Love on the Rocks

first_imgI have an addiction that runs deep. It has taken over other parts of my life and made relationships virtually impossible. It’s not gambling or drinking or drugs.It’s the outdoors.Specifically, it’s hiking, backpacking, bicycling, bicycle camping, canoeing, canoe camping, sea kayaking, sea kayak camping, fishing, and rafting.You can see I have a problem.Even worse, my particular outdoor passions often require me to be gone for days, as opposed to, say, a tennis passion, where one leaves home, hits a little yellow ball around, and returns home later the same day.These outdoor obsessions can get in the way of a love story.I should know, being a man who has camped out over 3,000 nights since the mid-1980s. Guess what: I’m still not married.I graduated from college and became a backpacking bum, camping during the week and bartending on the weekends. It was great for maximizing my number of nights beneath the stars but terrible for my love life.Then there were the big trips. Yep, heading out for three weeks to Yellowstone is adventurous, but there’s a price to be paid. A buddy of mine’s wife, upon hearing he was taking off for Canada’s North woods, replied, “Well, I’m going shopping in Atlanta for a week,” depleting both my friend’s bank account and goodwill stockpile.Being gone during important events has other costs, too. Missing your girlfriend’s best friend’s wedding in order to catch the northern lights may seem logical to you and your outdoor buddies. But you weren’t there when it mattered. And being in absentia during untimely deaths and subsequent funerals leaves you simply a cad.It’s often my girlfriend’s friends that plant the first seeds of doubt. “Oh, is Johnny gone again? Johnny isn’t here for Valentine’s Day? Wasn’t he also gone during your parent’s anniversary party?”Soon, she stops defending my outdoor lifestyle and starts asking the tough questions. “Why aren’t you here when I need you most?” That’s a complicated question, especially when my response is, “The water on the Watauga was just right.”Then she’ll ask me to prove my love by curtailing or discontinuing my outdoor adventures. This setup is intended to make me choose between what I love and who I love. 1 2last_img read more

Experts, House factions suggest lower presidential nomination threshold

first_imgSeveral factions at the House of Representatives as well as political experts have suggested lowering or eliminating the vote threshold for political parties to nominate presidential candidates.Article 222 of the 2017 Elections Law states that a political party or coalition of parties must have secured at least 20 percent of the seats at the House of Representatives or 25 percent of the popular vote in the 2014 elections to nominate a presidential candidate in the 2019 elections.The same type of provision has been included in a draft dated May 6 to revise the Elections Law in preparation for the next elections. The draft was prepared by House Commission II, which oversees home affairs, and the House Expertise Board.During a hearing by the commission on Wednesday, some experts recommended a reduction of the threshold to facilitate more presidential candidates.Political expert Valina Singka Subekti of the University of Indonesia questioned the draft for maintaining the threshold. She suggested that the House eliminate it altogether, as the Constitution only mandated that political parties endorse presidential and vice-presidential candidates, with no mention of a threshold.“Indonesia has a presidential nomination threshold while many other democratic countries do not,” she said. The presidential nomination threshold in Indonesia was introduced in 2004, when the figure was set at 15 percent, equal to 20 percent of House seats. Five years later, the House raised the bar to 20 percent of the seats or 25 percent of the popular vote.Valina said the 2004 presidential election was the ideal presidential election, with five candidate pairs running: Wiranto-Salahuddin Wahid, Megawati Sukarnoputri-Hasyim Muzadi, Amien Rais-Siswono Yudo Husodo, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono-Jusuf Kalla and Hamzah Haz-Agum Gumelar.”We have experienced a presidential election in which many pairs were participating. This is nothing new. At that time, the political parties and constituents were happy, as they could channel their aspirations and promote their best candidates,” she said.Read also: Civil group challenges legislative threshold at courtCentre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) executive director Philips J. Vermonte echoed Valina’s concern, calling on the House to reduce the threshold.He went on to say that a higher threshold had resulted in polarization among the people, as seen in the presidential elections of 2014 and 2019. A survey found that Indonesians became more polarized than ever based on their preferred presidential candidates as they only had two candidate pairs.Philips suggested that the election should have “at least three or four candidate pairs.”Parties in the government coalition are divided over the threshold, with the NasDem Party, the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the United Development Party (PPP) suggesting a lower threshold. They are the three parties that garnered lower shares of the popular vote than the other members of the coalition in the 2019 election.“We’re sure that we will have two pairs running head to head again if it’s 20 percent. If it’s 15 percent, four to five [candidate pairs] may participate. More pairs means more options for the people,” NasDem House faction chairman Ahmad Ali said.On the other hand, the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Golkar Party, which were in the first and third position in last year’s election, endorsed the same threshold. Meanwhile, the runner-up in the 2019 election, the Gerindra Party, remained undecided.Three parties outside the ruling coalition expected the threshold to be between 10 and 15 percent. The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) proposed a lower threshold, although it later stated that it was fine with keeping the current threshold.PKS House faction chairman Jazuli Juwaini said a lower threshold could allow for greater diversity of ideas during the presidential election. “We hope there are at least three pairs, [so there will be] no polarization, like in the 2019 election.”Commission II chairman Ahmad Doli Kurnia said the draft was still very much open for change, because factions were still divided over it. He went on to say that the draft, including the provision on the presidential nomination threshold, might change to accommodate several opinions.“The experts’ opinion will also be one of our considerations in formulating the bill,” he said.Topics :last_img read more

Year-end cargo scheduled for UK’s South Hook LNG

first_imgLNG World News Staff Image courtesy of Flex LNGThe UK’s South Hook liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal is scheduled to receive a cargo of the chilled fuel from the U.S. on the last day of the year. According to the Milford Haven Port Authority data, the 174,000-cbm ME-GI tanker Flex Rainbow is scheduled to deliver a cargo on December 31.The cargo has been loaded at Cheniere’s Sabine Pass LNG export facility in Louisiana.Natural gas flows from the South Hook LNG terminal to the UK’s national grid on Thursday morning was around 26.11 mcm per day, according to the data from the National Grid.The South Hook LNG terminal, owned by Qatar Petroleum, ExxonMobil, and Total, can provide around 20 percent of Britain’s natural gas requirements.last_img read more