Venezuela up to 60% control and profits.

Control over oil is a sore point with many Latin American nations who historically, were exploited by American companies. It is not surprising Chavez is attempting to get more money from the oil companies. Frankly, I will not cry for Exxon since it has gotten quite a few billion out of Venezuela oil. I guess Chevron and the others don’t want to quibble about a billion here or there.

On The Mormon Dress Code

i was reading an article in a Ghanian newspaper which dealt with recent visits by Mormons to their nation. There were pictures of several black and white boys wearing white shirts and red ties gazing out with broad smiles on their faces. It occurred to me that just about every picture I ever see about Mormons contains males wearing white shirts and wearing ties. I don’t recall ever seeing a picture of a sloppily dressed Mormon. Mitt Romney always has on a shirt and tie, I have never seen him dressed informally.

Many years ago when I lived in California there would be a knock on my door on Sunday morning and standing there would be two smiling handsome Mormon boys dressed in suits and wearing white shirts with dark ties. Is there some rule in the Church of Latter Day Saints against sloppy dressed people like me? I wonder, does this mean when I get to Heaven, I will have to wear a suit and tie? Then again, I have never seen any depiction of God with a suit and tie, He’s always wearing a white robe.

Mother Axes Daughter to Protect Family Honor

A Jordanian mother axed and strangled her 26 year-old daughter because she gave birth to a child out of wedlock. After committing the murder, the mother proudly went to the nearest police station and announced she had just defended family “honor.” Unfortunately, for her, the court did not agree and she received a 15 year sentence for murder. The mother curses judges for the “harsh sentence” and insisted she should have been freed.

I respect the customs and values of others, but the business of “family honor” does not belong in modern societies. Non-Muslims are outsiders, but, killing children because they fall in love with “the other” or having a child out-of-wedlock do not resonate as powerful expressions of the beauty of the Muslim religion. Non-Muslims respect the power and faith of a religion which preaches peace and brotherhood, but honor killing besmirch all that Muslims hold dear.

Bombs and Beaches in Lebanon

The Lebanese army is pounding away at Fatah militants holed up in Palestinian refugee camps while thousands are at the beaches enjoying summer sun. There is a surreal atmosphere in Lebanon these days as the nation is being torn to pieces by various militant forces, some native to Lebanon, and some from outside. Hizbullah has promised to find out and punish who killed six Spanish UN peacekeepers while Palestinian fanatics fire away at the Lebanese army.

People on the outside forget Lebanon has been engaged in one form or another of civil war since 1980 but daily life must go on. Dani M. told a reporter as he lounged in a beach chair: “I don’t think it is inappropriate to have fun– just because the country is in a war.” Fortunately, Lebanon has been spared the madness of suicide bombers so people can swim, drink, and conduct their daily business of work and romance.