Guus Bosman

software engineering director

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Politics & News


Elections 2006

Wednesday are the elections for the Lower Chamber in the Netherlands.

Mieke sent me my voter's card a few weeks ago which I signed and returned. This way she can vote for me tomorrow.

Let's see if Mr. Balkenende (CDA) will get a 4th chance to come up with a strong and stable government. He has had plenty of time to practice.

The VVD left Minister Verdonk on the candidate list and even placed her on number 2. This is the minister who tried to strip Hirsi Ali of her Dutch passport and thereby made a fool of Dutch politics worldwide.

I've never really trusted the VVD too well and I guess this reinforces my thoughts. Given Ms. Verdonk's bad judgment calls in the past and her incompentent behavior in the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali she should never have been placed on the candidate list.

It will be no surprise to regular readers that my vote won't go to VVD or CDA.


Marten Luther King Day

Commercial of the American Civil Liberties Union in the Washington Post today.Today is Marthen Luther King day, a federal holiday in the United States. Many companies in the Rosslyn area work for or are related to the government, so most offices were closed and it was very quiet on my way to work.

In Puerto Rico it's a national holiday as well, so I had only a handful of e-mails today.

Today I noticed an ad of the American Civil Liberties Union in the Washington Post, relating Marten Luther King Day to the warrantless wiretapping by the federal government and the debate around it.

We had sirene po shopski for dinner, my favorite Bulgarian dish, and watched the Golden Globes Awards.


Awful news from West Virginia

While preparing to go to work we usually watch the news. This morning we were watching an awful story about the miners of the Sago mine in West Virginia.

It's a tragic accident and it's incredible that it took almost three hours to correct the invalid story that 12 of the miners were still alive. We saw some live interviews with the people who were in the church last night, awful stories.

USA Today 1/4/06.

This morning's paper still had the news as it was known around midnight, before the terrible news and miscommunication around it became apparent.


Annual meeting PvdA New York

Ruud Koole.Due to the traffic I arrived in New York at 7.00 pm -- an hour late. The meeting I went to New York for was scheduled to start at 7.00 so I wanted to get there quickly.

Friday night is not a good night to be in a hurry on Times Square: it is crowded with people and virtually impossible to get a cab. I had to go 51st Street and to make sure I wouldn't start running in the wrong direction I called the only person I know who in two seconds can accurately tell you what direction to go to in Manhattan. Jonathan told me to go to 6th Avenue, and I made it right on time for the annual meeting of the PvdA that was held in the Netherlands Club.

Ad Melkert.Last week I found the site of the PvdA New York, a Chapter of the PvdA, a national political party in the Netherlands.

There were three guest speakers. The first one was Ruud Koole, chairman of the national organization, followed by Ad Melkert and Bernard Mucci. It was very nice to see these familar faces in the U.S. I especially liked the speech by Ad Melkert. He is an executive director of the World Bank now, and was the parliamentary leader of the PvdA a few years ago.

The chair of the local PvdA chapter started the evening with a good speech, followed by Ad Melkert. Mr. Melkert referred to a proposed immigration bill by McCain-Kennedy.

All speakers mentioned Van der Louw and Adelmund, two prominent members of the PvdA who passed away last last week.

The third guest speaker was Bernard Mucci, an ex-Tyco executive who described the work of the charity he is now working for, the United Negro College Fund. It was an interesting evening, and certainly worth the bus-ride (English summary). At the end of the evening I bought the book that was presented.

I was starving -- it was almost 22:00 o'clock and I hadn't had dinner yet, nor a very good lunch. It was a Friday night so I allowed myself a burger-with-fries meal in T.G.I. Friday's.


A city flooded

New Orleans.The news coming from New Orleans is becoming worse and worse.

A week ago it was "just" about a city threatened by a hurricane. After the hurricane passed there was a sense of relief that the city didn't get directly hit. But the water that came afterwards turned out to be the real villain.

The situation looks extremely bad for the thousands of people who are still stranded in the flooded city. Let's hope everybody gets out as quickly as possible. It will take many months, likely years, for the city to recover.


European Constitution? No...

I can't say I am very surprised by today's result, but it still came as a shock to see the European Constitution being rejected by such a strong majority.

Time for a new constitution? I think that might not be such a bad idea. It would be pretty bad to push the current document through, against the will of the French and Dutch people. That is regrettable, but at least now there is a chance to produce a readable document, that might be worth the name Constitution. Or better yet: don't try to be so ambitious -- next time, just call it a "revised treaty" or an "updated partnership" and the whole thing won't be such a big deal. Was there ever a vote on the Treaty of Maastricht? Or Amsterdam? Or Nice?

