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Your U.S. Senator from Illinois…er, I mean Minnesota…

7 July, 2009; 14:47 1 comment

AlFr-Sen. Paul SimonWoo hoo! Liberal policy-wonk with a sense of humor and a funny face Al Franken will be sworn in today! Finally he’s in the real Senate — not just on TV.

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Categories: politics

A Glance Back in Time: Election 2004

20 October, 2008; 13:42 Leave a comment

A Swedish friend of mine reminded me today of a long-sprawling email conversation that I (for better or worse) started the day after the Presidential Election of 2004 (otherwise known as the Great Despondence). Actually, now that I look back, that email conversation was actually instigated by a comment that the same Swedish friend made at the time. 

Anyway, my basic theme in my…well, rant, you could say…was that morals trumped issues in that election because the liberals did not talk about their issues in a way that demonstrated their strong moral foundation — even though I believed that that foundation was stronger than the moral foundation of conservatives’ positions.

It’s now a fascinating read, not least because it elicited some very insightful responses from various friends (shown in the comments section). It’s also interesting to see how things that I thought would become important never quite did, and how the history that has actually happened had a lot more to do with things that would have been difficult to predict, such as Katrina, the current financial crisis,…oh, and my own move away from American soil.

Categories: politics

Interview on SR

16 October, 2008; 7:42 Leave a comment

SR

I was interviewed, as an American about to vote, for Swedish Radio yesterday, to find out what my thoughts were in advance of the third presidential debate.

You can listen to the interview by clicking here. This will open a new window (which your pop-up blocker might block) for the radio archive. As long as you have Real Audio or Windows Media Player installed, you’ll be able to press play and listen to the whole 10-minute hourly newscast. To skip ahead to the part about the debates, move the slider to exactly halfway, and let it play from there.

Then you’ll get to hear me say some not-terribly-intelligent, but also not-idiotic things about the debates, including a similar comment about the Swedish debates to what I said a few days ago. Enjoy!

Categories: politics, radio

Paul Krugman, Nobel Laureatte

13 October, 2008; 11:21 Leave a comment

Paul Krugman certainly deserves it for all the proper reasons, given his contributions to theories of global trade and economic geography. But I can’t help but think there’s also something to the fact that he’s had his head on straight about the current financial crisis since long before most people took it seriously.

You can read here his columns and blog, at the NY Times.

P.S. I am so going to his Nobel speech in December.

Categories: awards, politics

The Debates

12 October, 2008; 19:01 1 comment

Imagine for a moment the following:

You turn on the TV on a Sunday evening, to find a political debate. In a TV studio, there are two panel tables that face each other, and another small table between them and toward the back. At the right table sit three people: John McCain, Mitch McConnell, and John Boehner. At the left table sit Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid. At the center table is Gwen Ifil, the moderator.

They are debating. They’re talking about tax policy, which happens to be the subject of this debate. Barack Obama speaks, for about a minute, then Gwen Ifil names John McCain’s name to speak next, and we hear his response. The two tables face each other, and the groups of three speak not only to each other, but to the things that the others are saying.

They go back and forth for 10 minutes, all on the subject of an equitable tax policy, particularly the burdens on students, the retired, the poor, and the unemployed. Whatever the original question was, it’s been forgotten — more important now is the particular point that the discussion has come to, and they go back and forth on that point of disagreement. Mostly, we hear from McCain and Obama, but from time to time we also hear from the congressional leaders. After about 10 minutes discussion, Gwen Ifil chimes in with another question. Not a new question, from a list of pre-approved topics. Rather, it’s more like an interview follow-up question — it’s one that she just proposed, based on the discussion, to help probe deeper. They continue on that for a while. There must be a clock, but we as the viewers aren’t keenly aware of it. 

This is what I’m watching right now — except that the people involved aren’t the ones I named above, but the equivalents in Swedish politics. The right table has the four leaders of the four governing coalition parties, and the left table has the three leaders from the main opposition. And I have to say, this is a debate.

Categories: politics, tv

Superfat Tuesday

5 February, 2008; 8:13 Leave a comment

Today is significant for two reasons: Super Tuesday and Fettisdag.

Fettisdag is literally equivalent to Mardi Gras, so Swedes eat semlor to symbolically use up all the fat and sugar in the kitchen before Lent.

Super Tuesday, which I assume you know about. I just came from voting on my way to work this morning, at the out-of-place Tully’s on Götgatan (see photo). I didn’t really expect to vote, since I’m registered in Washington, which has an in-person caucus process sometime next week. But then I got an email from Democrats Abroad, reminding me to go vote this week. (I must have signed up for them when I first moved here, then forgotten.) It seems the Democratic party awards some delegates to expatriates as a group.

Interjected Update: The Local reports on the expat election at Tully’s here. The article mentions all the press coverage there, and it’s true. I gave an interview for Swedish Radio, and as I was walking out, a camera crew was setting up. I’d say there were as many press as there were voters.

But since I hadn’t really expected to vote until I got that email, it’s really been a last-minute decision for me. And who did I choose, in the end?

Read more…

Categories: holidays, politics

“Ch-change” in Washington

30 January, 2008; 19:29 1 comment

Well I don’t know about you, but my head’s really starting to spin with everything that’s been going on in the U.S. primary elections—and that’s while sitting here in the eastern hemisphere. Might be time to step back a bit and see the forest for the trees. So here’s something to put things in perspective… Read more…

Categories: politics