Hello + B-e-Id Card

Dear readers of Discourse.net,

I would like to thank Michael for inviting me to be a guest. It is an honor. His kind, generous and ridiculously positive introduction is much appreciated. It might have set expectations that will leave most readers surprised, disappointed, even disgusted with my posts. But this will not stop me.

True to this prediction, I will start with a confession. I am Belgian. (1) But do not worry. None of my posts will be about Belgium (except this one, too late now).

Most people think Belgium is pretty insignificant. The Daily show expressed this sentiment in a couple of episodes where John Stewart suddenly screamed that he “hates” Belgium.(2) The irony being that it is absurd to hate Belgium. Why would anyone hate something so small and harmless? (mind you, this is a cunning tactic that has been very effective for us)

To Belgium’s defense, a quick note on one of Belgium’s many wonderful accomplishments [drums rolling]: the Belgian identity card. This prestigious, much lauded project was introduced a few years ago (notice the Microsoft connection).

In fact, I was about to use my very own “electronic-Belgian-ID-card” to file Belgian taxes on line the other day. But I changed my mind upon discovering that I need to buy a card reader for my pc (or wait for a 24 code card to be mailed by snail mail). Also, recollection of the security and privacy issues did not help either. Yesterday, a new report was presented at the e-Identity conference in the Hague further detailing the huge security issues involved. Hey, at least its better for our government to fail than not to try at all. Or is it? Solutions for the card are in the works. So are the invoices by the various e-security companies. This brings me back to filing my taxes.

More about Belgium, European soccer, copyright law & the music industry, taxes and laments on the strong euro in future post.

(1) note by author: country still exists until further notice, June 13 2008.
(2) a link to the clip would of course be more effective but could not locate it on the Web

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10 Responses to Hello + B-e-Id Card

  1. I posted something just the other day about Georges Simenon and linked in the post to a website listing 259 famous Belgians. Who says Belgium’s insignificant? See: http://stumblng.tumblr.com/post/37938001/the-escape-artist-john-banville-on-georges-simenon

  2. Ben Depoorter says:

    Absolutely. I would be the last person to claim that BelgIANS are insignificant (a conflict of interest )- as this recent freakeconomics post on the NYtimes recently suggested (http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/02/what-explains-the-supply-of-fame/). The comments section there similarly reflect the great accomplishments of Belgians (past and present). As to the role of Belgium as a nation and the actions of its government in the large scale of world affairs, the verdict is less clear.

  3. Patrick (G) says:

    I’m not Belgian, but I have Belgian cousins.
    Curse Jon Stewart’s Heart of Darkness.

  4. Go Democrats says:

    Don’t forget Belgium gave us the amazing unbelievable actor of Jean Claude Van Damme!! lol

    Ben Depoorter didn’t you say that none of your postings will be about Belgium, except for the current post? You ended your current post with “More about Belgium, European soccer, copyright law & the music industry, taxes and laments on the strong euro in future post.”

    So are you now saying that there WILL be future posts about Belgium?

  5. Chuck says:

    Welcome to America !
    We LOVE Your Chocolate !

  6. Steve says:

    The reason the Earth has been shunned for so long is also due to a language problem. On Earth, Belgium refers to a small country. Throughout the rest of the galaxy, Belgium is the most unspeakably rude word there is.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/belgium.shtml

  7. John Flood says:

    With Rene Magritte and Hercule Poirot, what more could you ask for!

  8. LACJ says:

    I would very much like to be enlightened about European football, especially now during the Euro Cup. In supporting a good Dutch friend I have enjoyed a lucky but well-played 3-0 victory against Italy, and a wonderful and clean 4-1 drubbing of France.

    Romania has played very well through two draws, and is good position to advance.

    Having watched many of the 2004 games, I was not too surprised by Croatia’s 2-1 win over Germany. Back then they were extremely dangerous, but ultimately not deep enough.

    The next couple weeks are going to be fun!

  9. AndrewD says:

    My favorite product from Belgium? Easy: Tintin 🙂

  10. Ben Depoorter says:

    Godemocrats, thank you for noticing the Belgium contradiction. Just keeping all options open. ;). Some readers have now actually dropped me a line requesting a post on Belgium’s political situation. Belgium will be back by popular demand! Who would have thought.

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