Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Kwasniewski Wants Talks over Cuba Libre

This blog tries to keep track of Aleksander Kwasniewski as Poland's former president continues to lobby for some kind of a position on the international stage. Although his chances of getting the top spot at the UN are not very good, he might be angling for something else.

Now, it looks like, Kwasniewski wants to sip some Cuba Libre, hoping to organize a round table over the future of that country. Kwasniewski did take part in Poland's round table nearly 20 years ago, at that time on the side of the communists. And he did play an important role in negotiating a solution in the Ukraine standoff.

Bottom line is that this sounds like an idea dead on arrival and probably meant to simply put his name back in the papers, at least locally. I'm no expert on Cuba, although I doubt that Fidel and Co. would like Kwasniewski meddling in. So, for now, hold the rum and Coke, Alek.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Polish emigration bad for Europe?

Came across this very basic, and basically wrong, article that insinuates that Polish migrant workers are bad for Europe. Reasons given?

Well, first, Poland is "exporting its unemployment". What a bizzare way of looking at it. Poles that go to Britain or Ireland are usually not taking the kinds of jobs that local were hopping to take. They usually grab the low-paying manual labor tasks or take on positions, such as in the medical field, where there were local shortages in th first place. Has the unemployment gone down in Poland? Yes. Did this bring measureably higher unemployment to other European countries? I seriously doubt that.

Second idea is even more wacky: " Many troublemakers and criminals have left Poland for Western Europe. The crime rate in Polish cities is down." The article has a link in the Irish Examiner, but it's not working, so hard to say what "proof" of this there is. Just saying that the crime rate in Polish cities is down does in no way indicate that this is because "the troublemakers and criminals" are all hanging out in Ireland or Britain. The more obvious link is that there is less crime because the unemployment is down. More work, less need to steal, etc. Are there a few bad apples out there who left Poland for Ireland? Sure, but this is no indication of a wide scale exodus of criminals. For Poland's sake, I wish that were true.

But to play up silly thesis like this is ridiculous and only feeds the nasty stereotypes of Poles spread by the xenophobes throughout Europe. Mind-boggling stuff. Who comes up with this BS???

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Kwasniewski heads for the mountains

Poland's former President Aleksander Kwasniewski continues his intellectual journey around the United States, now heading to lecture at the University of Denver in Colorado, according to The Denver Post:

The former president of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski, will spend about a month at the University of Denver this fall as a lecturer at the Graduate School of International Studies and Sturm College of Law, provost Gregg Kvistad said.

I know there are readers of this blog out there who would quickly point out that Kwasniewski seems to spending more time at the universities in the U.S. than he had ever spent in Poland. Kwasniewski is a subject of one of the Kaczynski brothers' vendettas, so it's no surprise he wants to stay on this side of the ocean as much as possible, but why the Rocky Mountains? Is he tired of Georgetown? (Go Hoyas!)

But I still stand by my earlier comments that Kwasniewski has plenty of achievements to lecture about, although I wish he would talk a little more about his transition from the young, overachieving communist to a free market post communist. I'd love to sit in on one of his lectures. I hope he'll return to Washington, where I'm heading next.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Iranian President Joins Blog Nation

You'll all be happy to hear that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has his own blog, even if there's not much there (yet). However, I do recommend answering the survey question: "Do you think that the US and Israeli intention and goal by attacking Lebanon is pulling the trigger for another word war?"

Well, as long as it's a "word war" I'm pretty sure we'll at least have the powerful weapon of spell checkers on our side.

UPDATE: I have fixed the link after it was changed on the blog. Now you need to click on the U.S. flag to get the English version. Take a look at the looooong entry discussing Ahmadinejad's story. Thanks, Nabeel, for pointing out the change.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Reader Comments: More Poles Needed

I appreciate all the great comments I receive related to the blog. Keep 'em coming. Here's a thoughful and upbeat one from Isobel Brookfield, a reader in the UK, commenting on the previous posting.

Yep - some of us have seen that garbage:-(

Fortunately - some of us UK - (dare I say us Lancashire folk:-) - we don't believe a word of it:-)

Polish people have a very good reputation here - honest, reliable, trustworthy and always on time!!

No wonder english employers are so keen to 'grab' this increasing reliable Polish workforce:-)

I don't imagine this will help in the drive to get rid of U.S. visas for Poles. But then again Poles seem to be doing quite well finding jobs in Europe, so perhaps fewer would head all the way here.

I just know that they are very welcome here:-) employers are very happy to recruit such law abiding people, who genuinley want to work - they help also with homes/school/Gp's etc - because they 'know a good thing when they see it' - we don't want to lose them (A message for the mayor (or whoever of) Wroclaw ? unless he comes up with something really worthwhile? then forget it - we want your people!!)

Unlike dare I say so many lazy young Brits:-( who see the nanny state as providers - some of them? sad but true - they can't even be bothered to get out of bed to collect free state benefits:-(


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

American Media on Polish Immigrants in Europe

The new immigrant wave of Poles heading to Britain, Ireland and other EU member states has grown massive enough to be seen, well, in this case heard, across the ocean. Check out this piece on National Public Radio in the U.S.

NPR has strong foreign coverage, unlike most main media outlets here, and seems to be ahead of the curve on this story. But I wouldn't be surprised if other news organization do their own pieces on Polish migration. I'm sure they will be more subdued than some of the garbage running in UK papers.

I don't imagine this will help in the drive to get rid of U.S. visas for Poles. But then again Poles seem to be doing quite well finding jobs in Europe, so perhaps fewer would head all the way here.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Journalist Heroes

It seems like dozens of Iraqis die every day. I certainly don't want to take away from that tragedy. But I still think we should remember the journalists who give their lives and their health to report what is going on in Iraq and in other dangerous places around the world. And so I encourage you to take a look at this article about Kimberly Dozier, a CBS News correspondent who nearly died there in May. Two other CBS staffers were killed in an explosion of a roadside bomb, but Kimberly managed to survive. It's sad, but also encouraging to see her struggle to regain her mobility. She is walking now, even if with a cane, and has left the hospital. Thanks, Kim.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Those Awful (But Tasty) Frappuccinos at Starbucks

Several folks mentioned I'm only writing about Poland lately, so let me change gears for a second.

Came across an article in the Wall Street Journal that Starbucks is blaming demand for cold Frappuccinos for disappointing sales. People want to beat the heat with some iced coffee, I guess. But Starbucks says those suckers take a long time to make because they require a spin in a blender. So the lines get longer than usual and fewer people are served in the end. I assume that means some people skip Starbucks when the wait gets too long.

Now I am a fan of Caramel Frappuccino, but I do have mixed feelings about Starbucks and perhaps more Americans do, too. The coffee is great, but it's like $5 a cup! Perhaps people are just being a little more frugal when they have to choose between buying gas for that SUV and grabbing a cup of venti skim vanilla latte.

But I'm glad I recently switched to the light Frappuccino. Instead of 430 calories (!), I now get 180.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Take Away Those Sunday Jobs

I enjoyed this cartoon in Super Express that, while a little rough, does present a pretty good picture of how the governing coalition feels about Polish consumers. Pulled by the religious nutties on the right, the government wants to close most stores on Sundays. Yet, according to a recent survey, pretty much every Pole likes to shop on Sundays. And why shouldn't they be able to?

I am even more concerned about the jobs that will be lost if this idiotic law passes. Did somebody forget about the sky high unemployment? How christian of the politicians to take away employment from those who often need it the most.