2018 Presidential Election

Just to say that I am in the UK, and have moved out of London (last Friday) to East Anglia (to my parents).
I am fine, and will be adding some articles and stuff in the coming weeks under the lock down here.
 


Friday, 27 February 2020

Northern Macedonia joins NATO

The former Yugoslav republic of Northern Macedonia officially joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) today, becoming the military alliance's 30th member. In a statement issued from NATO headquarters in Brussels, Secretary-General Jonas Bakke said that Northern Macedonia's entrance would bring "stability to the western Balkans" and marked the accession as a milestone for the Northern Macedonian people.

Northern Macedonia is the fourth country from the former Yugoslavia to join NATO, behind Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro. Its membership application had previously been blocked by Greece over the country's former name of "Macedonia" (a geographic and cultural region that the former Yugoslav republic constitutes only a part of) until the country agreed last year to rename itself "Northern Macedonia".

NATO's influence waned considerably after the end of the Cold War and hit its nadir during the 2009 Cretan War that saw member-states Greece, Bulgaria fight against fellow member-state Turkey. But it has seen a resurgence in support in the decade since, due almost entirely to the increased assertiveness of Russia in what it regards as its "near abroad" of eastern Europe. Ukrainian president Nastia Konanova has restarted the country's membership talks to join to both NATO and the European Union, a move that has led to frosty relations between Moscow and Kiev, while the former Soviet republic of Georgia has similarly invited attention from Russia for its continued push for NATO membership.

Northern Macedonian prime minister Gjorge Petkov has already used the accession in campaign materials for the country's general election, scheduled for 12 April.
 
Just to say that I am in the UK, and have moved out of London (last Friday) to East Anglia (to my parents).
I am fine, and will be adding some articles and stuff in the coming weeks under the lock down here.
By all means stay safe...ever get the feeling that we're the ones living in an ATL that went horribly wrong?
 


Friday, 27 February 2020

Northern Macedonia joins NATO

The former Yugoslav republic of Northern Macedonia officially joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) today, becoming the military alliance's 30th member. In a statement issued from NATO headquarters in Brussels, Secretary-General Jonas Bakke said that Northern Macedonia's entrance would bring "stability to the western Balkans" and marked the accession as a milestone for the Northern Macedonian people.

Northern Macedonia is the fourth country from the former Yugoslavia to join NATO, behind Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro. Its membership application had previously been blocked by Greece over the country's former name of "Macedonia" (a geographic and cultural region that the former Yugoslav republic constitutes only a part of) until the country agreed last year to rename itself "Northern Macedonia".

NATO's influence waned considerably after the end of the Cold War and hit its nadir during the 2009 Cretan War that saw member-states Greece, Bulgaria fight against fellow member-state Turkey. But it has seen a resurgence in support in the decade since, due almost entirely to the increased assertiveness of Russia in what it regards as its "near abroad" of eastern Europe. Ukrainian president Nastia Konanova has restarted the country's membership talks to join to both NATO and the European Union, a move that has led to frosty relations between Moscow and Kiev, while the former Soviet republic of Georgia has similarly invited attention from Russia for its continued push for NATO membership.

Northern Macedonian prime minister Gjorge Petkov has already used the accession in campaign materials for the country's general election, scheduled for 12 April.
Russia's not going to like it if Ukraine joins NATO.
 


Monday, March 30th, 2020

Gellman: Democrats' low poll numbers in South Dakota cause for concern

House Majority Leader Noah Gellman (D-VA), admitted publicly for the first time today that he was concerned by the anemic poll numbers out of South Dakota ahead of the special election for the state's at-large seat in the House of Representatives.

"It's concerning, to be sure," Gellman said in an exclusive interview with NBS, "we expected some drop-off without [former representative] Scott BigHorse running, but not the level we're seeing according to our internal polling."

The election next Tuesday will pit Democratic state senator Nora Johnson against Republican Tony Sutton, chief of staff to former governor Tim Masters. NBS polling currently has Johnson leading by a commanding margin, with 60 percent support compared to Johnson's 30%. BigHorse defeated Republican state senator Richard Gosch in 2018 by a margin of 51.3% to 48.7%.

In the interview, Gellman believed that part of the dip in support was because of President Sam Seaborn's support on "culture wars" issues. "The LGBT and 'get the guns' stuff might play well in Los Angeles or in the New York suburbs, but in places like South Dakota, western Virginia [where Gellman's district is based], all it does is make Democrats' jobs harder."

Gellman is the former head of the Blue Dog caucus, a group of rural and suburban Democrats who range from moderate to conservative on a number of issues, including abortion, gun control and a federal same-sex marriage law. While he reiterated his support of the president's agenda, especially his efforts to increase federal education funding and "common sense" gun control measures like universal background checks, Gellman says he is still concerned about the effect the agenda might have on the party's down-ballot races in 2020 and 2022.

"Even after Franklin Roosevelt begun to move the party in a more liberal direction, the Democrats have relied on conservatives or moderate members for their majority every time they held power in either house of Congress," Gellman says. "These results make me think that there won't be enough of those members, who come from predominantly rural or suburban districts, left by next January to form a majority in the House."
 


Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

Seaborn administration announces plans to install White House solar panels

The Seaborn administration confirmed reports today that it is planning to install "40 to 50" solar panels on the roof of the White House, including ones to heat water in the residential wing. White House officials told reporters that a timeline for final installation and connection to the White House power grid will be in "late summer 2021", and that all the panels will be American-made.

"The installation of solar panels on the most famous building in the country sends a great message to the American people: that solar and other forms of renewable energy are here and that we can do more." Secretary of Energy Joan Tanner said as part of a statement.

Tanner indicated that a competitive bidding process had already been underway for two weeks and would be open to any American-based solar energy firms capable of producing the required amount and size of solar panels. White House Chief of Staff Will Bailey said that current projections of energy savings the panels will provide eclipse the projected total costs of purchase and installation by 2030. The White House has proposed an increase in the federal budget to begin implementing energy-efficiency upgrades on federal facilities next year.

The presidential workplace and residence has had a mixed history with solar energy. President Jimmy Carter famously installed the first solar panels in 1979, but his successor, Ronald Reagan, ordered them removed soon after taking office in 1981 (the actual removal took place in 1986 under Acting President George P. Bush, during routine maintenance work on the White House roof). In 2003, President Josiah Bartlet quietly installed solar panels on the top of maintenance buildings on the White House property and additional solar installations that provided hot water to some parts of the White House grounds.
 
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