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I hate to write an off-topic post, but I can’t hold back any longer. After watching the presidential debate last night, I am fed up with John McCain’s complete and blatant disregard for the obvious. He seems to be operating in a vacuum and it’s time to call him out.

In regards to the “surge” in Iraq, McCain and Bush constantly tell us about the continued success of this tactic and how it has caused a major decrease in violence. I will concede that the “surge” has helped. However, McCain and Bush have consistently failed to acknowledge that, coincidental to the timing of the “surge,” Moqtada al-Sadr implemented a cease fire with his Medhi Army. Isn’t it possible that al-Sadr’s cease fire has been an important and direct cause of decreased violence in Iraq?

Not only that, Bob Woodward recently made it known that the US has been using a covert operation targeting insurgent leaders in Iraq. This tactic is separate from the “surge.” Sure, the success of the covert operation may be due in part to the “surge,” but has had success on its own merits. Therefore, if I am correct, the reduction in violence in Iraq is due not only to the “surge” as McCain would have you believe, but also because of al-Sadr’s cease fire and a covert US operation.

In the debate, McCain inferred that Russia’s recent military action in Georgia was unprovoked. Did he forget that Russia did nothing until Georgia made a military incursion into South Ossetia? Did McCain forget that his friend, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, was warned by Western countries, including the US, not to make any military moves that could provoke a response from Russia? Saakashvili ignored those warnings and we have seen the results. I am not saying that Russia was completely right in the way they handled the situation, but McCain’s inference that Russia was unprovoked is flat out wrong.

If you don’t believe me, think of what the US has done itself. In the original Gulf War, Iraq invaded Kuwait and the US, being friends with Kuwait, went in with military force, pushing Iraq out of the country. Sounds similar to Russia, a country supporting South Ossetian independence, going into South Ossetia and pushing Georgia out with military force, doesn’t it? Remember, this is not a discussion about Russia’s failure to abide by the cease fire agreement, it is about their initial actions.

Let’s not forget the US invaded Iraq in 2002, without any provocation. Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 terror attacks, had no weapons of mass destruction, and al-Qaeda had no presence in the country. In reality, we did not like Saddam Hussein’s regime and have a huge interest in the region’s oil reserves.

McCain needs to realize that in our new global society, the US cannot operate under one set of rules and expect the rest of the world to function with a different set of rules. That is why the US is disrespected and no longer liked around the world. The US can be a world leader without dictating rules to other nations. Ultimately, all countries should be operating under a single set of rules that are agreed upon by a majority of nations.

Other examples of McCain’s obliviousness do exist, but I won’t discuss them here. Just don’t get me started on how un-presidential it was for McCain to say he looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes and saw three letters, KGB. I have no problem with McCain thinking that way, but it was absolutely stupid to say it out loud. Nice way to insult a world leader, John! Why doesn’t McCain just say if he is elected to the presidency, he wants to have poor relations with Russia? It would accomplish the same thing, but is much more diplomatic.

Monopoly World Edition Results Are Here


Believe it or not, the voting results for Monopoly Here and Now: The World Edition have finally been made public! Here are the results (with board colors):

Based on the early voting resutls, I assume this list is also in order of votes received.

Holy Crap, Kyiv made it! Thanks to everyone who helped get this unique and amazing city on the board.

Monopoly World Edition - Results Coming Soon


The final results of voting for Monopoly Here & Now: The World Edition are due on Wednesday, August 27, 2008. Stay tuned for the results (and cross your fingers for Kyiv).

The announcement will come 9 days after my spinal fusion surgery, so please be patient for my post. I’ll do the best I can to report the results ASAP, but probably won’t be able to sit for more than a few minutes at a time, so my post may be delayed. Be assured that I will get the results online as soon as my body lets me do so.

"The Saved Planet"


TheSavedPlanet.jpgA group of former Pripyat residents in Kyiv have banded together and created an international action titled "The Saved Planet." The purpose of this action is to appeal to everyone around the world to make our planet a better, happier place.

All they ask is on April 26 from 1700 to 1710 GMT* (Greenwich Mean Time) say a prayer to save our planet and mankind. If you are not religious, spend these 10 minutes having good, bright thoughts.

I find it amazing that these people, direct victims of the Chernobyl disaster, can take such a day of sorrow (the anniversary of the Chernobyl accident) and turn part of it into a day of hope. No, they are not ignoring the legacy of the Chernobyl disaster. How could they possibly do that? Instead of letting the horrible memory of that incident rule the day, these victims have chosen to use part of the anniversary for a more positive outlook. These people are truly amazing!

