Wednesday, November 17, 2004

I'm doing homework...

...honestly - I'm really trying! But then I start reading stuff, and that only leads to, well, not getting homework done. The first thing that pissed me off was the likelihood that Congress will pass HR 2391, yet another attempt at technology-stifling legislation. Don't these people ever quit? If you're reading this right now, you SHOULD be writing a letter to your Congressperson instead.

On a brighter note (maybe), here's a little article from PoliticsWatch on how the Simpson's would've voted...

And salon has a great article on what the European Union has been up to while the United States is busy bickering about terrorism and the war in really need to read it - it's even worth watching that ad at the beginning... I'll borrow from it quite 'liberally':
There is a large class of people in this country who are sympathetic to the "European dream" of a managed market economy in which cooperation is emphasized over competition, leisure is privileged over work, and the social costs of capitalism are closely regulated -- and you know who you are, gentle readers. But to most Americans "freedom" still means untrammeled private-property rights, open markets, workaholism and the belief that somehow we'll all die rich.


Much of American "productivity," Rifkin suggests, is accounted for by economic activity that might be better described as wasteful: military spending; the endlessly expanding police and prison bureaucracies; the spiraling cost of healthcare; suburban sprawl; the fast-food industry and its inevitable corollary, the weight-loss craze. Meaningful comparisons of living standards, he says, consistently favor the Europeans. In France, for instance, the work week is 35 hours and most employees take 10 to 12 weeks off every year, factors that clearly depress GDP. Yet it takes a John Locke heart of stone to say that France is worse off as a nation for all that time people spend in the countryside downing du vin rouge et du Camembert with friends and family.


If the EU has no intention of confronting America's military supremacy, that, Rifkin and Reid would agree, is actually Europe's ace in the hole. Let the Americans pour endless billions in taxpayer dollars down the Pentagon's money sink, the Europeans reason. As they see it, the key to future peace and prosperity lies elsewhere, in constructing complex webs of social interaction and economic cooperation that will undermine nationalism and fundamentalism of all stripes. While the United States foots the bill for the intractable conflict in Iraq and piles up huge budget and trade deficits, Europe has spent money on other priorities.


While America has been gnawing on its own innards for the last decade or so, feuding internally over White House blow jobs, flawed elections, the threat of terrorism, the ill-fated war in Iraq and an angrily polarized public discourse, Europe has quietly been cohering into an impressive whole, the world's newest superpower. For all its layers of bureaucracy and all the challenges it faces, the EU has forged a harmonious society on a continent that spent most of history at war with itself.

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