The end of D.C. baseball?

My wife passed her Korean exam with flying colors!  She passed 2/2 in Korean in just 24 weeks (level 2 speaking, level 2 reading).  Congratulations!  She is a language learning star.  It’s extremely rare for someone to reach that level in such a short period of time.  Me, I’m stuck at the 1+ level with over 1 1/2 months left to go in training.  She definitely leveraged her mastery of Chinese and might not have been so lucky in a completely unrelated language like Pashto or Finnish, but it’s still an amazing accomplishment.  Hats off to her.  I can only hope to be at about 2/1 in Korean by February.  Maybe next time I can study German!

Is this the end of professional baseball in Washington, D.C.?  I even went out and bought my new Washington Nationals baseball cap to support bringing back to D.C. after the announcement was made in late November that the Montreal Expos were moving to the Nation’s Capitol.  Last night though the D.C. Council approved funding for a stadium with the condition that about half of it would be paid for by Major League Baseball.  Three months ago D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams had negotiated a deal with MLB to pay for a new stadium for the Nationals, but now MLB will re-open the deal and possibly cancel it unless the D.C. Council agrees to pay for funding.  I would really like to see baseball in D.C.  I love baseball and miss watching the Mariners at Safeco.  Rooting for the Nationals would let me jump on the bandwagon early while they’re still terrible.  I’m personally critical of public funding for ballparks, but in this case if Williams had been given the authority to make a deal to bring the Expos to D.C. the issue of funding should have been sounded out months ago.  If the Council was opposed to public funding then Williams could have changed the terms of the deal during negotiations.  A deal breaker after the team move has been announced is a lousy way of doing business and gives the city a huge black eye.  The 2004 election changed the Council’s composition, but the main instigator Linda Cropp is a holdover from the previous council and has been pulling strings behind the scenes to change the terms of the deal.  Now it looks as if the team will remain the Expos and could move elsewhere.  Oh well, I guess that Nationals’ hat will be a collector item.

I dropped off some food and clothing today for the marine guards and families of Foreign Service nationals at the Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Consulate.  A few of us worked together to put together a care package to send to them in the wake of the recent bombings.  It’s the least we can do sitting here thousands of miles away from the Consulate.  It should arrive before Christmas.

Thinking of Jeddah

I was going to write today about my personal computer woes, but the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah today dampened my enthusiasm. Problems I thought were big seem so trivial compared to what happened. No matter where your opinion falls on political issues, you probably agree that this incident was very tragic. I worry for my colleagues there. Fortunately, they’re all safe. No Americans were killed, injured, or taken hostage during the attack. I’m very sorry to hear that some of the local employees were killed and injured. My heart goes out to all of them. Jeddah is a very tense place now. In fact, the entire Kingdom is very tense in the run up to their first national election to be held between February and April of 2005. The Consulate had been on evacuation status earlier this year, and just when things seem to get back to normal, this happens.

I am glad that I will be heading to Seoul, Korea instead of Saudi Arabia. Granted, I will be about 30 miles from one of the most dangerous places on earth, the Korean DMZ. Seoul itself is very safe despite the DPRK mortar shells within range of the city. War is for the most part out of sight, out of mind–until incidents like these attacks occur. The road between Seoul and Kaesong in North Korea reopened on December 1, 2004, for the first time in more than 54 years. It’s part of a new endeavor by the two Koreas to establish an economic zone in Kaesong and promote economic cooperation. Perhaps this will lead the two countries to work closer together and decrease tensions in the region.

I remain hopeful. I hope that what happened in Jeddah today or far worse never happens in Korea.

Saudi Arabia free stock photo courtesy of David Mark

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