Saturday, June 19, 2010

Riz Khan - Pakistan's violent frontier

This video focusing on Pakistan brings up some interesting questions.

Imtiaz Gul, an academic and author from Urban Pakistan fears going in to the rural parts of the country. Syed Mohd Tariq Pirzada claims FATA did not become a hub of terrorism until the Pakistani government signed itself on to US foreign policy.
This to me is an obvious example of the ongoing battle between nationalism and regional self-determination. While in my country the question was essentially decided in with the closing of the Civil War, there are many places where the question is still being debated, both with politics and with war.
Taleban in Afghanistan, and Ba'ath in Iraq were obviously, given the overall breakdown of "control" in those countries, loose national institutions developed over decades. Rough and weak balances that were as much cultural as "political". Most participants in military opposition to western interests were not fighters prior to US invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistant.
It seems that in Pakistan, as Imtiaz Gul alludes, the national government has been forcible imposed on FATA, where many people feel disenfranchised, and join Al Qaueda as a form of honoring and standing up for their attachment to their own culture and demands for self determintation.
Like in my previous article the obvious distinction between the two "sides" are more cultural than intellectual. But those differences will inevitably influence the perspective of westerners. (Although this distinction between the rural world and the urban world are pronounced in almost every country on the planet.)
Syed Mohd Tariq Pirzada later reminds us that the Bush administration, much as Obama's Clinton-dog barks at Iran, demonized Pakistan, and paved the road for forcing them to both participate in, and be the victims of US foreign policy. It was under Bush that the US began violating that country's borders.

[How many years before national borders are erased, instead replaced with a new international order where (as the US does now) it would instead legislate at an international level the overpowering and "controlling" of anyone standing in their way.]

The video closes with Riz bringing up the drone attacks on the border of Pakistan, which I alluded to earlier.

Inside Iraq - Iraq parliament's first session

Even my beloved Al Jazeera suffers many of the shortcomings of Western media. However I enjoy getting exposed to inside perspectives from Iraqi politicians discussing the future of Iraq. It's amazing to see even in that country to obvious differences in presentation from the Mainstream toward the opposition. The pro-US pro-occupation representative is well spoken, with very good command of English. The opposition is less presentable, and thus will probably come off for most people as probably irrational.
The Alliance representative even makes obviously hyperbolic claims, asserting the opposition is attempting to create a government on its own. My understanding of IRaqi politics is limited but I doubt the Kurds are any less radical than the opposition. But what is the National Alliance offering them? and does they understand what they're doing?
The opposition seems to want discourse rather than expediency. The Alliance representative says upfront that all they need is 4 more MPs to form a government and select a Prime Minister. He claims wanting the opposition to assist them in forming the government, but I heed greatly the words of the opposition representative, warning about unrealistic optimism of the new modern majority bloc.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

rather encouraging

In response to this Miami Herald article, two users have already mentioned that said article contains little if no information about the subject in question, revisions to Miami 21.

Glad to not be the only show in town laughing at idiot journalism.

On Freedom

Google is leaving China.
This makes me sad. The poor chinese. Now their next best alternative is a company that is in cahoots with the government.

Friday, March 12, 2010

so you know i'm not dead

in my city of north miami beach, and actually down the street from me, a new charter school will go.
I could look it up now to make the argument seem reasonable, but instead try this on for size.

Have you heard about the charter schools in dade county being closed down due to inability to turn a profit?
Many details are lacking here, with no clear explanation of who will pay to build the school, it seems that the City of Now More Beautiful will only donate land for the project? Who knows, thanks for trying herald!

Other curiosities:
what sort of presentation did Mater Academy make to the council? How long has the council and the Academy been in dealings over this issue?
Is Mater Academy only operating the school? Who is funding its construction? and then afterwards?

From my understanding charter schools use government money, but run their schools like businesses instead of monopolies. Or that's the fantasy of it.

What's a charter school? Who knows!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Roundup? still working on it

Business isn't what it used to be
In this Miami Herald article, the Herald explains how Miami-Dade County will be appealing the state to allow Miami International Airport to install slot machines in the terminal to combat "its skyrocketing operational costs, which recently reached $600 million a year and are expected to swell to $1.1 billion by 2015."
The slot machines, which are expected to raise as much as $17 million a year, will obviously very little to curb the deficit.

As usual the Herald does not explain WHY there is a deficit (such a large one at that) nor if there are any other options being explored by the County.

Personally I'm confused as to why the County is running this airport in the first place. If my understanding from this article is correct, the County is maintaining this airport as a subsidy to the Airline companies. The libertarian in my is turning in its grave.

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This puff piece in the Herald explains a new program in Opa-locka where the city will be spending at least $50,000 to hire city residents to perform maintenance on foreclosed/blighted houses.
Residents can ear as much as $1000 per property, and are limited to working on three properties. There are currently 50 houses chosen for the program, but as unnamed Officials point the numbers are expected to "increase dramatically over the next 12 month."
There is no indication as to the average amount of work expected to be done per house, and as such there can be no estimate of what kind of impact this program can have on the community.

What also comes to mind is that as this is a "first come, first served" program, what efforts is the city of Opa-locka making to inform residents of the program? Of course the Herald doesn't bother addressing this issue. But if it's business as usual, I imagine no one will know about it other than friends of City officials.

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They needed a study for this?
The South Florida Biz Journal writes loosely about a study showing something I don't think we needed a study to show: high school drop outs makes less money than high school graduates.
Seriously? someone got paid to write about this.

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I'm still figuring this blog out, and it's obvious that a roundup type presentation will be necessary because doing individual write-ups for every article will encourage me to write too much about nothing special. But as such it's not a very sophisticated or impressive method, so we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Why we need the internet

As I've believed for a while, everyone knows, and the Miami Herald reports, Newspapers are failing, and with them comes large amounts of accountability to politicians.

They can get away with much more today than they could before the advent of the internet. What's up with that?
I'll tell you what's up: citizen journalism has yet to truly flourish--yet it is the only viable alternative to Big Media because unlike BM, citizen journalism doesn't depend on sponsorship and special interests. What it does depend on, and the biggest barrier to its proper advent, is effort. We have to make the news ourselves.

I haven't got to that point yet on this blog because it's still so young, and my posting is rather inconsistent, but hopefully this year I can make it a point to push my own limits, and demonstrate in some manner what an individual can do to bring relevant, honest news to others, which in and of itself would be a glimpse of what's possible with a whole citizen journalist network. This is certainly something I should look in to because there are already many example of citizen journalism at work on the internet, but I don't know if anything has been developed to allow communities to better watch themselves.