Monday, March 07, 2011


It’s hard to figure out what’s really going on in Libya. The reports are conflicting. Is Gadhafi winning or losing? The answer is probably both. American hawks are flying about urging that we take military action. Bad idea. Supply the rebels, yes. Provide diplomatic and economic support, yes. But send troops or planes in, no. Gadhafi is doing what I was afraid Mubarak would do in Egypt – fighting for survival with maximum brutal force. In the end the Libyan rebels will win, but it will be a bloody victory.

I’m surprised that polls show that a solid majority of Americans do not favor the Ohio and Wisconsin approach of getting rid of public employee unions or drastically cutting their worker benefits. I thought that the public had turned on unions, but it appears that isn’t the case. Very surprising. I favor having these workers pay the same for their benefits as di private sector employees, and limiting raises if their state is in financial trouble. I don’t favor eliminating their right to bargain.

I get pissed off every time I read something about Afghanistan. Pissed at Karzai for being a corrupt, opportunistic autocrat. Pissed at our people for killing civilians by mistake. Pissed at spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a treasure hunt for a group of terrorists who no longer pose a threat to us. And mostly, pissed at the unnecessary death and maiming of Americans who should be at home.

Good race in the Premier League. Arsenal and Manchester United in a virtual dead heat, with about nine games left to play. Liverpool is better than anyone at the moment. Kenny Dalglish has been brilliant since he took over. Still don’t like Manchester City for trying to buy their way to the top. Sorry they’re as high as third. Happy they’re no higher. Big disappointment this season – Chelsea. And in Italy – Juventus.

While I’m at it – very happy with Giants preseason so far. I have tickets lined up for six games this year, one a month, against some good teams – Atlanta, Philadelphia, Minnesota among them.

I’m really sorry to see the turmoil in Bangladesh relating to Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank. I see it as a power play by the government to get rid of Yunus, denigrate him and the Bank, and gain control of the operation. Microcredit itself has come under critical scrutiny in recent times, sometimes for good reason. But the notion behind it is still valid and of great value to people. When greed and underhanded tactics come into play it is easy to conclude that the whole idea is wrong. Not true.

For two years – a long time ago when the world was very young, and so was I – I ran an American Cultural Center in the Indian state of Kerala. Our library, educational programs and outreach to students were very successful. Since then, with security issues and changing times, these Centers have been closed down. I figured they were all a thing of the past. I was surprised, therefore, to read about @america, a 21st century digital age cultural center in Indonesia. The NY Times had an article about it on March 5, which you can check out online if you’re interested. If there is any value to public diplomacy, and I think there is, the idea for @america is creative and worth trying.

Have a good day!


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