Gruss aus Hongkong

Ich soll alle von Micha und Sandra aus Hongkong gruessen.

Es ist doch schon sehr fancy wenn ich von meinem Arbeitsplatz aus mit ihm chatten kann, der mit seinem Palm am WLan im Hotel im Hongkong haengt. Und das quasi ohne Lag.

Europeans To Monitor American Voters

There is quite an upheaval about the OSCE monitoring the coming US elections. As always there’s a lot of interesting ‘facts’ floating round. Just check for yourself.

Slashdotted: Europeans To Monitor American Voters

The United States is known as being the world’s most stable democracy. But since the Florida 2000 fiasco, things have changed. Europe’s famous Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will now be monitoring the U.S. elections. The institution normally monitors elections in third world countries in transition, and in crisis areas or regions where civil wars have destabilized the political process. In november, the OSCE will be monitoring local and state elections in Kazakhstan, Skopje, Eastern Congo, Ouagadougou and… the United States.

My 2 cents to this: not only third world countries are monitored (at least if CNN is not a bunch of lying bastards):

OSCE-participating [nations] agreed in 1990 to observe elections in one another’s countries. The OSCE routinely monitors elections within its 55-state membership, including Europe, Eurasia, Canada and the United States,” a State Department spokesman said. […] More recently, OSCE monitored the elections in Northern Ireland in November and in Spain in March.

(from CNN)

But the best of all on this is from Reality Check (edit: I confused the site with Fact Check), a site I thought more neutral (the following is only the last paragraph of an article suggesting that the OSCE has ties to terrorism …):

So if President Bush and/or Republican leaders don’t take action to prevent the OSCE and UN from monitoring our elections, then we need to ask ourselves if they deserve our vote in November. To support protection of our borders against terrorism while permitting foreigners to “participate” in our election process and potentially put our sovereignty and security at risk is like John Kerry voting for the $87 million while voting against it. Unlike Kerry’s flip flop, this one is more ominous and potentially permanently damaging to America’s future.

My opinion? Don’t ask.

Side Notes

just a few while cooking tea:

1. I am not the only one who has trouble with encodings. Check your amazon account!
2. I like ‘drizzle’ rain
3. I forget things too fast
4. Now I am using the ‘Adblock’ extension I notice who few ads there are on the web nowadays.
5. I think the water must be cooking
6. But my colleague already went to fetch the tea.
7. Please stop the comment spamming I don’t feel like deleting the moderation queue each day. You won’t get through anyway. Thanks.

What’s it like to be German

In Proud to be a Kraut Tobias links to an article on the loneliness of being German. I can only add my “Read it!” to his. Just as a proof of concept: the article has an overall positive tone and my first thought was “Hey it’s not sensible to write like that, Germans might end up proud of ourselves after reading that!”

For a couple days I have also been thinking about something that doesn’t make a lot of people proud, rather many are ashamed and embarrassed this could happen here: the state elections that took place this past week-end and in which extreme right-wing parties gained seats (or even kept theirs!) in the newly elected state parliaments. Both states are in former Eastern Germany.

I don’t really know what to say. How can anybody vote for a party that was under investigation by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and which was close to being forbidden? I’d like to say those 9% of voters are stupid. But that would over-simplify matters. Because simple stupidity cannot account for 9% – of those who bothered to vote – voting for a political party that wants to roll back history and doesn’t even bother to hide that.

Somewhere I read that too many people mistook “Democracy” as some kind of protest platform.

Somebody else wrote “You just cannot imagine the difference between 3% and 25% unemployment quota if you are not living there!”

Many even feel embarrassed by the results of that vote. Understandable, yes. I wish I knew what those 9% think now, that the results are out.

But people must learn to deal with them better than the journalists and party leaders in the interviews on election night. As it seems the other politicians simply left the traditional “talk” when the NPD candidate started talking slogans and the interviewer simply took the microfone away and ended the interview. Neither very smart moves but again: understandable. Only: I should think that professional TV journalists and politicians should a) know better and b) be prepared, which is their job. I hope everyone learns from the experience. Now that we didn’t manage to pass a law forbidding the NPD (there was no real proof of them working “against the constitution”) and they have been elected in democratic elections they must be dealt with like a democracy has to.

I think the only possible solution to the dilemma of the next years is to let the NPD discredit themselves and show those who voted for them more out of protest than of shared opinion what kind of schmucks these so-called politicians are. In my opinion no sane person can vote for a party endorsing racism, return to “historically grown borders” (say hi to parts of Poland) and what the rest of their program (you can find it on their page, guess the url I won’t link). Their use of demagogic slogans certainly convinced some people. If you read it without being alerted to the content beforehand, you might just think that some of it makes sense. They certainly spend some time to make it sound like it was sensible stuff.

I hope that the next state elections this coming week-end in NRW will turn out different.

Google is still in there but

it’s a new approach to searching the web and I missed it somehow: a9 a mix of google, amazon, imdb and some more …. too bad the ‘diary’ only works on windows with explorer so far. Found at jeremy zawodny’s blog.

Just check it out and see for yourself.

I think it’s interesting but not useful for everything … but try a search for your favorite author or roleplaying game or movie. Try Lord of the Rings and check out all the types of results you get. Nice. But usually I don’t need books/movies/reviews on the topic because I mostly search for geek-knowledge.