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I can’t seem to make the embedding work, but if you didn’t see The Daily Show’s bit on Scary Swedish Socialism, click:


I kept waking up in the middle of the night, remembering that Obama won the election, and feeling great. But there is one little thing nagging me. In McCain’s concession speech and in a lot of the post-election commentary, there was a lot of talk implying that racism is over, and that no one has anything to complain about anymore. I think this election was a HUGE step in the right direction, but I don’t believe that this election has eliminated systemic discrimination, racial profiling, or any number of other racial tensions, and the race-baiting by many McCain supporters demonstrated that racism is alive and well.

It’s often said that people who aren’t white males have to be twice as smart and work twice as hard to achieve the same things that white males do. If there’s anyone who exemplifies that, it’s Obama. I am thrilled to have a smart, hardworking president-elect. If he runs his presidency with the same attitude and self-discipline as his campaign, things are gonna be OK. In the middle of the night the cynical thought occured to me that we won’t be a post-racial society until it’s possible to elect a nonwhite person who is as stupid and pathological as George W. Bush, let him/her tear the country apart for four years and then re-elect him/her. Of course, when we’ve reached that point, hopefully there will be better ways of proving it.

I spent Election Night celebrating with three other incredible American women who live here in Falun. We had a sleepover party and it was lots of fun. Part of me wishes I could have been part of a big crowd in the US at the moment Obama’s victory was announced, though, so below is a collage of You Tube videos so I can feel the excitement vicariously:

Times Square:

East Village, Manhattan (love the girls squealing “Oh my god!” and “Holy fucking shit!”)

Grant Park, Chicago (view from the crowd rather than the network feed)

Richmond, VA

DC, the city I pretty much consider my home in the US as I lived the largest chunk of my adult life there (and which voted 92% for Obama). I lived there through two election cycles which resulted in Bush’s election and re-election and I really wish I could have been there this time.

There was a march down 16th Street in DC to the White House

Four networks simultaneously

And here’s a picture from Falun, Sweden:



On the one hand, I was going to be really upset if he didn’t win. On the other, I almost didn’t believe it was possible.

Today is a good day for my homeland and our planet.

OK, so yesterday there was this opinion piece in the New York Times featuring a Republican whining, as usual, about how the US media has a liberal bias. His argument is that newspapers have given more positive coverage to Obama and that those newspapers which endorse candidates have endorsed Obama by an overwhelming margin. I’ve got just a few things to say about this “liberal bias” bullshit and I will try to be as succinct as possible.

1. “Balanced” news coverage does not mean taking the sum total of every crazy thing that everybody believes and finding the center point. The non-opinion pages of the news are supposed to report facts. Do they always? No. But if the facts tend to fall to the left of your nutjob opinions, what does that tell you? This reminds me of the argument that we have to teach creationism in school to give kids a “balanced” perspective. Come on. If I persuade a few people that the moon is made of cheese and the earth is flat do they have to teach that in school too, in order to be balanced? If I believe that letting the Bush tax cuts (which have contributed to our enormous deficit) expire is socialism, does the media have to report that like it’s news?

2. The mainstream media is far from left-wing. My opinions are left-wing by American standards and I have to listen to Amy Goodman and read The Huffington Post in order to find some commentary that I can agree with more or less without reservation. I find the New York Times can be centrist to a fault.

3. Maybe the problem lies in the fact that the media doesn’t really foreground the issues anymore. Instead of saying, “here’s Obama’s tax plan, here’s McCain’s tax plan, you decide”, the media reports on what the candidates were wearing and how many people were at the last rally and which commentator on the competing network said something mean about one of the candidates and don’t even get me started on Joe the Freaking Plumber. It’s not news, it’s meta-news, and it is a huge waste of time and resources.

Our copy of this week’s issue of The Economist arrived today. The Economist is edited by a bunch of people who are hardcore free market capitalists. I love The Economist even though I believe in high taxes and big government spending and social programs. Why? Because they are, on the whole, really good at reporting the facts and they don’t let their ideology cloud their judgement on everything. Sure, even they can fall prey to hyperbole, like the article a couple weeks ago that stated that “Marx’s ideas went on to enslave half of humankind”. (Ideas don’t enslave people, people enslave people.) My point is that you can see that The Economist is not a liberal rag (in the American sense of the word liberal). So here’s the cover of this week’s Economist:


So what will the Republicans say to that? That The Economist has gone communist?

Get out and vote!

– Obama for President

– If there are any Greens on your ballot, vote for them

– Vote NO ON 8 in California!!

I wasn’t really sure whether kids trick-or-treated here, and wound up not buying any candy, and when nobody came by on Friday evening, I figured we were off the hook. So when some kids knocked on our door yesterday, I was sent rushing around the house for something to give them. You know what those poor kids got? Grapefruits. We had apples, but in the moment I had to think about it, I thought of the whole razor-blades-in-the-apples urban legend and thought, well, at least you can sorta tell whether a grapefruit has been tampered with, and even if kids don’t like grapefruits, their parents can eat them. Later I went out and Kostia said we had a few more trick-or-treaters, who got the off-brand chocolate bars that I had forgotten we had in the cupboard. God, I never thought I’d be one of those disappointing households on Halloween! But at least I’m not as intentionally evil as this lady:

Things have been busy. Kostia and I went to Rome for a mini-vacation last week. Eventually I’ll get around to posting some pictures. It was a fun trip but even though we planned it during the only four-day window that both of us could manage to get away before the holidays, it was still a mistake for both of us to take off in the middle of the term. Just too much to do.

When I’m procrastinating, I’m obsessing over the election. Next Tuesday will be like Christmas. Hopefully there won’t be any coal in my stocking, i.e., McCain winning. Speaking of Christmas stockings, I’ll also have to post a picture of this amazing thing I found in the 1 Euro Shop in Rome.

Oh, and it’s snowing here. A lot. Instant winter, though I’m sure it will melt (and snow and melt again) before winter sets in for good. This morning Kostia said, “Ooh! We haven’t seen snow in so long!” And I said, “The last snow was in MAY. Five and a half months ago. That is NOT a long snowless season.” But I’m getting better at accepting that winter lasts six months or more here. When we went to Rome, I just couldn’t conceive that it would actually be warm somewhere in late October, and didn’t bring any shoes other than the knee-high boots I was wearing (with accompanying knee socks). It kind of sucked to be uncomfortably warm when all I wanted to do was enjoy the nice weather.

Wow. Just wow. How did this man who seems so intelligent and reasonable ever get entangled with the Bush Administration?

Ooh, this is even better.

About This Blog

I'm an American who started blogging when I moved to Russia in 2004. Eventually I moved to Sweden, where life is pleasant but uneventful, and stopped blogging for lack of interesting things to say. And then I joined Facebook, which further destroyed any motivation for blogging. Maybe someday I'll start blogging again, but for now, this blog is dormant, an archive of The Russia Years: 2004-2008.

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