Saturday, July 28, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
I too am Cuban and it was just recently that my mother told me the story of while waiting in the airport in Cuba her and Papi were stripped searched. My stuffed toy rabbit was taken from me and returned ripped to shreads searching for "contraband". Mami says she can still hear my screams when the meliciano with a smirk handed over to me.
If there is one thing that is the most offensive to me about the Castros' "revolution," it is that it feeds on and encourages the basest of human nature. Bad enough the parents were strip searched, the miliciano smirks as he returns the favored bunny in shreds to a little girl. When my cousin's house is "entervenido" people storm in and carry off her mattresses on their heads as they strip the place. Your neighbor catches a whiff of coffee coming from your house and runs and turns you in. There is a committee, made up of your neighbors, on your block whose sole purpose is to spy on you.
Anyway, she asked about the end of Tio's story. After about five years, Tio was able to come and rejoin his family. Although I'm told he was never the same after his experiences, I can honestly say he was the happiest man I ever knew. Partly because of his experiences and greatly because of his faith, he was happy with what he had and enjoyed life. It's a good thing, too, because he died at the age of fifty eight. He was stopped at a red light, mere yards away from his house, when a car driven by a young man who had had too much to drink at the fiesta de Calle Ocho plowed into him and killed him instantaneously.
I'd like to thank her for her story. We have many stories to share, so feel free to add some more.
So much for style. It seems Raul is either a policy wonk or a candidate for early Alzheimer's. He spent no less than ten minutes carrying on about their great new advance in the delivery of milk. After about five minutes of detailing the past milk delivery routes for one entire province, he trotted out the success of an experiment. Some bright communist light figured out they could save fuel by leaving milk behind for the producers in rural areas of that province, unpasteurized of course. Such a revolutionary triumph! 80kms saved. Ten minutes, I do not lie.
Poor Raul, he's got the symptoms right, but not the answer: Capitalismo. They need to increase industrial and agricultural production, increase efficiency in the production and distribution of same, he proposes. There is no reason they have to import so much, given the fertile land they have, he says. Right on, brother!
His answer: Blame the victim. Cubans have to work harder and smarter. Duh? Where's the incentive, Bubba? Donde esta la plata? Increase production so that Raul, his cronies, and the party apparatchiks can make more money, or so that it can all be exported? What does Joe Cuban, whose first thought every morning is how he's going to feed his family, get out of the deal, other than revolutionary glory? And that's all he's gonna get, because Raulito made it clear, "Socialism," read that communism is there to stay. He's not giving away his and his military's meal ticket.
Oh, and in keeping with the inservice theme, everything is going to be studied. Change will not come quickly. The irony is in the way he discusses the economy as if they had inherited an undeveloped country, not as if they hadn't trashed the economy for fifty years, reducing the country to using oxen, which Raul assured us are time-tested.
I found it tantalizing. I could have been optimistic, at least a little. I could have said to myself, all this socialism stuff and posturing against the US is just to save face. Maybe there will be economic reform, maybe the lives of ordinary Cubans will just get a little bit better. I could have been, but I wasn't. There was not a single word to lead me to believe that the oppressive yoke of the regime will get the least bit lighter.
Just read La Contra Revolucion. They noticed the milk fixation too. Funny none of the news reports mentioned it. I wonder why?
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Like my mom used to say it: "If you don't see it, it is because you don't want to see it.!"
There is no other place in history for a murderer other than a murderer! There is nothing cool about a muderer.
Stalin, Hitler,Himler, Manson, etc....
It's a world in which Castro really cares about the health of his people. The President on the basis of personal animosity has sent thousands of troops in harm's way, merely to satisy his vanity. The Catholic church which nurtured me and taught me whatever virtues I have is evil, and the only sin left is smoking.
I'd guess that no smoker past the age of thirty actually smokes because he or she wants to. The afflicted knows he or she is killing him or herself. By now, most are aware that it is not a good thing to smoke on top of other people, particularly those who don't smoke. The antismoking crowd, however, has gotten so sanctimonious that they would give Carrie Nation a run for her money.
My hometown periodically starts making noises about banning smoking on the BEACH. The rationale is that cigarette butts, which make up 10% of the garbage found, litter the beach. So in their wisdom, figuring they're not going to get away with an outright ban, they've proposed four 100 foot circles on a thirteen mile stretch, where I suppose we would have to stand upright to fit. I guess the other 90% of the trash is okay. My only consolation here is that I got to vote against the chief proponent of this one, and he lost his seat.
Disney I have not been to in years, because although dry humping anywhere seems to be acceptable, last time I went OUTDOOR smoking was limited to four far flung areas you needed a secret password to find. I thank my lucky stars I left New York when I did, because once Bloomberg seized power, his hidden agenda was enacted. This is New York where they hand out hypodermic needles. And he wants to be President? I don't think so.
And now I'm supposed too pay even more taxes for the health care of children whose parents probably make more than I do. And by the way, we actually cost the government less than virtuous nonsmokers because we die young. Yup. Beam me up, Scotty!
