If their mouth moves, or so the joke goes.
At first it seemed like Obama might have a chance in the election but lately it seems that Hillary has a strong lead again (she has always had a lead but not always a strong one). Hillary would not necessarily be my first choice just because I don’t feel she is entirely trustable, or more actually she is a dyed in the wool politician.
My point of writing this though is my wish of an vote aggregation/statistic site that can list a bunch of topics and then show statistics on how the person voted in each of those areas. Example, during her tenure Hillary voted for 10 measures providing more environmental protections out of 13 so I would know that despite what she says (remember the moving mouth) she tends towards environmental issues. Showing something like this in a bunch of graphs etc would be great, and their might be such a site but I have yet to find it.
Since you can’t really trust what a politician says, you should be able to see what a politician does, or in the ideal world you should.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
If their mouth moves, or so the joke goes.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
I was catching up on my podcasts (not easy in a world of seriously limited bandwidth [an average of 1kbps]) and was listening to NPR’s “Ted Koppel Report” and “On The Media”. I consider Koppel’s commentary to be relatively fair (obviously leftist but in his case not unfair) and he made the mention of what Iran’s place was before 911/Iraq and what it is now, at least in terms of rhetoric and influence they are stronger now than before, why? Well there are no doubt a myriad of reasons but one of the reasons that Koppel points out is that Iran (Shite) was pretty much a balance to Iraq (Sunni) but now that Sadam has been toppled Iran is now somewhat unchecked. The balance held by these two countries was imperfect at best but would it not have been better to let them keep each other in check (neither has been found to ever have supported Al-Qaeda) than sacrifice our troops, reputation, and money to take out
Another point that I seem to remember now but had forgotten is that the Bush administration (more like Cheney) originally said that Sadam was harboring Al-Qaeda, well it turns out Sadam wasn’t harboring Bin Laden’s cohorts but the irony is that now Iraq is crawling with Al-Qaeda “franchises”, the irony is painful at best.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
This is one of the last things I would have expected to see in Afghanistan, especially out here where there is no paved road leading to it (you actually need 4 wheeled drive to get here [this is the first country I have seen true 4wd minivans, complete with locking hubs]), no electricity, and no running water but they have paddle boats.
As I have mentioned in some of my other posts we arrived here (Band-e Amir) fairly late so I dont remember seeing these boats but the next morning as we were eating breakfast people started a line for the paddle boats which made for an entertaining breakfast.
That I am aware of there are very few bodies of water in Afghanistan (lots of little streams and a few rivers thanks to the yearly melting of the snow in Afghanistans many mountains, but few ponds or lakes) so Band-e Amir is a special treat for many afghans. There were many more people crowded around the docks (two stones used for stepping into the boats) and I am not sure if it was because they didnt have enough money (conceivable but if they could afford to go to Band-e Amir I would think taking a boat wouldnt be too much extra) or because of fear. I never asked any of them why but I have heard that many Afghans arent the best swimmers (one could hardly expect them to be given the lack of water) so that is a plausible explanation.
Behsood II is a district in the Wardak Province that is just about as isolated as Behsood I. I had just finished playing volleyball that evening (the seemingly favorite after-work past time) and thought I would snap off a few photos so I walked out from the compound to a spot nearby where I thought I could get a good 360 degree photo.
The compound to the right is my organizations Behsood II field office, by far the nicest/biggest field office I have seen so far (though I hear the one up north in Mazarsharif is really nice). One of the things that amused me (though I am not sure amused is the right word) is the satellite TV the office has. Every evening after volleyball they rev up the generator for lights and TV. I will admit that these offices are homes of sort to staff and life out there can get pretty boring but satellite TV just seems a bit frivolous to me (as does spending 4-8 liters of gas per evening).
Anyway, the compound is up on a hill overlooking the valley kinda. I never did get the name of the village (left/center) but I thought it would make for a nice picture. The part to the far left is what is behind the compound, lots of nothingness. Actually nothingness is not true there are little roads and foot paths that lead to little villages scattered around but no large roads/town/buildings for miles and miles.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
I'm not sure how obvious it is but this is an outhouse, one of the less sanitary outhouses in Afghanistan I might add and was the only place to poop other than outside (which many many people did, you literally had to watch where you stepped if you chose to shortcut behind a rock or house because it was very likely someone saw that same spot as a private place to poop).
We had arrived at this site in the evening so we didn't see the writing on the outhouse before but while walking by the next day we saw it "Taliban House" written on the side of the outhouse. Now I have no idea if a foreigner wrote it (likely) or an Afghan wrote it (possible, there are plenty of Afghans that know alittle English) but I was amused. The Taliban particularly brutalized the people in this region (the Hazara) so there is no love for the Taliban here (which makes this region a particularly safe place for foreigners).
Sunday, September 02, 2007
We had been driving for a few hours (according to my GPS at about 15-20mph) and came across this cluster of houses and a stream. I am not sure what prompted the driver to stop here instead of somewhere else but we did so everyone (all four of us) got out to stretch splash our faces with some cold water (ironically it started to rain not 2 minutes later) and some kids appeared. With my French beard and no scarf to hide it they picked me out from a mile away and began staring. I have never been a fan of being stared at but can tolerate it sometimes better than other times. Since I had been discovered I thought what the hell and pulled out my camera and started snapping photos of the area (usually I try to be a bit more discreet so people dont single me out so quickly but here I had already been discovered, there were no women around, and this area was a safe area [something you have to consider when in Afghanistan]).