Category Archives: politics

Awareness of the tragedy in Myanmar

I just became aware of the situation in Burma/Myanmar through this post and if this report is accurate the situation is very grim. I have been pretty moved by what I have read about the situation so I thought I would share what I have read and learned. Below there is a list of news articles relating to the current situation in Myanmar. But first I want to mention a few things that I think are interesting.

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Freedom to criticize and quantify

How do people respond when a U.S. general presents testimony to congress that contains slides that are difficult to interpret? Well, some people respond constructively and make a project out of it. Others respond in ways that will probably be much less useful when it comes to interpreting future testimonies, such as controversial full page ads in newspapers. As far as I can tell, congress has yet to acknowledge the useful responses to General Patraeus’ presentation. They could use a bit of quantification I think. Unfortunately, they have acknowledged quite vehemently the ad taken out by MoveOn.org in the New York Times on September 10th. Now, I don’t know that much about the situation and I am not an active supporter of MoveOn. But, what the hell is the house doing wasting time passing a resolution in response to a newspaper advertisement? In my vision of how the U.S. government should work, congress would make laws not official declarations of their opinion of certain organizations. So what if an organization wants to spend its money expressing its opinions through advertisements? As long as such advertisements do not contain any false statements, I don’t see any problem with it. Shouldn’t freedom of speech include freedom from intimidation by the government to not express oneself in a particular way?

The Young Black Northerner vs. The Elderly Southerner

Early in Barack Obama‘s “The Audacity of Hope” Obama mentions an encounter that he had with Zell Miller. Despite the fact that they are both Democrats, the contrast between these two individuals is fascinating. As Obama puts it, “the elderly Southerner on his way out, the young black Northerner on his way in.” However, one might not think to even compare these two individuals had they not adopted opposing roles during the 2004 presidential election. Barack Obama and Zell Miller had been the keynote speakers at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, respectively. I had not been aware of this at the time, but now it seems to me that that was a momentous situation (not to mention a very pertinent situation to examine given the current build-up to the 2008 presidential election). Watch the videos of the speeches (Zell Miller wrote that Obama’s speech was one of the best he’d ever heard) and read some of my thoughts after the jump.

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