Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Couple of Good Thoughts From the NY Mags This Week: John McCain, Nick Clegg, Your Freedom & American Indians in the UK

New York Magazine had an interesting feature on the political future and legacy of the last losing candidate for President, Senator John McCain and what has changed so drastically for this maverick that he fears he might even lose his long held seat in the Senate.  Joe Hagan's in-depth "What Would A Maverick Do?" details some of the major changes in McCain's camp since he came to national attention when he was politicking for the presidential nod against President Dubya back in 2000.

This article showcases how his anger and frustration have turned him into a likable independent-ish voice of the people into just another boring Right wing king of negativity and divisiveness.

But here's the part I found most interesting:

Friends of McCain say that in the recesses of his brain is a mortal fear of retirement. Engaging in daily battles is all he’s ever known. “Torture for John McCain is putting him on the burner and not letting him do anything,” says Lindsey Graham.

People who have spent years with McCain say he has always been emotionally remote, virtually alone even while surrounded by staffers. When he calls his own mother, he announces, “Hi, Mother, this is John McCain.” 

I mean... who the fuck does that?

If you didn't know, there is a new face in the UK political scene as well named Nick Clegg, who seemed to have taken the country by storm via the system's first televised debates this past election season.  It does seem weird that what is often perceived as one of the most important dates in the US political process never occurred on the other side of the pond. As a result of his strong showing, Clegg was made deputy Prime Minster and he has called for a different approach to the choosing of laws.

In an initiative called Your Freedom, Clegg has set up a website for people to submit laws they believe should be repealed or adjusted. According to the Telegraph:

The Deputy Prime Minister asks people to concentrate on three areas:

  • Laws that have eroded civil liberties.
  • Regulations that stifle the way charities and businesses work.
  • Laws that are not required and which are likely to see law-abiding citizens criminalised.

Once the ideas have been logged through the website, users will be able to comment and rate those which they believe should be considered by the Government.

Whitehall departments and ministers will be able to post their responses to suggestions.

Once sifted, assessments will be made on which laws should be repealed. They will then be included in a new Freedom Bill, which will be unveiled in the autumn. In his article, Mr Clegg adds that the Labour government developed “a dangerous reflex” when faced with a problem and just passed more laws.

This seems to either be genius or a catastrophe. Maybe they could go old Greek Democratic style and have everyone vote on everything but it does make an interesting point.  It seems that people no longer believe in the system fully. Elected officials once in office don't do what their constituents want so really why do we need them.  I wish Obama would carry this over to USA or I guess Biden as Clegg's equivalent in the States.  This is a website I would check on at least five times a day. I mean how many stupid laws can you think of off of the top of your head.


In a brief article in this week's New Yorker's "Whodunnit Dept.", Nick Paumgarten intriguingly connects the BP Oil Spill, an injurious limb in the Central Park Zoo, and Mayor Bloombersg's perspective on the phrase "act of G-d," and a thinker's perspective of free will in relation to science. Not bad for 750 words. Here's my favorite line, somewhat in context:

In “Saving Belief: A Discussion of Essentials,” he [Oxford theologian & philosopher Austin Farrer] wrote, “God not only makes the world, he makes it make itself; or rather, he causes its innumerable constituents to make it.” In other words, it’s a collaborative effort. G-d is Phil Spector, and we are the Ronettes.


Last weekend in DC, I visited the highly-informational, beautifully designed, and eye-opening Smithsonian National Museum of The American Indian, the newest of the Smithsonians which made this NPR story pique my interest, UK Denies Iroquois Lacrosse Team OK to Travel.

What is the reasoning, you might ask? According to the AP article, "The British government is refusing to allow an American Indian lacrosse team to travel to England using passports issued by the Iroquois Confederacy." As a native tribe, the Iroquois nation have their own sovereignty AKA government and passport system that does not seem to meet UK standards.

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