1. Yesterday's political poll (if you haven't voted yet, I'd be appreciative if you would take a few seconds to do so) has produced some very interesting results, with not a single person from outside of the USA yet expressing support for Bush. While my sample is incredibly skewed and conducted in such a way that the results cannot be taken as indicative of much beyond the political leanings of my friends list, it interestingly would appear to be supported by a more credible poll, that conducted here. I would love to see world approval figures of other national leaders - though I would dare to speculate that most people solely know only their own leader and Bush. I'd expect people to also know Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin, and Ariel Sharon, but I have learnt to not expect anything from anyone any more.
2. Sticking to the political theme for now, I would like to say that I am completely and utterly appalled by what I saw on television tonight with regards to US politics - major corporations making significant donations to politicians/political causes and throwing exorbitantly lavish functions. That reeks of bribery, corruption, or whatever you want to call it. That's completely dirty. I have realised that the US is not in any position whatsoever to chastise other nations for unethical political conduct. I guess I have been a little uninformed and naive, and this probably occurs worldwide - which goes to show just how rotten the political arena is.
3. The tsunami has slipped from the headlines now, but the death toll is soaring. More than 220,000 are dead, with at least 166,000 of those coming from Indonesia alone. Remember when we thought 20,000 was a high death toll? How I now wish such a figure had been true! The enormity and scope of this disaster is staggering. These photos are sure to shock you. This tragedy continues to leave me totally speechless.
In fact, I'm not going to cut that link: Appalling images of the devastating destruction. When I first viewed that, there were 14 images and now there are 20, so it is worth a return for those who have already seen it.
4. I envy those who will be able to look back on today in fifty years without actually waiting fifty years first! Iraq remains riddled by violence and I am somewhat nervous about how this situation will, in a sense, conclude. It will, of course, never truly conclude until the end of the world as history is an ongoing thing, but I would love to know if the coalition will successfully restore order and create a thriving country or if the fragmentation and violence will continue and the nation descend into violence, be it the secession of Kurdistan and the Shi'ite south, an anarchistic situation in the style of Somalia, or some other tragic course. I have said before that Iraq is turning into the Vietnam of this generation and I very much hope I am wrong.
As a sub-point to four, I am currently reading a fascinating book, aptly named Winston's Folly, about the folly of Britain in creating a singular Iraqi nation. In essence, the massacre of the Kurds under Saddam and the unstable state of the nation itself can be traced back to the arbitrary borders created by Winston and his "forty thieves" at the Cairo Conference of 1921. It is sad that monetary concerns and the fear of the Turks culminated in a solution that was not adequate for the people of the region. One has to wonder that if Britain had had a Prime Minister friendly towards Turkey rather than the extremely anti-Turk, pro-Greek Lloyd George, the situation could have been much different - potentially involving less expense on behalf of the British (permitting a longer withdrawal and more seriously contemplated final resolution) and the creation of a Kurdish state.
5. FINALLY! The final appeal of Viktor Yanukovych has been dismissed, permitting Viktor Yushchenko to be sworn in as Ukrainian Prime Minister. It's about time, too! I am very relieved to see a resolution to this situation, and now a very grave test has been given to Yushchenko - can he unify the bitter divides within Ukraine? People speak of the US being divided, but those divisions cannot dream of comparing with those present in the Ukraine. Yushchenko has his work cut out for him, but considering the hurdles he overcame to win this election - particularly the poisoning that could have killed him - he is clearly committed to the job. Whatever he views that as. One side of me would like to glorify his rise to power, while another would like to be cynical and remark that politics and politicians are rotten wherever you go.
6. DARFUR. darfur_crisis, people! No resolution has been achieved, violence is continuing, and with peace established in the south of Sudan, the government and their sponsored militia are free to focus upon Darfur. Will they focus on peace? Well, there is already evidence that they are doing the opposite and this article cites an increase in violence. This situation has left the headlines but is deteriorating and won't be over soon. It deserves our utmost attention.
7. This entry has been rather bleak, hasn't it? Well, I'll conclude on a positive note. U2! One thing that has always impressed me about U2 is how their unreleased and discarded material is the kind of stuff most bands can only dream of including as centrepieces on their own albums. Any other band would put Smile on an album and probably release it as a single. Some of the other work would not be the kind of songs you'd release as singles but use as important, stand-out album tracks of the calibre of Bad. Wild Irish Rose has to be one of the most beautiful songs the band has ever made, Beautiful Ghost is haunting and ethereal, and it was a crime to not release the U2 studio version of She's A Mystery To Me because it is incredible. That song has some of Bono's best lyrics and the 30 December 1989 performance is one of the most outstanding moments of U2's greatest tour, Lovetown. Even the stuff they come up with in soundchecks is genius, such as My Time Hasn't Come and Move Out. This band has no equals. Though I would like to give them a memo: MORE INSTRUMENTALS, please, please, please? I love Bono's voice, but Edge, Adam, and Larry, I have two words for you: BASS TRAP.