Russian Election

•March 6, 2008 • 1 Comment

Congrats to Dmitry Medvedev on winning the presidency. He really had some…*cough…tough competition. Let’s take a look at his opponents:

 Gennady Zyuganov (Communist): The guy wrote a book of political jokes and handed them out to a group of experts seeing him (I heard they were lame too), and he even offered his autograph. If the whole Communist thing didn’t turn voters away, I’m sure his lame jokes did.

 Vladimir Zhirinovsky:  The guy freakin’ flat out said he wanted to extend the Russian Empire into Asia a few years back. He wanted to “so Russian soldiers can wash their shirts in the Indian Ocean.” Yeah, that’ll get you a lot of friends, and besides, he’s been around for too long. He’s old news.

Andrei Bogdanov A.K.A. “The Right Candidate”: This left wing nutjob advocated liberal moves like joining the EU. What kind of self-respecting former Communist would vote for someone like that? I’m just joking, but I heard that people had trouble making sense of his views.

Dmitry Medvedev (Kremlin candidate): He obviously did something right (or at least not as many things wrong).

Overall, Putin was a fairly popular president, but I believe there were a few underlying problems citizens had with his administration. First, I think the Russian citizens are a little bit resentful that he didn’t spread the oil wealth around a little more. In addition, there is a growing suspicion that Russia is being run by the corrupt political elite, I don’t exactly know why. Voter turnout wasn’t the highest either; rather than being informed on candidates and policies, citizens were just told that voting was part of their civic duty. Hopefully, Medvedev will be able to expand on the positive aspects of Putin’s presidency and improve life for all Russians. After all, Putin and Medvedev have a very close relationship, and since Putin will remain active in government, the two will be able to work together to rally support for new legislation. In terms of the world, we’ll still have to wait and see. One great thing to see would be to see Russia join the EU, but that’s just wishful thinking. Medvedev’s policies and how well he works with the U.S. will be crucial as well.

One more thing I thought was really cool about the elections. The government was indirectly trying to intimidate people into voting (from a Russian political expert):

“And most telling of all, when an activist from the Other Russia movement who was distributing newspapers at a metro station got into an argument with officials who wanted to move him on, members of the public instantly and silently took his side.

I watched in amazement as they defiantly and purposefully pushed the official aside, to take a paper one by one – their way of telling the authorities what they thought of this bid to intimidate.”

Brett Favre…We Salute You

•March 4, 2008 • Leave a Comment

A blog of silence for our long-time hero.

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Castro’s Resignation…What Does it Mean?

•February 26, 2008 • Leave a Comment

With Fidel Castro’s resignation from the Cuban government, the big question which has been debated for years finally comes to the surface again, “Should we continue the trade embargo with Cuba?”

I believe it is definitely an option that should be considered. Of course, we need to wait and see Raul’s intentions first, but he has been described as a more moderate dictator than his brother, Fidel. He has promised slow steady reforms, and that will hopefully lead to a more free market. This will allow our businesses to profit nicely. Regardless of what people say, Fidel Castro did do some positive things for the Cuban people, such as nationalizing all Cuban businesses by kicking American businessmen out, noticeably improving conditions for Cuban laborers. Obviously, events like the Cuban Missile Crisis are not fond memories, but I’m speaking from an economic standpoint. Whether or not Cuba remains Communist remains to be seen, but it is not going to happen overnight. This could even be a potential issue in the presidential race in the U.S. John McCain said that lifting the emargo would serve only to “prop up the Communist regime,” while Barack Obama and Hill-Dog claimed they would consider easing up the embargo if Cuba showed positive/democratic intentions.

Cuba will undergo many domestic changes as well. Opening up the economy to foreign investment should greatly improve conditions for the Cuban population. Cubans living in Florida will be allowed to have regular contact with their families, which will make everyone happy. Free speech would also be a pretty nice thing to add on, but let’s not get greedy. One step at a time.

I believe the most important thing the U.S. can do is not stick its nose too deep into Cuban affairs. We should be supportive of their change, but we should be sure not to try and run the show. After all, that’s why a lot of countries and organizations hate the U.S. in the first place!

My thoughts summed up:  New leader in Cuba + New leader in the U.S. = Opportunity for change

Let’s make sure we don’t blow it, eh?

Check this Out!

•February 14, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I’m not going to lie:  this is one of the most awesome videos I’ve seen in a long time.

Well…what’d I tell ya?

Popular Disollusionment in Britain in the 1960s and 70s

•February 11, 2008 • 1 Comment

During the 1960s and 70s, the population of Britain experienced a large shift towards popular disollusionment for three main reasons:

1.)  The Economy:  The British economy had slowly been declining since the end of WWII. Wages weren’t able to keep pace with inflation and stagflation, which is the condition of little or no economic growth. The standard of living for many Britons dropped noticeably, while others plummeted directly into poverty. In addition, traditional manufacturing jobs were gradually diminishing, so unions began to lose membership. During the “winter of discontent,” labor unions began a massive protest against Parliament’s economic policies. Economic decline was the biggest factor in the British popular disollusionment.

 2.) Ideological Conflicts:  During the 70s, many forces worked to change government policies. Many mainstream newspapers and conservative thinkers put large amounts of effort into undermining the concept of the Keynesian welfare state. Other New Social Movements (NSMs), such as feminism, nuclear activism, and environmentalism, began to take precidence. In addition, unions lost support due to the image that they neglected the need of the workforce, acted undemocratically, and even bullied society.

3.)  Social Change:  In addition to economic and ideological strife, many issues on subjects such as race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, began to surface. The fear by the British of being overrun by nonwhite immigrants became prominent, and that fear, along with many others, was answered by none other than Margaret Thatcher when she came to power in 1979, but that’s another story.

Quite a few things happened because of this disollusionment. For one, punk music was born. If it wasn’t for this movement, the Sex Pistols, Ramones, Led Zeppelin, and many other punk bands would have never been created. Politically, Margaret Thatcher used a large portion of this negative momentum to attain power. She wisely played off of the discontentment of society and reaped the rewards accordingly.

City selects first wind farm site: YAY!

•February 7, 2008 • 1 Comment

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/south_yorkshire/7230264.stm 

I am very glad to see progress being made in the field of alternative energy. In my opinion, it is one of the most important issues the U.S. and the entire world is facing both today and years in the future. When the future comes, the world must be ready. As Britain gradually shies away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy sources, foreign dependence will decrease, which is exteremely good considering the tumultuous state the Middle East is in. In addition, wind power is cheaper and cleaner. Oh yeah, and did I mention that it never runs out? The price of wind per barrel doesn’t fluctuate. Instead of spiking, wind power and other alternative energies will only experience a gradual drop in price as technology and the amount of use improves. This is a great move on Britain’s part, and the British population should keep this train rolling, and the rest of the world should do the same. It preserves the environment AND keeps cash in our pocketbooks. Win-win.

Petition objects to gay adoption

•February 7, 2008 • 1 Comment

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/south_yorkshire/7230515.stm

I found this to be quite interesting. Regardless of the outcome, one thing is for sure. This issue is not one that is going to just go away, and it will not be resolved easily. It all just comes down to gay rights, and those have been debated for years. It will also make an impact in the next election. I also believe that the U.K. and the U.S. will run parallel courses in terms of gay rights. The question is:  which of the two will resolve this issue first? Historically, the European nations have usually acted first, but that could change. I’m not going to lie, I would be very weirded out if I was adopted by a gay couple, but that’s because I have been brought up in a generation where that issue wasn’t as widespread. Often times, the child can’t decide either because he or she is too young to even know what homosexuality is. All I can really say is that we’ll just have to wait and see.