Jun 24, 2011

What's going on in Afghanistan?

President Obama recently announced a drawdown of troops in Afghanistan. While the politicos and talking heads argue about whether this is good or bad, we found ourselves wondering what the situation in Afghanistan actually looks like. For some answers, we recommend checking out the following sites.

Afghan Women's Network: educate yourself about the situation of women in Afghanistan from the women themselves.

International Security Assistance Force (ISAF): your information headquarters for the word on what's happening in Afghanistan from the coalition's point of view.

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR): this Congressionally-mandated office provides "independent and objective oversight" of the funds being used for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.

thruafghaneyes: a photoblog showing the diversity of contemporary life in Afghanistan. Most photos are from life in and around Kabul.

Jun 3, 2011

Sex, lies, & money

The indictment of former presidential candidate John Edwards is the sober end to a sordid tale that involved everything you could possibly ask for in a political scandal: adultery, a hidden child, hush money, a wife dying of cancer, and finally, felony charges. But how does it measure up to presidential scandals of the past?

Watergate: the grand-daddy of all contemporary political scandals. It's also why the media adopted the insufferable habit of attaching the word 'gate' to all manner of tempests in teacups.

Bill Clinton & Monica Lewinsky: if I did the math correctly, this fall's freshmen will have been six years old when this happened. Yikes -- how did that happen?!

Ronald Reagan & Iran-Contra: ok, I have to admit that I have no memory of this one. Iran-Contra was to me as Monica Lewinsky is to this fall's freshman. I was six years old.

History is littered with many other presidential and quasi-presidential scandals, but those are some the big ones from the post-War era ('post-War' in this instance meaning 'post-World War II'). Frankly I'm not sure where the John Edwards scandal should lie on the scale of bad to worst, but at the very least, I guess we can be happy that the sordid tale is coming to an end. Of course, based on history, it is only a matter of time until the next one rolls around!Link