For the first time since I joined the Inquirer, I missed out on writing a column for today, because of extreme jet lag. So sorry.
So much has happened. A week is, indeed, a long time in politics. In the United States, it was fascinating watching how the rot in the Bush administration seems to be extending quite close to the top: more than once I heard people compare George W. Bush to Warren Gamaliel Harding and the Teapot Dome scandal. While I was in the States, anti-Bush people were positively quivering with joy in anticipation of indictments being handed down in the Plamegate scandal (not to mention the problems of Tom DeLay). And you thought the Philippines should be worried -Italy’s caught up in the whole mess (check out the Italy-related posts in Talking Points Memo). Besides Talking Points Memo, I like following Washington Monthly, and the Inside Politics column and Media Cynic.
Quick thought for today: Bukluran Para Sa Katotohanan (click the link to access its blog, which in turn has links to convenor assocations) has embarked on supporting a Citizen’s Congress. The Palace’s response? Ripping up the summons. My initial misgivings were addressed, early on, when it was decided the forum would not be a “people’s court.” I hope the Hyatt 10 talks the talk and walks the walk by presenting their evidence and giving testimony before the Citizen’s Congress. The sessions of the CitizensÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Congress for Truth and Accountability should be interesting. Incidentally, today at 3 p.m., Bukluran is having a Mass at the San Miguel Pro-Cathedral at the foot of the Ayala Bridge near the Palace.
My columns in the Inquirer were Leadership and followership on October 20 and Flash mobs as protest on October 24.
While in the Arab News, my column were Filipinos Should Find Ways of Coalition Building on October 19, and Is ArroyoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Reputation Salvagable? which came out yesterday.
While I was away, quite a mosaic of blogger’s thoughts on blogging, inspired by the PCIJ’s conference on blogging (their entries on what took place: An overview, and the views of Alex Pabico, Max Limpag, Jove Francisco, JJ Disini, Rachel Khan and Tina Panganiban-Perez, and then the views of Ricky Carandang and John Nery, and finally, those of the guy who keeps this and so many other blogs in tip-top shape, Abe Olandres): Nery, or Newsstand, elaborates on his wish list for bloggers (he wants us to abandon scuttlebutt! Noooo!!):
…I wished that journalist-bloggers minimized or avoided altogether their use of rumor or gossip (or “scuttlebutt,” the word that Manolo Quezon has helped to popularize). That more journalist-bloggers monitor and write about radio news and commentary, which one broadcast executive once described as the “black hole” of Philippine journalism. That more journalist-bloggers learn to add quotes from other sites being linked to, especially when these sites are being criticized, rather than merely providing the links — the better to help the reader evaluate the journalist-blogger’s criticism. And that more journalist-bloggers enjoy “institutional backing” (the phrase Ricky Carandang used in the same early-afternoon discussion).
Newsboy, on the other hand, has thoughts on blogging from a journalist’s point of view, of his own.
Meanwhile Uniffors has two entries on a scandal I wrote about some time ago, concerning offensive remarks made by a Philippine ambassador to Israel. At the time (June of this year) Sec. Alberto Romulo had called me up, and said he appreciated my views and would take them into consideration in determining what to do with the offensive ambassador in question. In its first entry, Uniffors looks into what should be done with the ambassador; in a follow-up entry, it looks into why those defending the ambassador are wrong. I believe the man essentially blew himself up, which may have a useful purpose, but his usefulness henceforth is elsewhere and not as our country’s ambassador to Israel.
Dean Bocobo tackles the interweb with his scientific mind and says, 19 Clicks Is The Diameter of the Blogosphere. Then there’s the pop culture critics: with Walk This Way dwelling on the ugliness -and ironies- of having Marcoses and Aquinos dominating the billboards, and Gigi Goes Gaga condemning the manner in which Filipinos abroad attend parties and leave early -taking home a week’s worth of food. Blogging brothers The Wily Filipino and Bulletproof Vest find themselves discussing beauty and on America’s no fly list, respectively.
The Belmont Club tackles views on the legitimacy (or lack of it) of the trial of Saddam Hussein. Big Mango continues his reflections on the Blueprint for a Sustainable Philippines with some thoughts on the police and the civil service. Go Figure tackles recent writings on the brain drain, while Blurred and Blue tackles the possible end of the World Trade Organization.
And Sassy Lawyer’s been nominated for Deutsche Welle’s Best of Blogs awards! Vote for her, I can see why her blog tickles the Teutons! She deserves to win.
Finally, Sen. Manuel Roxas II recently delivered a speech, A Fresh Start on the Filipino Dream, which seems felicitously timed: I’d written recently on the “vision thing”, and also on leadership (see my Oct. 20 column above). Roxas’s speech addresses both the “vision thing” and the leadership thing:
What cannot work for us is a Ã¢â‚¬Å“business as usualÃ¢â‚¬Â mentality, because business as usual can only mean certain stagnation and deterioration. Business as usual is what got us to where we are today.
What cannot work for us is more distraction, more illusionÃ¢â‚¬â€the smoke and mirrors provided, for example, by an ill-timed initiative for Charter change, by creating new rules for governance even if or because we couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t enforce the old ones.
LetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s get real, letÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s be honest with ourselves. As the ads says: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Magpakatotoo tayo.Ã¢â‚¬Â
In other words, let government provide the enabling, nurturing, and invigorating environment within which private initiative and industry, meaning people taking responsibility for their lives, can grow and be properly rewarded.
Let government heed and respond to the peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s natural willingness to do the best and the right things for themselves and their children. Instead of telling people what to do and what not to do, the national leadership has to listenÃ¢â‚¬â€to suffer criticism, if need beÃ¢â‚¬â€if only to repair the floor upon which we all stand as a nation.
Trust is a two-way thing. The people are not only looking for someone to trust; they are also looking for someone who trusts them, who can bring out the leader in every citizen.
With the continuing imperiled condition of the Arroyo presidency (La Vida Lawyer thinks even the Speaker is looking for his “Sun Tzu Moment”), the stepping-forward of the presidents-to-be has begun. When will the other candidates begin to be heard from? The race for the presidency has begun, and Roxas is the first one out of the gate.