Thursday, August 27, 2009

A bit of world news

During the long hours in the pizza booth, my cousin and I discussed how to make a successful blog or podcast. (I blog and he's thinking of starting a podcast.) We decided that it is a good thing to have segments to break things up and make them familiar, like The Word on Colbert. I might be too inconsistent to keep up any real segments, weekly or otherwise, but now that I'm "home" I will at least have more consistent internet access.

Nonetheless, I've been thinking of starting a segment about the news. The stories that interest me most tend to be from or about places I've been or have friends, and are not always the things everyone's talking about. And thus, but making no promises to make this a regular thing, here is the first official segment of

News that Matters to Me

Legalize it!
Argentina and Mexico relaxed their drug laws this week, making it ok for people to possess small amounts of most drugs, such as marijuana, LDS, cocaine, and heroin. Could the US expect a similar change? Those who say yes cite flaws in the current federal policy, the high cost of enforcing it, and the big bucks we could make to decrease the national deficit on the taxation of maryjane. Then again, seriously??? Are we really willing to sacrifice the poor, disadvantaged, and stupid of our population?

H1N1 Isn't Over
For the many returning to school this fall, colleges and grade schools are urging community members to stay home if they feel sick to prevent a predicted 30,000- 90,000 deaths from swine flu (in addition to the normal flu causalities) in the US alone. A vaccine may be available soon. Via the always informative Facebook, I know that at least one international school in Seoul is closed because of 3 cases. I'm not one to freak out over something like this, but as winter sets into Russia, I'll be increasing my self-preventative care and be getting my regular flu shot. Maybe sending me here was God's way of protecting me from being in an Indiana public school this year...

Afghanistan Elections vs Iran
Afghanistan went to the presidential polls August 20 to decide on a new leader. Counting the ballots by hand will take a while, obviously, and results are gradually being released. Just over 17 percent, or nearly one million ballots, have been counted and made public, showing the Western-backed President Hamid Karzai with 42.3 percent so far, and former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah with 33.1 percent. Calling the results into question are that only about 30% of the population voted, with multiple Taliban terrorists attacks that kept entire provinces from casting votes, as well as the representation of female voters. Early speculation has been that a similar reaction to the recent elections in Iran could occur if the validity of the result is in doubt. I think this will not happen. What happened in Iran was due largely to the fact that the population is one of the most educated in the world. In contrast, Afghanistan is still largely rural and schools there are started by lost mountain climbers with an affinity for tea. And so, the question remains, is democracy a feasible option for the "feudal war-torn nation?" Final results are supposedly to come out in mid-September. Also, since Michael Jackson died in the middle of it, we may never hear what ended up happening in Iran.

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