Posts Tagged ‘usa’

#fridayreads, 28/12/2012

December 28, 2012 Leave a comment

#fridayreads, 28/12/2012


“The Civil War Of 1812” by Alan Taylor, a detailed look at the post-War Of Independence conflict between the United States and the United Kingdom. I first heard of this from my Canadian (now ex-)girlfriend, and while I was visiting Canada in 2005 I found a book that gave details of the American invasion of Canada. This book by Taylor has a wider scope, and should be an interesting insight into a little-known aspect of North American history.

“The Operators” by Michael Hastings is a look at one of the leading figures in a more contemporary conflict. General Stanley McChrystal was the leader of the US military forces in Afghanistan until Rolling Stone writer Hastings reported some less-than-complimentary remarks the general made about Vice President Joe Biden. Because of the Hastings piece published in Rolling Stone, McChrystal was removed from command and eventually replaced by General David Petraeus, who later as director of the Central Intelligence Agency was forced to resign over a sex scandal.

[No, I won’t be reading these concurrently, but I did buy them today. I’m yet to decide which to tackle first.]


Stop the madness, Mr Obama

December 15, 2012 Leave a comment

An email to the President of the United States…

From: Paul Carson
Date: 15 December 2012 11:44:43 Eastern Australia Time
Subject: Please consider gun control

Dear Mr President,

I awoke this morning to read news of the terrible tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. This is the first time I have ever felt the urge to write to someone who holds elected office.

I am not a US voter, I am not even a citizen of the United States. I am Australian. Despite my lack of proximity to your country, this massacre has compelled me to write to you.

We have some of the strictest gun laws of any liberal democracy on Earth. In 1996, a gunman went on a rampage in Australia and killed 35 people, wounding 21 more. Our Prime Minister at the time, John Howard, a Conservative, enacted a series of gun law reforms that saw the banning of military-style weapons along with semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.

Australia has suffered no such incidents of mass shootings since this time.

I’m not a Conservative, sir. Far from it. But I am grateful that Mr Howard showed leadership in this matter, and has spared my country from such tragedies that seem to befall the United States all too frequently.

I understand that the circumstances of our countries are different, and the way in which they came about are also different. But I would hope that it’s also obvious that the world is a different place now than it was when the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791. I would also hope that it’s apparent that few people who have weapons in their homes or carry them for self-defence are a part of any militia at all, let alone one which is “well regulated”.

I am Australian, Mr President, and therefore not a constituent of yours. But I am also a human being. I wept when I read of what happened in Newtown on Friday. I have a niece and a nephew of elementary school age. The thought of them suffering a similar fate breaks my heart, but I am also comforted by knowing that such a thing is unlikely here.

I hope that there is no cause during the remainder of your term for you to be forced to address the United States due to yet another firearms massacre.

After these incidents, people often say that it’s too early to talk about gun control. I worry that it might be too late.

Please stop this madness, sir.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Carson
Sydney, Australia

Sunset from Top of the World

April 16, 2012 Leave a comment

An exclusive residential area near Laguna Beach, California, with majestic views across hills to the Pacific Ocean. The sunset from here is one of the most wonderful I’ve ever seen.

Welcome to the Rock

April 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Alcatraz Island, a federal prison until 1962, in the middle of San Francisco Bay…













A Walk Around San Francisco

April 11, 2012 Comments off

What a city!










For Science!

April 10, 2012 Leave a comment

A day at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco…

Surfing the Golden Gate