An informational cartoon in the October 2008 issue of Reason magazine, shows, with flowcharts the possible ways someone can attempt to gain American citizenship. Whew! Great cartoon, unbelievably difficult process.
I felt like I was inside a chapter of Thomas Friedman's book on globalization this morning. I had to place a phone call to find out how much interest was paid on a loan last year, for tax purposes. I was on hold for approximately ten minutes and then my call was answered by "Matt." Matt appeared, from his accent, to be a native of India and I could barely understand what he was saying to me. He had to put me on hold at least three times and finally after almost twenty-two minutes on the phone, I had what I needed.
"America’s relationship with the world is in disrepair. Anger, resentment, and fear have replaced the respect the United States once enjoyed. So, we asked a group of the world’s leading thinkers to answer one question: What single policy or gesture can the next president of the United States make to improve America’s standing in the world?" [Foreign Policy: What America Must Do]
"Bush was criticized. . . for applauding the overthrow of the democratically elected Nawaz Sharif government in the Oct. 12, 1999, military coup. His spokesperson at the time, Karen Hughes, said that Bush was encouraged by Musharraf's promise that he would hold early elections, restore "stability" to Pakistan, and ease tensions between India and Pakistan. . . What the world did not then know was that President Bill Clinton had negotiated a deal not long before with Prime Minister Sharif whereby Pakistan would deploy special operations troops to capture Osama bin Laden. When Musharraf took power in fall of 1999, he refused to honor the deal, since the operation was unpopular with the military's fundamentalist officers. Indeed, Bush was supporting a man who derailed the best chance the Clinton administration may have had to prevent Sept. 11." [Musharraf's power grab in Pakistan | Salon.com]
In all fairness to Bush (can't believe I'm typing those words), he couldn't have known about the deal President Clinton had made with P.M. Sharif and it is only in hindsight that you ache for the lost opportunity. The primary focus of the Salon article is to describe Bush's continued support for Musharraf because we continue to need his help, apparently even more than Musharraf needs the billions of dollars we've given his country in aid.
"Former Vice President Al Gore, who emerged from his loss in the muddled 2000 presidential election to devote himself to his passion as an environmental crusader, was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, sharing it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations network of scientists." [NY Times]
"In sum, Al Gore has been justly honored for highlighting — like no one else — the climate challenge. But we still need a vision, a strategy, an army and a commander in the White House who can inspire young and old — not only to meet that challenge but to see in it the opportunity to make America a better, stronger and more productive nation. This is our crucible moment." [Who Will Succeed Al Gore?]
"The incoming Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee could not describe Hezbollah and incorrectly described al-Qaeda's Islamic roots in a recent interview.
Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.). . . was asked by a reporter from Congressional Quarterly whether al-Qaeda was Sunni or Shiite. "Predominantly -- probably Shiite," Reyes replied.
From Osama bin Laden down, al-Qaeda's leadership is comprehensively Sunni and subscribes to a form of Sunni Islam known for not tolerating theological deviation. . . Asked to describe the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, according to a story published online Friday, Reyes responded "Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah" and then said, "Why do you ask me these questions at 5 o'clock?" [Washingtonpost.com]
I'll readily admit that 5:00 a.m. isn't my finest hour, that I wouldn't have known the answer to the first question, and that my answer to the second would have been extremely rudimentary. But I'm not the head of any Congressional committees at the moment.
"Since he left office more than five years ago at age 54, one of the youngest former presidents ever, Mr. Clinton has made a lasting mark in a cause that he came to only late in his presidency: fighting the AIDS pandemic across Africa and the world. . . Here on Mr. Clinton’s fourth visit to Rwanda, it was clear the efforts by his foundation had personal meaning. He said he was sorry his administration failed to intervene during the 1994 genocide. “The United States just blew it in Rwanda,” he said flatly. Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president, said he had accepted Mr. Clinton’s repeated apologies.
But on this trip, Mr. Clinton seemed anything but a man tormented by guilt. Rather, he reveled in his role as a private citizen championing people with AIDS.
“The reason I do this work I do is that I really care about politics and people and public policy,” he said in one of several interviews, scornfully dismissing questions about whether his global AIDS work is a form of redemption for what he failed to accomplish on the issue as president, or for the Monica Lewinsky scandal. “I’m 60 years old now, and I’m not running for anything, so I don’t have to be polite anymore,” he said. “I think it’s all a bunch of hokum,” he added, calling such speculation psychobabble.
“I have never met anybody who spent all their time talking about everybody’s motives who at the end of their life could talk about very many lives they had saved,” he said.
Mr. Clinton was adamant that he had done all he could about global AIDS with a Congress hostile to foreign aid, though he conceded that his administration fought too long to protect the patent rights of pharmaceutical companies against countries trying to make or import cheaper AIDS medicines." [NY Times]
I continue to admire President Clinton's post-presidential work.
"In response to the news Thursday that a team of astronomers had demoted
the icy little sphere to "dwarf planet" status, the Seven Dwarfs
themselves took time off from hacking away in the diamond mines and
romancing Snow White to issue this statement, via their friends at Walt
Disney World Resort:
"Although we think it's Dopey that Pluto has been downgraded to a dwarf
planet, which has made some people Grumpy and others just Sleepy, we
are not Bashful in saying we would be Happy if Disney's Pluto would
join us as an eighth dwarf. We think this is just what the Doc ordered
and is nothing to Sneeze at."" [E Online News]
"British authorities arrest 21 people in connection with what they called a terrorist plot to blow up a number of airliners traveling between Britain and the United States. Police say the plot involves smuggling liquid explosives onto aircraft in hand luggage." [NY Times]
Too scary and too reminiscent of 9/11, except, thankfully this plan was discovered before it could be executed.