I have been derided in both soccer and political circles as an “anglophile,” and it is a label I have come to accept and even embrace after trying to fight it off for years. I have after all spent more time in my life in and around London then in any major American city except Washington D.C. (that assumes we don’t consider any Florida city a “major” one.) Given that background it may shock people to know that I reluctantly feel I must support Scottish Independence. As much as I love a United Kingdom that includes England and Scotland (as well as Wales and Northern Ireland), I think the continued dismissive attitude of Westminster towards the Scots has no place in a 21st Century society. England is today one of the most tolerant places on the planet despite a shameful history of racism and colonialism. But that is the attitude of the ordinary people towards foreigners. The attitude of the political ruling class towards Scotland continues to be one of backhanded contempt. From a global security perspective a unified Britain is better than Scotland being independent and potentially outside the economic and military alliance framework of the western powers. But for a people that have given so much to cause of freedom and have been the most tolerant western European people towards those of non-European ethnicities (like myself) to continue to be treated by some as second class citizens in a nation they never sought to be part of, the time has come for separation. Make no mistake about it, Scottish independence will hurt the Labour Party which I support in future UK elections. Without Scottish votes, it will be more difficult than ever for Labour to win enough seats to gain a majority in Parliament. That will be an unfortunate consequence of something whose time has come. One thing has become obvious, which is that the major UK parties who are all pushing a “NO” vote realize sentiment is for some sort of break even though the polls are dead even now and are advocating measures that if Scotland votes to stay in the UK will devolve further powers away from Westminster and towards Edinburgh. So one way or another Scotland will continue to drift towards independence whether or not the “YES” proponents led by Alex Salmond carry the day on September 18th. – KK @kkfla737
September 7th marked the 50 year anniversary of the infamous “Daisy” spot that aired during Lyndon B Johnson’s presidential campaign in 1964. The commercial, which shows a small child picking flowers and then switches to the image of the atomic bomb, made history and forever changed politics. It is one of the most famous political commercials of all time and is studied in every campaign class and every political history book. Though the spot only aired once, it was credited to help Johnson win in a landslide victory against Barry Goldwater. From then on, scare tactics were common place in politics and at the height of election season, they show no sign of going away. Although the commercials keep on coming, there are some big questions left unanswered. How does fear motivate our political decisions? Do are we motivated to change the status quo or protect against harm? Still such great questions about the controversial piece. Kartik recommended a great book about the Daisy Ad by Robert Mann and here is a link – Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds: LBJ, Barry Goldwater, and the Ad That Changed American Politics
Friday night’s much hyped Brazil-Colombia match in Miami broke a single-game soccer attendance record for the state of Florida with close to 75,000 fans. The United States just announced they will face Honduras in the next international window (soccer calender scheduling is complicated to explain for the average American sports fan, but as someone who has worked in the business I know these scheduling windows and quirks like the back of my hand) on October 14th in Boca Raton. Boca is the hometown of the United States’ Jozy Altidore who captained the US’ side for the first time in his career on Wednesday in Prague. It was also the day we launched our new American Outlaws Boca Raton Chapter (I switched my membership to the new chapter from the Fort Lauderdale one). The US won 1-0 behind a goal from Weston’s Alejandro Bedoya and Tampa natives Julian Green and Joe Gyau were also in the starting XI, meaning 4/11 of the starters were either born in Florida or grew up in the state. – KK @kkfla737
President Obama has evidently put together a coalition to fight ISIS, but in my opinion no such coalition can be effectively built without Iranian help. Additionally, Arab states whom the US has long befriended are NEVER to be trusted in these sorts of matters. If I were in the Administration I would urge a strong strategic pivot away from the Arab Dictatorships that fund anti-western terrorists, away from the new democracies the United States has unwisely allowed to form in the region and towards Iran. Obviously Iran has been a problem for Israel, our ally, and has also aligned with Vladimir Putin’s growing anti-American alliance but if we want to solve the problems in Iraq and Syria, Iran and the United States have a strong common interest. The same was the case in Afghanistan where Iran prior to President Bush’s unwise “Axis of Evil” claims had shared intelligence with and covertly helped the NATO military effort to liberate the country from the Taliban. Iran will need to give up its nuclear program to move forward after the ISIS threat is dealt with, but a constructive dialogue can begin now. As for actually going to war to fight ISIS, I remain wholly unconvinced of its value strategically (I would much prefer sending American troops to Poland, the Baltic States and the Czech Republic to deter further Russian aggression, something that DOES impact Europe and the global economy. I do not believe we can make troop deployments/military decisions based on raw emotion but must do so on geopolitical reality), but if the decision has been made let us do it right. – KK @kkfla737
As a student at the University of Florida, my inbox is constantly full with lots of invitations to intern – mostly from campaigns looking to cash in on cheap labor. While we had a few over the summer looking for work in the fall, one caught my eye that was for 2016: State Representative Dennis Baxley is already looking for interns for his senate run to replace Senator Charlie Dean. While this was completely expected for years now, seeing it in writing made it real for me. The man who introduced Stand Your Ground and HB1055 (the disastrous 2011 voting bill that openly tried to disenfranchise blacks and students) has little to stand in his way at a cushy senate seat. The only prayer is that the district is huge and sprawling and much more diverse than just Marion County, which is where Baxley sits now. Even if there was a Democrat who was willing to face him (and his 14 years in and out of the State House), the district is such a safe Republican seat that it would not be much of a challenge. It is frustrating, to say the least. – KB@BurnettKaty
In recent weeks when I have had time I have renewed my interested in the Ottoman Empire, reading as much as I can to refresh my memory. The last Islamic Caliphate which controlled large portions of Eastern Europe and the Middle East from the 1300s until World War I was far more tolerant particularly towards Jews (less so towards Christians) then many may anticipate. My interest in Ottoman history derives from my near obsession with Roman History, since the Ottoman Turks were the group that conquered Constantinople finally extinguishing the last vestige of (Eastern) Roman rule in 1453. Suggested readings on the Ottoman’s include A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East (about the World War I breakup of the Empire…very useful to track the history of Iraq and Syria), Osman’s Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire, The Ottoman Empire, 1700-1922 (New Approaches to European History, 34), and Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire.
– KK @kkfla737