personal viewpoint

Monday Interlude

This Dane in Scotland is putting wrapped Christmas presents into postal boxes going across seas. While I'm doing this, I'm listening to my German friend, Silke, live on NZ radio. Distance is very relative these days. A few links: + Drake's Door: a big selection of audiobooks and poetry recordings with an emphasis on late 19th C and early 20th C British and American literature. Some material is restricted to US audiences only, but there is still plenty of things to sink your teeth into. + The Popdose 100: The Popdose site compiles their favourite 100 singles of the last fifty years. As always it's a matter of personal taste, but it's still pretty interesting. Also, thumbs up for number twenty. + The Museum of Weird Books: "TV Vet: Horse Book: Recognition and Treatment of Common Horse and Pony Ailments with over 300 action pictures", anyone? I'm particularly intrigued by the action pictures. + Judge A Book By Its Cover: a blog filled with horrid cover design, mind-boggling pulp fiction and readalongs of genre fiction. Surprisingly JABBIC doesn't provide full-on snarking but prefers gentle mocking. Nice one.

Post-Post Election Linkage

Having had very little sleep the night before, I was a bit of a mess yesterday. I was sobbing my way through post-election coverage on the TV and my sobs turned into full-blown chest-wrecking wails when I heard the Obamas were getting a pound puppy. Oh, dear internet, I was a sight to behold. My partner, David, was slightly unsettled at first and then began to bait me with news stories just to see if I'd break into tears again. Cruel man. But here we go with some of the things I unearthed: + George W. Bush in pictures. Okay, I didn't sob over this one, but I really enjoyed the captions courtesy of (UK conservative newspaper) The Daily Telegraph. It's teh funneh. + Condoleezza Rice reacting to Obama's victory was one of the most startling things I was seen in years. Her reaction makes me wonder what who the real Ms Rice may be. + Read this if nothing else: Newsweek spills the beans from inside the campaigns. Hackers, the tension between the Palins and McCain's staff ("Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast"!), McCain not wanting to use negative attacks, Barack Obama swearing etc. Oh, and that Barack Obama knows his Star Trek emerges as well. Hmm.. Trek vs. Wars fans might want to read something into that. + UK rapper Dizzee Rascal reacting to Obama's win with Jeremy Paxman wondering if Rascal might consider running for PM (possibly only available to UK viewers, let me know) + Ralph Nader being taken to task by FOX news over his saying Obama could be an 'Uncle Tom'. Yikes. The next years are going to be very interesting, aren't they? + The continuing saga of what Sarah Palin doesn't know. + From Blueyonderletters, how the past eight years shaped November 4, 2008:

"..then it occurred to me: erasing the last eight years wouldn't automatically improve things. The opposite of hell isn't necessarily paradise, in this case. If we hadn't had the pain and the embarrassment and the disaster of the last two political cycles, where would we be now?"

+ A pre-election love letter to Barack Obama's campaign. It's more of a picture-spam, actually and I laughed hard - and then I choked up at the photos of the supporters. Pictures of happy, ordinary people really got to me. There were plenty of those yesterday. + And, finally, just to dampen the excitement: there are some scary people out there and proposition 8 on banning same-sex marriage was passed in California.

I'm going to put on my winter coat now and go for a brisk walk. I have been a complete news junkie these past few days and I need to clear my head. But the past few days have been really good, haven't they?

Almost There?

Dear world, How will the world look tomorrow? I think it will look pretty much like today, although today is particularly sunny for a November day in Glasgow, Scotland. The sun will shine again tomorrow and I will once again wage a (losing) battle with my fridge and its tendency to freeze my milk. It is a mundane existence but it is mine.

The US is voting for a new president today, of course. In its own way it has an impact on my life, although, mainly, in ways I find difficult to explain. My best example is my own little backyard.

In foreign matters, the Danish government has relied upon the US administration far more than any other Danish government I can recall. The Danish PM believes himself to be a close, personal friend of Mr Bush and, lo, the Danish government was one of the first to offer support for the War in Iraq (we even sent a submarine). In domestic matters, the Danish government has relied upon a far-right political party to lend them authority. The far-right party has a platform of anti-Muslim and anti-immigration sentiments with an anti-plurality, anti-intellectual stance on most other matters. This has been the political landscape in my little country since 2001. I moved to the UK in 2006 for several reasons - including an uneasy feeling of no longer being comfortable calling myself a Dane.

The world is very unlikely to change overnight and I do not think it will look any different tomorrow. I hope in a vague and abstract way that my desired (and, according to the polls, entirely likely) result of the US election will trickle down to affect a change in my own little country. How will the far-right react to a US president with a multi-ethnic background and whose father was a lapsed Muslim? How will the Danish PM deal with a US president whose stance on war is vastly different? Can I once again look at my national flag without a bad taste in my mouth?

I can but hope.

If you are an American citizen, please do go out and vote today. You are voting for yourself and your country - you are also voting for me and my country.

Love, Karie.

PS. It's been a long, long haul. This one sums it up - sorry about the NSFW URL as the content is entire SFW: This Effing Election - a babel tower of words.

A Serious Post On Politics, Sorry

Statistically there is a twenty percent chance that Sarah Palin will have to act as President of the USA someday - a fact based upon presidential history* - or an even greater chance if you also factor in McCain's age, his medical history and his unwillingness to release current medical records. Bearing that in mind, Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric is the most terrifying thing I have seen in a long, long time. And now the McCain campaign has been suspended. The Republican presidential hopeful has rushed to Washington to give everybody a good piece of his mind and instead of letting the VP nominee do her job of stepping in for McCain, he has called off everything for the moment. Although, come to think of it, would you let Palin debate politics with Barack Obama if you were her boss?

Clive Cook's piece was written before the suspension of the campaign but his observation is even more interesting now:

"I do think Obama is handling the crisis much better than McCain--not because he is suggesting better remedies (he continues to say little), but because his instinct to reflect before opening his mouth and his impeccable taste in advisers are both working to his advantage.

These factors I think are much more important than the supposed popularity of standard Democratic positions on economic management. Unlike McCain, Obama offers no instant bold responses, needing to be qualified or withdrawn or forgotten soon after. As ever, he looks calm, methodical and unruffled--and has his picture taken in conference with Paul Volcker, Bob Rubin and Larry Summers, who command wide respect. His response may be thin, so far, on content, but it is an altogether more reassuring posture than his rival's tendency to hasty and exaggerated certainty.

Finally, as a self-identified Humanist, knowing that Palin was somewhat recently blessed to be free from 'witchcraft' is just unfathomable and, again, terrifying.

I'm struggling here, America. I really am.

*according to Lawrence Lessing