On a side note, in Utrecht the people rejected a proposal to allow shops to be open on more Sundays throughout the year. This is one of things I truly do not miss: the fact that if you want to do shopping in Holland you always have to plan around the closing times of the shops. That might work well with people who work regular hours, but it just doesn't fit my life style at all.


European Constitution? Yes!

Tomorrow a referendum on the proposed European Constitution will be held in the Netherlands.

Until a few weeks ago I was considering voting against the constitution. My main reason was a big disappointment with the document itself. It's a great idea to have a referendum about such an important decision, but I think it's ridiculous to have a constitution that is hundreds of pages in size and is so extremely detailed. A constitution should be a document for the common people, in common language, and not a political treaty or combinations of treaties for politicians. It must be readable!

European flag.The Dutch constitution for example, is about 30 pages. Dry text, fair enough, but readable and in a manageable size. The U.S. Constitution? Also pretty readable, about 20 or 30 pages, and fairly easy to read. But take the text of the proposed European Constitution: hundreds of pages long, describing in detail how each and every committee is supposed to function, what it's supposed to do and what the scope of their work is.

Now, I am not afraid of reading large amounts of text, but I must admit I did not read the entire text of the constitution, and I will bet that 99% of tomorrow's voters haven't either. That's a shame; I like reading and I've read the Dutch and U.S. Constitution a few times, but now I have to vote for something that I just cannot force myself to read completely. Obviously -- good and solid documentation of what the European government can and cannot do is important, but a document with this level of detail is not a constitution, it's a treaty.

However, when the date for the referendum was approaching, I realized that this was not an election on a single document but it's a chance to say "yes" or "no" at continuing European integration, and to indicate whether or not I support the ideal of a united Europe. And that is definitely the case, I believe it's great for European countries to join and work together to remove artificial barriers on economic and political cooperation.

I was only strengthened in my position when I heard to arguments of the "no" voters. I realized that I really am a "yes" voter: yes, I am in favor of an internal liberalized economic market, and yes, I am in favor of a stronger common foreign policy for the E.U. And by the way: no, I am not afraid that Holland will ever loose its identity, nor I am not scared of increased competition between countries -- I think that that will actually make the European economies stronger in the long run. The one thing that I believe is the very best reason for an ever closer union in Europe, is the extremely bloody previous century. Having German and France in one political group, having Poland and Italy making joint decisions is the best argument ever to support a strong Europe -- supporting different cultures, supporting diversity, sure: but fundamentaly being linked together.

There are a lot of problems to be fixed in the current European government, and the sheer size of the constitution is one of them, but voting "no" now will not make that any easier for the people working on that.

Of course, what will happen now the French said "non" a few days ago is unclear, but I that won't stop me from saying "ja" to the European constitution, or from believing in the ideal of Europe getting closer together.

I gave my registration card registration card to Bianca who delivered it to my parents today (thanks!), who will then vote for me tomorrow.

So Jaap or Mieke, if you read this: "ja", please.


Death penalty for juveniles

The U.S. Supreme Court voted Tuesday to abolish the death penalty for juveniles, people under 18 years old:

"In concluding that the death penalty for minors is cruel and unusual punishment, the court cited a "national consensus" against the practice, along with medical and social-science evidence that teenagers are too immature to be held accountable for their crimes to the same extent as adults."

A good thing in my opinion.


Watching the U.S. elections

Watching elections.Yesterday evening we watched the U.S. elections.

The evening was over-shadowed for Dutch viewers by yesterday's murder. Jelly came later because she attended the protest meeting in Amsterdam on Damsquare.

Still, we had a great night together. It was really fun to be with my friends. Daniel, Jelly, Jerry, Marjolein and Rob were there, and we cleared up some of my stock of food and drinks; it was a really cozy night.

We went to bed after the update of 2:00 o'clock; there was not enough information then to say anything about the possible winner. It was exciting to get up at 8:00 o'clock and switch on the TV to see if there was a result already.

It looks like it's going to be a landslide victory for Mr. Bush and the Republican Party. Not only winning the presidency, but also by doing that with a very large margin in the popular vote and with picking up more seats in the Senate than expected.

Now I'm watching CNN; they're waiting to see if Mr. Bush will declare victory already.


Theo van Gogh

AP Photos/ Willem ten Veldhuys/ Dijkstra b.v.This morning I was in the tram to the U.S. consulate when I heard somebody saying on his cellphone that Theo van Gogh was shot.

I have always been so proud of the Netherlands. Tolerance, freedom of speech and an atmosphere of open discussion are things I greatly value in my country. This horrible murder indicates, I fear, a definitive change in the Dutch climate. I feel terribly sorry for Van Gogh and his family.

Theo van Gogh was a Dutch filmmaker and critic. He was always trying to shock people with his columns, movies and remarks. I often strongly disagreed with him, but he was very involved and his viewpoints came from a good heart. It's outrageous that he's dead.


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