Guus Bosman

software engineering director

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Politics & News


Tension City

I borrowed an electronic book from our library this weekend when I was waiting for Nora to fell asleep in the other apartment.

Jim Lehrer

The World America Made

This book talks about the unique role of the United States over the past century, and what it would mean if the role of the U.S. in the international system would decrease in the future.

The author makes a good case that the influence of the U.S. has been largely positive, certainly compared to the alternatives. He also decries the commentators who say that America's influence is on the wane -- in his view, America's influence since WW2 has always been a decidedly mixed story, with many failures and humiliations in the international arena -- and that this is nothing new.

"when American power declines, the institutions and norms American power supports will decline too."

The author is not starry-eyed or naive about the real-politik the U.S. has often played, but convincingly makes the argument that it is better for the world if the U.S. is powerful and engaged.

This was an interesting book to read. It's good that it's short -- the argument becomes a little repetitive -- but it was a convincing read.

Robert Kagan

Second Presidential Debate 2012

Last night was the second Presidential Debate between Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney, and we hosted a small party again. Beia, Frank, Jeroen, Juan, Laura, Lucio and Tom joined us in the entertainment room.

The debate was more interesting than the previous one. President Obama did a much better job defending his record. Candy Crowley was excellent as moderator.

Nora joined us for a few minutes and greatly enjoyed the attention from all the guests.

This was the last debate party this election for us -- I am out of town on Monday. We haven't decided yet what we'll do for November 6th, the night with the election results.


Havana Real

This books describes the daily life of a family in Cuba. Yoani started an (illegal) blog, and become world-famous with it. The book collects her stories from 2007 through 2010.

I didn't know much about daily life in Cuba, and this is an eye opener. Incredible, to read about a communist failed state that still exists. I have heard a lot about how life was in Bulgaria before 1989, and it's amazing to read this book. It's no wonder the Cuban authorities are unhappy about this blogs and others like it. The endless list of damning details about people suffering from a lack of basic everyday items speaks very strongly to how the regime in Havanna is totally failing its people.

The book has amazing details. How people, when hearing Castro speak on TV, remembering only one thing: the promise that every Cuban can get a glass of milk whenever he wants to -- and the state TV that cuts to a commercial the moment the replay of that sentence comes on.

English translation of Yoani's blog:

Yoani Sánchez

Osama bin Laden dead

Wow. Osama bin Laden dead, what a huge moment.

"I can report to the American people and to the world that the US conducted an operation that killed Osama Bin Laden"

Finally, Bin Laden has been brought to justice. A great moment.

CNN showed people singing the National Anthem in front of the White House, celebrating.

I was just about to close my laptop for the night, when I saw a Facebook update about it. Later we watched the President speaking in the White House.


European troubles

These are uncertain times for the European Union. Last week Paul Krugman wrote an article in the New York Times about the problems facing the Union and the euro, and the possible scenarios that could unfold. A few days later The Economist argued that Greece and possibly Ireland and Portugal should restructure their debts, the first rich-country sovereign defaults since 1948:

"This mess leads to a depressing conclusion: Europe’s bail-out strategy, designed to calm financial markets and place a firewall between the euro zone’s periphery and its centre, is failing. Investors are becoming more, not less, nervous, and the crisis is spreading. Plan A, based on postponing the restructuring of Europe’s struggling countries, was worth trying: it has bought some time. But it is no longer working. Restructuring now is more clearly affordable than it was last year. It is also surely cheaper for everybody than it will be in a few years’ time. Hence the need for Plan B."


Dutch royals visit New York for Hudson 400

Royal Dutch visit New YorkToday Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima watched a parade of boats in the New York harbor. In the afternoon they visited New Amsterdam Village, an imitation Dutch village that was temporarily set up at Bowling Green Park for a week.

The Dutch royal couple visited New York for NY 400 week, which commemorates the journey to what is now New York 400 years ago by Captain Henry Hudson. Earlier this week they opened a (permanent) Dutch pavilion in Manhattan and visited President Obama in the White House.

The New York website Gothamist has nice pictures of the Dutch pavilion, earlier this week.


Congress on 400 years Dutch-American ties

Halve Maen.Resolution S.Res.254 was introduced in the U.S. Senate last week to commemorate and celebrate the historic ties of the United States and the Netherlands.

A resolution like this is of symbolic value. The bill refers to the long history of the ties between the two countries, but also touches on recent examples such as the help provided by the Netherlands after Hurricane Katrina, and the fact that Holland is among the top 4 foreign investors in the United States. (Read the whole text here).

The corresponding House Resolution (H.Con.Res.178) was introduced by Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen this summer. Mr. Van Hollen is of Dutch descent and he is one of the members of the Congressional Caucus on the Netherlands.

The Senate Resolution was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations; they will decide on the resolution before is it officially passed.


South Carolina & Argentina

South Carolina's 3 Biggest problems: education, unemployment, Argentina.When we were in South Carolina last week the political and personal problems of Governor Sanford got plenty of attention.

A T-shirt said it nicely:

"South Carolina's 3 Biggest problems:

- Education
- Unemployment
- Argentina."

A local city paper had a picture of the governor with the title "Don't cry for me South Carolina".


A sad day

It's a sad day today in the Netherlands.

During a parade in honor of Queensday, a crazy guy drove a car through a crowd of people, killing five and wounding many others, in an apparent attack on the Dutch royal family.

The Geen Stijl weblog had the most update information, both factual and rumored (viewer discretion advised).


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