So every American should read this OSCE news releases. International observers (from the OSCE — Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) were monitoring our elections (invited by the U.S. State Department). This is a really good thing, because it helps to ensure transparency and fairness in the electoral process and it also sends a good message to the rest of the world. The news is actually pretty good, but the issues raised in their more detailed report are important ones to consider — especially allowing for greater access for international observers.
I have to say — it’s better. I’ve been using it for a few months now in different incarnations and I’m impressed. It’s so fast that it makes this dinosaur of a laptop at work seem fast. It may be sacrilege to say so, but it’s even better than Safari — for one, it works with many sites that break under Safari (such as my online bank).
So I’m here in Sophia Antipolis at this W3C working group meeting for XML Compound Documents. It doesn’t sound very sexy, but actually… well OK it isn’t very sexy. But it’s potentially important for the development of the Mobile Web — in particular how XHTML and SVG can be combined to produce better user experiences on mobile devices. Better in what sense? A well defined language profile for combining XHTML and SVG means that content producers (“Web Sites”) can have more confidence that markup will work across a range of devices and therefore more confidence that people will be able to use their services.
So if W wins the day, which looks inevitable at this point, what then? My worry is that the coalition of organizations that have come together in opposition of Bush in this last year have essentially “shot their wad.” What we will need is further organized resistance to Bush and his policies. I have been voting with my dollars and giving to Amnesty International since this summer and just now I became a member of the ACLU as well. Amnesty works around the world to oppose torture and human rights abuses and the ACLU works fights in the U.S. to preserve rights and liberties. Supporting the ACLU is especially important right now as they have recently withdrawn from a federal grant program because they refused to screen their current employees against a terrorist “watch list.” The strategy must be to marginalize and immobilize Bush and his cronies wherever possible – to oppose them at every turn. Otherwise, I worry very much that the America of four years hence will be quite unrecognizable. Looks like we’re in for a “long, hard slog.”
So yesterday we (the family) went to Highgate — which has a reputation of being a really nice and historical part of London that we’ve been living near but have never been to. Highgate itself was beautiful — village atmosphere with Georgian architecture, etc… but we were a bit disappointed by the proliferation of chain restaurants. In particular, were refused a table at Strada, which is a mediocre pizza chain anyway but we had stopped out of desperation. Getting hungrier and hungrier, we finally tripped across a fantastic pub called The Flask. They had an amazing beer collection* and good food — and they were very friendly, even though the place was crowded beyond belief. So the day was at least partially redeemed.
* It’s actually very difficult to find a pub in London that has a good selection of beers. This is because most pubs are chains that are owned by brewers, and because most people (yes, even here) settle for whatever — usually Carling for some inexplicable reason. Locally owned pubs usually offer a better selection, or at least offer some good hand-drawn ales, but they’re few and far between.
Ok — This blog is not going to be predominantly political, because there are plenty of other blogs out there doing this (such as the highly recommended Shrillblog.) I will, however, say that I am really hoping we can kick this jack-ass out of the Whitehouse. Why? Because he has made the world a more dangerous place. For me, it’s primarily a personal issue: my family is at greater risk because of this nut-bar and his Iraq misadventure.
Good BBC News article today, capturing some of the American expat experience during the election.
With all the political partisanship in the air, it was refreshing to see this release from Amnesty International, admonishing both presidential candidates to condemn torture and abuse of human rights.
We (the U.S.) are just not doing a good job here, as you can seem from Amnesty’s more detailed report, condemning the U.S. for all sorts of abuses and failures.
If we want to “lead the world” with “transformational liberty” (or whatever), this is not the way to do it.
So a friend of mine from the States was surprised to hear that they have Ikea here in London.
My sister is in St. Petersburg (Russia) this year getting her Master’s –
and she reports that there is an Ikea there too.
Ikea is like a state unto itself. I think they own whole south-pacific
islands where they grow forests of particle-board-trees under huge yellow
The Ikea in London is like every other Ikea I’ve ever been to. Keep in mind
as well that the last time I was in an Ikea was about 6 years go. They are
a constant throughout space and time.