"I wish they would only take me as I am" - Vincent Van Gogh               "How Can I believe in God when just last week I got my tounge caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?" - Woody Allen              "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake" - Henry David Thoreau              "I took a speed reading course and read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It involves Russia" - Woody Allen            "When promulgating esoteric cogitations, eschew platitudinous ponderosities" - Mark Rowan, my father            "Up, sluggard, and waste not life, for in the grave there will be sleep enough" - Benjamin Franklin             "What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world." - Albert Einstein            "Welfare's purpose should be to eliminate, as far as possible, the need for its own existence" - Ronald Reagan            "It's odd that you can get so anesthetized by your own pain or your own problem that you don't quite fully share the hell of someone close to you." - Lady Bird Johnson              "I still want to be the candidate for guys with confederate flags in their pickup truck" - Howard Dean

Monday, May 26, 2008

Can you hear me now?

Almost two years ago I blogged about how I felt changes in the US immigration policy concerning Cubans could help bring revolution to Cuba. My thoughts were drawn from The Case for Democracy by Natan Sharansky. One of the theses of the book is that Jewish dissidence from within the USSR sufficiently destabilized the already weak country, contributing to its collapse. Another concept presented within the book is that totalitarian regimes can only persist by making an external villain (such as the US).

Recently Raul Castro has eased Cuban restrictions on the use of cellular phones, and in response President Bush says he will allow Americans to send cell phones to family members in Cuba.
Bush said he is making the change since President Raúl Castro "is allowing Cubans to own mobile phones for the first time."
"If he is serious about his so-called reforms, he will allow these phones to reach the Cuban people," Bush said. (LINK

It may not be apples-to-apples, but I could see this change as being one more step towards a more free Cuba. Expanding phone services and promoting further exchange of information between Cubans and their American relatives may highlight to Cubans the freedoms we have in (most of) the rest of the world, potentially strengthening the resolve for change from within.

I certainly don't think it would be nearly as effective as granting refugee status to any and all fleeing Cubans, I do see this as a step in the right direction. If only the same steps could be taken within North Korea.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Obamas relationships

I listen to a lot of talk radio, on both sides of the aisle, though mostly of my own political persuasion. It seems to be the majority opinion that Obamas relationships with Wright, Ayers, et. al. should not be a consideration. Frankly, I don't buy it. I agree that his association with such characters doesn't imply that he shares their views, but it does raise questions why he has chosen to associate with people like this. If McCain had a 20 year history of a close relationship with someone like David Duke, it would be a major concern for voters--and rightfully so. So, when Obama associates with Wright and an unapologetic terrorist, it makes me uneasy.