I'm not a religious person, but I cannot help but feel touched by this appeal. Think about what many of these people have been through in the last 22 years.  If they can maintain a positive outlook for part of April 26, then the rest of us can certainly do the same. So mark your calendars and join in this international action on April 26.

I have posted the complete text of "The Saved Planet" appeal, written by my friend Lyubov Sirota, in the Articles section.

* In the US, the time would be from:
  • 1:00 - 1:10 PM Eastern Daylight Time
  • 10:00 - 10:10 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Monopoly World Edition Results Coming in August


Apparently Hasbro did not take my recent suggestion into consideration. Voting has ended for the two wildcard cities, and their site says the 22 winning locations will be revealed in August.

Will I even care by then if Kyiv made it into the game? Will anyone care? Oh well, maybe our interest will peak again in August.

Monopoly World Edition - No Final Voting Results

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Voting ended yesterday for the cities that will become part of the Monopoly World Edition board game. If you want to know the final results, you'll have to wait. The official Monopoly website says that the final results for the top 20 locations, along with the 2 wildcard cities (voting is now through March 9), will be posted "later this year."

Thanks Hasbro - you generated a lot of excitement with the vote, and now nothing, not even a timeframe. I can understand if they want to delay announcing the winners until after the wildcard voting concludes (or even a week or two later), but to say an announcement will come "later this year?" Come on, why can't you provide a timeframe for the announcement?

I'm not a marketing expert, but they created quite a buzz with the online voting, and I would imagine interest in this product will die off if they wait too long to announce the winners. If I was in charge of this promotion, I would wait to announce the final results until after the wildcard voting is done. During the following week, I would announce the two wildcard winners. For the next four weeks, I would announce the other winners, one day at a time Monday through Friday, in reverse order (from 20 to 1). This approach would extend interest and maintain suspense for an additional five weeks. Hasbro, are you reading this?

Final World Monopoly Update - Kyiv


Hasbro has done something nasty that has forced this to be my last World Monopoly update. There are 6 days left in the voting, and Hasbro has removed the leaderboard from their website. They claim this will add to the mystery of which cities will make it onto the game board. That's true, but not knowing where things stand over the next week is definitely going to add to my stress levels!

Okay, here's my last plea ... Please, please, please go to the World Monopoly site every day and place your votes for Kyiv! Apparently we are not doing a very good job with our voting because Kyiv has fallen all the way down to #19. Remember, only the top 20 cities make it to the game board. This is really sad because Kyiv had been as high as #10. Come on - it would be really neat to get an underdog like Kyiv onto the game board. If you're reading this, you are already on the internet, so click on the above link and place your votes.

Weekly World Monopoly Update - Kyiv Slipping!!


Kyiv is now at #14

There’s not as much good news this week. Kyiv started the week at #12 and has since slipped to #14. What makes it really bad is there are seven cities immediately behind Kyiv, including Toronto, currently at #21.

There are 12 days and 3 hours to go, so let’s make sure we place a vote for Kyiv everyday.

Also of note, voting will begin on February 29 to select two wildcard cities out of a list of 20. Lvyv, Ukraine seems sure to make the cut - currently situated at #4 on the wildcard list.

Kyiv - Weekly World Monopoly Update


Kyiv is still sitting at #12

The good news is that Kyiv remains firmly entrenched in the top 20. The bad news is that several days ago, Kyiv made it up to #10 and has since fallen two spots.  Passing Kyiv were Jerusalem, Israel and Istanbul, Turkey.

Come on everyone - make sure you place a vote for Kyiv everyday! It only takes a minute. 19 days and 8 hours remain in the voting.

Kyiv - Monopoly Update


It's been interesting to watch the "Monopoly Here & Now: World Edition" leaderboard each day. Last Sunday, when I first posted about the voting, Kyiv was ranked #26. I just voted again (I've only missed one day so far), and ...

Kyiv is currently situated at #12

That's right, Kyiv has made a huge move up the charts and is currently between Beijing, China at #11 and Tokyo, Japan at #13. Yes, it's true, Kyiv is slightly ahead of Tokyo.  Only 26 days and 5 hours to go in the voting. Remember to place your votes every day, and let's make sure Kyiv stays in the top 20!