Thursday, August 26, 2004

John Kerry in Minnesota

I have a long bus ride to work, so Minnesota Public Radio is my savior. Today, they broadcasted live coverage of John Kerry's visit to Minnesota where he held a health care forum with mostly undecided voters. If you still believe that there is no difference between Kerry & Bush, I wish you had listened to Kerry today. He outlined his health care policy in great detail, and I'm no expert on the crisis in health care, but unlike Bush, Kerry has a plan that makes sense & is an attempt to solve the rising costs & get health insurance to the 40 million people who don't have any. He also answered questions about transportation, tobacco, religion, K-12 education & since it was an informal conversation, he sounded extremely personable. I have never heard Bush address any of those issues with such sincerity.

Somebody asked him of what he made of accusations that he was a flip-flop. His answer was that he has voted on issues such as NAFTA and No Child Left Behind, with the intention that it would be administered properly, but it hasn't & that is why he is critical now. I guess that's his reasoning for the war resolution in Iraq too. Is it justified? No. But again, listening to him reassured me that the US could head in a better direction than we are now.

It looks like the violence in Najaf has been quelled by the Ayatollah Sistani's intervention. He is greatly revered and yields enormous influence as is evident by the number of people who joined the peace march today - unfortunately, it was marred by violence and scores were killed & injured. The details of the cease-fire in Najaf are not clear yet. Juan Cole, blogger of Informed Comment & professor at University of Michigan, will be on CNN either from 6-6:30 or 6:30-7 CST. Someone forwarded a great article that talks about the difference between Shiasm & Wahabbism, The Good Ayatollah.

Iraq's soccer team lost to Paraguay 3-1 ending their fairy tale. However, they still have a chance at the bronze medal if they defeat Italy in the next match.

This piece of breaking news just came in: the Supreme Court in Chile has ruled to strip Pinochet of his immunity from persecution of human rights abuses during his military rule. The BBC reports that ruling means Gen Pinochet could now face trial for charges of human rights abuses committed during his 1973-1990 military rule.During this time, more than 3,000 supporters of the previous government were killed, thousands more tortured, and many thousands more again forced into exile.