Seven years

Remember that seven years ago it seemed that the Milošević regime had ended with the participation of, among other things, a fellow with a bulldozer? You could be forgiven if you did not. The fellow with the bulldozer is selling it, for 90.000 Euros. And why not? People have sold the legacy of 5 October for less.

Irony, anyone? The person who was minister of information for Milošević in 1996 and 1997 is now the director of RTS, where the famous bulldozer was directed in its day. But you knew that.

Sveti Džimi ubija aždahu

If the Serbian government is really taking advice from this fellow, expect brinksmanship, extremism and provocation. If their goal is to vanquish dark heathens, as well as pagans, apostates and impostors, though, this should be their guy.


Home office follies: They never end!

Hey, remember those documents and that letter the good folks in Sheffield wanted me to wait twelve weeks to receive back? Here I get this message from them that says:
Dear Applicant

Your letter and original documents have been returned to us undelivered.
We are having trouble sending these out to you as the package is so big.

Would it be possible for you to arrange a courier to collect these? We will hold them here until we receive a response from you.

Kind Regards
[name mercifully redacted by me]
All right now, from the top: 1) my name is not "Applicant," 2) if you did not have a clue what to do with documents that you requested, such as the original certificates for my degrees, why did you ask for them?, 3) are you aware of the trust that is placed in you when people send valuable personal documents, and what is implied by your cavalier attitude toward that trust?, 4) is there special training a person can undergo to achieve a level of incompetence so monumental?

For your notational crudite, and not for your sheep

Okay, fine, I am all for government agencies doing what they can to communicate with the public. While the US State Department is not as shrouded in secrecy as some other agencies, including private companies that make US foreign policies with no disclosure or oversight at all, a start is a start. And a bad start is a bad one. Shall we begin with the name? Dipnote is presumably meant to convey something like "note about diplomacy." State Department, will you trust me if I tell you that it does not come off with that connotation? As for the content, well, they have only begun, but it does not say much and about what it says there is not much to be said.

Having said all that, offering information at all is probably a step in the right direction. Offering timely and useful information with a degree of interactivity and pointers to additional information would be a bigger step. Real dialogue and openness would be too much to hope for, and then the source providing it would be a different source altogether.


Of NATO-states and quasistates

My friends at Open Democracy asked me to comment on the froth around the Kosovo negotiations, so I wrote a little something.

Headline of the week

From Politika:

Како ће Срби прихватити ПМС

It's actually an article about the prospects of a new political party. Which might want to think about a different name. If not, let's hope they will accept it about as well as anyone else.