S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Visiting the Regions

Every day I ask myself, in effect, "what is going on in the neighborhood?" My recent posts have slipped into focusing on the latest outrages coming out of the current administration. It is very easy to lose perspective, as there is a lot about which to be upset. Today we need to visit "around the neighborhood" and get caught up on that news.

Southwest United States - My Turf: This is my "adopted" region. I came here as a young adult to go to college, got married, we had our family, and have lived here - by choice - ever since. It feels like home. For me the mental boundaries of home are encompassed by the county lines. And I feel a responsibility to really care about my most vulnerable neighbors within the area. Lack of low income housing is a problem all over the United States. But Houston, Texas, seems to have been able to overcome the NIMBY (not in my back yard) syndrome. The Dallas News has a story that might make it possible for Dallas to have some of the same success with its proposed project. To quote,

HOUSTON – Amid the luxury lofts, a hotel and restaurants that have shot up around Minute Maid Park sits the kind of development that could elicit a "not in my back yard" backlash.
The Hamilton Street Residence – 100 feet from the ballpark – houses up to 129 formerly homeless and low-income residents. But there's no NIMBY outcry here.
"We have a very good relationship, with no problems at all," said Rob Matwick, senior vice president of operations and customer service for the Astros. The team donates tickets to Hamilton Street residents. And many of the residents work at the ballpark during baseball season.
While the low-cost, dorm-size apartments blend quietly into Houston's revitalizing downtown, a proposal for a similar project in Dallas is raising concerns.
Some neighbors to a proposed high-rise for homeless and low-income residents in downtown Dallas fear the project will increase crime and loitering and will pose a danger to children at a private school across the street.

And Texas recently won an award for hospitality to Hurricane Katrina evacuees, according to the Houston Chronicle,

Hospitality in time of crisis earns Texans special awards.
ORLANDO, FLA. - Texas earned a special award from the nation's emergency management community Thursday for taking in and caring for more than 450,000 people driven from other states by Hurricane Katrina last year.
Middle East - THE Hot Spot: Since I began to keep up with current events as a child, the place in the news always seemed to be wherever we were at war. For a decade it was the "European and Pacific theaters." Then Korea, Vietnam, Central America, the Balkans and Iraq marched right along behind. I
Is that not a sad commentary on the human race? We need not give up on the United Nations, however. That would be the saddest commentary I could think of. From the BBC News comes an interesting roundup of Middle Eastern newspaper commentary on Iraq's PM Ibrahim Jaafari. It begins,

Press weighs in on Jafaari future
Newspapers in Iraq and the Middle East keenly debate the future of Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari, with a number of commentators arguing that it is time for him to go. However, most save their ire for Washington, believing that the continuing occupation by coalition forces under US control is at the heart of the country's failure to establish democracy.

Iraq civilian casualty figures are hard to determine. The BBC News also carried this most recent story on how the numbers might be estimated citing the group Iraq Body Count's work. To quote from the article,

Iraq Body Count: War dead figuresThe campaign group Iraq Body Count has been recording the number of civilians reported to have been killed during the Iraq war and subsequent military presence.
On 1 April 2006 it put the total number of civilian dead at 31,821 to 35,950 and the number of police dead at 1,950.
The issue of counting the number of Iraqis killed since the US-led invasion is highly controversial and the figure is disputed.
The US and UK military authorities do not record the number of civilians killed by their forces. The security situation and administrative chaos also make counting
extremely difficult.

European Union - Sisters and Brothers: My ancestors happen to have immigrated to America from England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy and - primarily - Germany. My feelings of kinship with the people of the EU stem from the accidents of my lineage. My actual lineage goes all the way back to Africa. But my views probably have an inevitable Eurocentric bias. The U.S. has that same bias, naturally.
And there is a confluence at the intersection of the Middle East and the European Union. Currently we are expecting a great deal of the EU and China regarding control of the Iranian nuclear program crisis. Talks begin again next Tuesday, according to ABC News International,

Russia will host another round of talks next week with the United States, the European Union and China on Iran's nuclear program, the Foreign Ministry said Friday. The talks will be held in Moscow on Tuesday, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Krivtsov.
China said Thursday that Cui Tiankai, assistant to Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, would visit Iran and Russia on April 14-18. Russia and China, which have strong economic ties with Iran, have opposed the U.S. push for international sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.
U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns will also be in Moscow on Monday for a meeting of political directors of the Group of Eight, the U.S. Embassy said.
Mohamed El Baradei, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, visited Tehran on Thursday and pushed Iranian officials to suspend uranium enrichment until questions over Tehran's nuclear program have been resolved. But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran will not retreat "one iota" on its uranium enrichment.
Tomorrow is another day of opportunity. You will probably see me return to posting something about the current administration. There will undoubtedly be another troubling news item handed to me by these captains of ineptitude.
My "creative post" today at Southwest Blogger is about the Rainbow's Tale.

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