Aldon Hynes's blog

Wordless Wednesday - Kenya

Kenya, originally uploaded by Aldon.

Kenya Updates

Sunday evening I wrote my first blog post about the crisis in Kenya. It was from a personal perspective because I know a priest over in Kenya, whom I am praying for her and her family’s safety. I read the limited news I could get and ended up relying primarily on the blog,Kenya Pundit as a key source of information.

As part of a bigger picture, I was concerned that the U.S. State Department was congratulating the declared winner, while the British Foreign Secretary was raising concerns about the validity of the electoral process. This has been followed by the European Union Election Observation Mission issuing a statement saying,

The General Elections in the Republic of Kenya have fallen short of key international and regional standards for democratic elections. They were marred by a lack of transparency in the processing and tallying of presidential results, which raises concerns about the accuracy of the final result.

It seemed to me that this should be getting more coverage, both in the mainstream media, as well as in progressive blogs, especially those concerned with election integrity.

There were a few diaries on DailyKos, here, here, here, here, and most recently here. Yet these diaries have not gotten the attention they deserve.

Now, there are reports of a church being burned in Kenya with 30 to 50 people dying inside. If it bleeds, it leads, and this is starting to get more attention of the mainstream media.

Yet there are additional aspects to this story that are not being touch yet. I’ve been scanning the Internet to find statements by any of the Presidential candidates about the crisis in Kenya. So far, I haven’t found anything.

I did, however, find two interesting articles. Barack Obama’s father is from Kenya. Last year, the Chicago Sun-Times had a special section about Barack Obama in Africa, Senator rebukes Kenya's corruption. The article notes Obama’s call for Kenya to rise above tribalism. Obama is a Luo and campaigned with Raila Odinga, the opposition Luo running for president.

Yesterday, over at African Path, Tedla Asfaw asks “Kenya Elections 2007: Where is Senator Obama?” This would be a good time for Sen. Obama to stand up and show some foreign policy leadership. While we are at it, the other candidates should also be standing up for fair elections and seeking a peaceful solution to a volatile situation.

So, I continue my prayers for the people of Kenya, and I also pray that some of our current presidential candidates will make statements and help the United States restore its moral authority.

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New Year's Resolutions

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit, a new month begins. Happy New Year, 2008 begins. I haven’t come up with any New Year’s resolutions yet this year, everything seems way too uncertain at this point. I wrote 572 blog posts last year. Some of the NaBloPoMo are talking about trying to write a blog post every day for the whole year. Should I resolve to write at least one blog post every day? Two? Where would vacation fit in? What would happen if I get a job that takes me away from writing. I wrote over 270,000 words in blog entries last year. If I sought to write a novel’s worth of blog posts each month, that would be 600,000 words. That seems excessive.

Beyond that, there is the question of “to what end”? For some reason the old joke about women grousing at a restaurant comes to mind. One complains about the food not being very good, and the other concurs and adds that the servings are too small as well. Do I need to write more? Do I need to write better? Do I need something different?

The old saying insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. Is writing this blog insanity?

Perhaps not. From a NaNoWriMo perspective, there is the aspect of simply writing everyday, the importance of discipline. There is a discipline to my writing, and it has been becoming more disciplined over time. Then, there is the aspect of a favorite word of mine, palimpsest. The words pile up, to provide a palimpsest of a digital social political life. Where it goes, I’m not sure. Will any great insights emerge? I don’t know.

I read the political blogs, I read the technology blogs. I read books I received for Christmas, William Blake, Jean Baudrillard, and Rudy Rucker. How does all of this weave together? I don’t know.

Then, there are the greater questions. What are the parallel processes taking place between my family life, the mailing lists that I’m on, blogging communities that I’m part of, and our nation and the world? Is there some sort of master narrative that can be found? Where do dreams and ideas like Social Dreaming fit in?

Perhaps that is some of the core angst that I face. As I look at 2008, it appears as a blank page, the blank page that terrifies so many writers. There is no clear master narrative at this point. I have no resolutions, other that to persevere, or, as a philosophy professor once suggested, to live each moment more fully and more lovingly than the previous.

Yet perhaps, that is the best that any of us can do.

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Chasing After the Wind

2007, the year that wasn’t. At least it feels, in many ways, that way to me. I’ve gone back and looked at the year. I wrote over 4,500 emails during 2007. I wrote 572 blog posts, totaling over 270,000 words. Over 2,000 people a month read something out of my blog.

I wrote my first draft of my first novel, adding another 50,000 words to the total. I went to Washington to blog about the Libby trial. I wrote extensively about the Avery Doninger trial. I went to the National Conference of State Legislatures and wrote about their annual conference. I wrote about various marketing conferences. I wrote about Second Life, and especially the developing financial markets.

Yet in the end, I find myself in a small rented house on the verge of bankruptcy without having made any discernable difference during 2007. The words of the prophet comes back to me, “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.”

I know I’ve written other posts recently that are not all that upbeat. I don’t want to drive people away by being a downer. Nor, am I looking for sympathy. Yet I also feel that I should write about things as I see them and I can’t seem to find my rose colored glasses right now.

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Second Life Major Stock Holders

As I watch stock trading in Second Life, I like to pay close attention to who some of the large stock holders are, and what they are doing. When looked at on a day-to-day basis, the information isn’t often all that interesting. Marc Attenborough has bought an additional thousand shares of INC. Maelstrom Baphomet has bought 500 more shares of DGD and Skip Oceanlane has sold 3,000 shares of ITA.

Sometimes, however, larger shifts are noticeable. For example, Patrickj Ah recently sold 50,000 shares of AVC. Stryker Yoshikawa bought 27,890 shares and Monkey Canning bought 44,000 shares. This caused me to take a closer look at the major holders of AVC.

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