Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Few Pictures I Took

Here's a few pictures I took recently. They were taken at a beach where there are sunken ships. I like them.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Key Issues in the Election

Here are the most important issues to me in the Election:

-The Economy
-lessen national debt
-budget deficits - $500 billion is absolutely unacceptable
-trade deficit - we need to increase our exports somehow.  Don't really have an answer for this but we can't continue to be a service oriented economy.
-strength of the $ - this benefits the entire world
-no more tax cuts or refunds until we can balance the budget and start paying down the debt.  It's our fault as much as the governments that we have such a large debt because we are so against the idea of taxes actually staying the same but only desire tax cuts which in the long run hurt the country and lead to cuts in education, defense, infrastructure, services, etc.

-more pay for teachers
-more science and math in schools
-more P.E.
-less standardized testing
-smaller classrooms
-community development with regards to their involvement with the schools

-Foreign Policy
-quit being arrogant in our policies and attitude.  Everyone already knows we're the most powerful country in the world but they also know we're starting to lose that power.  In saying this we need to work with other countries whenever we look at invasions, sanctions or anything of that nature.
-increased willingness to sit down with foreign leaders from all nations without specific requirements to even talk
-push to either strengthen the U.N. or completely revamp it
-increased aid to Africa as well as considering sending troops in to stop genocide

-The War in Iraq
-Set a time frame for withdrawal, which will push the Iraqi military to work harder.  We still need to keep probably 50,000 troops there for at least the next 5 years.
-Help in developing strong infrastructure of schools, roads, services, etc.  This should continue even after we have left.

-Social Security
-privatization is probably the only way to alleviate this issue.  Government employees already have privatized accounts, so why can't the rest of the population?

-Health Care
-we need to start making our way towards universal care.  Start with insuring all children under 18.
-push pharmaceutical companies to produce more disease fighting drugs instead of sexual dysfunction drugs

-Increased fuel and emission standards
-More nuclear plants and help educate the public about the few fears regarding this type of energy
-Develop alternative fuels/energy and move away from a reliance on oil

That's all I can think of off the top of my head.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Bathroom Lock

So this week I officially became famous by appearing in some b-roll footage shot at the gallery. I simply act like I'm interestedly looking at the art while chatting to the artist. It's going to be on Tunisian television sometime soon. This was for the current exhibition that is being shown at Kenza, which in all honesty I don't like very much.  The art is not that great.  I could probably do it.

But the best thing about this whole TV thing happened before any footage was shot.  One of the bathrooms in the gallery is primarily used for the storage of our cleaning supplies, the watering can and cleaning up after painting.  For some reason, people have been using it lately and the hostess/interviewer for the show did as well.  There is an issue with the locking mechanism. Sometimes it's difficult to unlock the thing.  Well, this lady kind of got locked in there for a while. We thought she was just doing her makeup and it was taking a really long time. But no. She was stuck. Locked in the bathroom. 

We finally realized and just sat in the office laughing to ourselves while she pulled continuously on the door trying to get the lock to unlock itself. She started to get frustrated and the cameraman came to look for her and busted up laughing at the fact that she was stuck. Unfortunately, she was eventually able to get free and she handled it in stride. 

Suffice to say, I haven't fixed the lock yet.

Oh and I've been gardening a lot lately. It's been awesome.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

J'aime beaucoup la musique!!

Considering I work at an art gallery where foot traffic is not overwhelming, I get to spend a lot of time by myself.  It's great a lot of times.  I've got a lot of reading done (or at least I've tried to get a lot of reading done) and I also listen to music a bunch.

You should definitely check out:
god is an astronaut 
minus the bear 
explosions in the sky
brand new  
sufjan stevens

They're all pretty wicked.

That's all.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A New Step

So, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to get out of my time while in Tunisia.  One of the reasons I came here in the first place was because of my interest in Arabic/Islamic Culture and since being here I've realized how passionate I am about helping Western Society understand this very different part of the world.  

The more I think about it, the more I see the need for a greater understanding of Arabic Culture in not just the general public but also the American government.  What a difference that would make in our foreign policy decisions and in the way we handled diplomacy.

Do Americans have any concept of the honor/shame mindset?  Do we even understand that Western society for the most part functions out of a completely different mindset, which focuses on right and wrong?  How different would the peace talks between Israel and Palestine be if this was taken in as a factor.  

Do most even realize the significance of Baghdad within Islamic history?  It used to be one of the key capitols for the eastern part of the Middle East in the 11th-15th century.  Of course the Islamic world would be quite pissed when America goes and takes the place over, especially considering the Arab world generally assumes that Westerners are all Christians (because generally if you're an Arab, you're a Muslim).  Hmmm...

But these are just a few of the things I've learned since I've been here.  We're so uninformed these days (though it's not like the rest of the world is any more informed than us) and we really need to have a greater grasp of how other cultures think and function.

So, what I've decided I want out of this time is a greater knowledge of Arabic Culture and of Islam.  I'm leaning towards starting my graduate work in the next two years within this context with an ultimate goal of working in/with the government in some capacity dealing with foreign policy in the Middle East and Maghrib.  

We'll see what happens.  It's a new direction for me.  I'm excited.  I'm reading a lot.