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Carmen Landau, 30, a graduate from Oakland, California, noted in an e-mail message that chronic shortages of medicine and equipment in Cuba - much of it caused by the embargo - make health care here far more complicated than Moore's documentary suggested.
Well here is one of these students ever so gently indicating what we all know about Moore's depiction of the Cuban health care system: IT'S A LIE. What is troubling but not surprising to me to me is that the AP allows the assertion that the state of the health care system is due to the EMBARGO to pass without comment. I am so sick of this poop! THERE IS NO EMBARGO on food and medicine. And AP had a duty to indicate such.
This is what we fight daily: liars and incompetents. Read it all here.
So the Mad Emailer had to wake up early and lob this volley, not that they care.
In one portion of the article published today about six students graduating from medical school in Cuba, a student is quoted as saying that the dismal state of the system is due to the American embargo.
There is no embargo on food and medicine, ergo the statement is erroneous. As journalists you had the obligation to indicate such. By leaving the statement as is with no qualifier, you left the impression in the mind of your readers that the statement was accurate, and it was the big, bad embargo that was hurting the health care system.
I believe that as journalists accuracy is of paramount importance. Perhaps, a fact sheet on the embargo for your correspondents would be in order.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Amongst the questions were one African American gentleman asking about reparations for slavery, one foreign policy maven asking whether the candidates would go meet with our sworn enemies in Cuba, Iran, Syria and the like, and two lesbians who wanted to know if the candidates would let them get married. Great theater, but poor journalism. Because in truth, CNN here abdicated its role as a knowledgeable broker.
Take the foreign policy question. Cuba is not interested in diplomacy. Castro has made clear that what he wants is unilateral surrender on the part of the US: drop the embargo, forget about human rights abuses, forgo demanding payment for seized American property. If you want to see the truth of such, examine his response to Spain, one of the greatest collaborators with his regime. Spain has been working on the regime's behalf to mend fences with the EU, so what was the response when the Spanish government sought in the gentlest of ways to discuss some of the human rights issues- a resounding slap. The questioner is obviously unaware of this or thinks that the regime which wanted to nuke out cities will suddenly do an about face and start singing Kum ba ya, as someone on Babalu suggested. One would hope that a real journalist asking a question would be aware of same.
The other problem I have stems from the format. As one news outlet pointed out the questions were personal, too personal I would say. We each have our individual concerns, but government exists for the many and cannot address ALL of our needs and wants. Any government policy invariably leaves out or hurts some segment of the population. But as a society, we no longer accept that as a given. We are rapidly becoming the government of the exception for the exception. Oh, minus smokers and CubanAmericans, it's okay to trash them. They are not politically correct.
When you have the individual putting a question to the candidates, it removes the answer from the realm of politics. If the candidate were to respond truthfully, he or she might say, "Listen, you ain't never gonna get anything, so you might as well just keep working. Paying slave reparations would probably lead to Native American reparations to reparations for the people bombed in Dresden, etc..., not to mention that no matter how large the sum set aside, if you were to calculate the number of descendants you'd probably only get fifty bucks. And don't you think fifty bucks for your ancestors' slavery is a bit insulting?" Of course, you'll never hear that because it would be politically incorrect.
To be fair, picture the soon to come Republican version. The questioner asks, "Are you in favor of murdering preborn babies?" The scary thing is that apparently as a society we consider these "good" questions, else why the approval. Woe is me.
Monday, July 23, 2007
But the whole thing gets me to thinking about Hillary, who may very well make it. You have to admire the woman. When the Lewinsky scandal broke, I was highly contemptuous of her. "Some feminist!" I thought. "What a prostitute." And yet as time has gone on, and life has thrown me some curveballs, I have come to view her as my idol. Can you imagine the strength of will it took to carry on, when all she wanted was to do a Lorena Bobbit? And she got hers. She took the hit, but she got what she wanted.
Much as I'd love to reward that singlemindedness, though, I can't vote for her. First of all, I am constitutionally unable to vote for anyone who ever took part in a "Venceremos" brigade. I don't care how young or foolish she was, not that she's ever repudiated the adventure. By the way, it's amazing that she's been in the limelight for years, and I had never heard a word about it. Interesting, huh? Anyway, I never volunteered to go pick rice in Vietnam. Second, her politics are just too bad. Forget the mess she made of healthcare reform way back when. Take a gander at an excerpt from a recent speech:
Gee, haven't I heard something like that somewhere before?
It's time for a new beginning, for an end to government of the few, by the
few and for the few, time to reject the idea of an "on your own" society and to
replace it with shared responsibility for shared prosperity. I prefer a "we're
all in it together" society.
A Texas jury came back with a guilty verdict. Being convicted of discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence has an automatic ten year sentence. Other counts against them had varying punishments. Ramos and Compean were sentenced to a combined twenty-three years in prison, where they will have to try to exist alongside the same type of criminals they had apprehended in their line of duty.
Reading El Cafe Cubano which has a video of Dr. Biscet this morning reminded me that this video existed. Here his wife demonstrates a mock up of the cell in which Elias Biscet was held in 2003 for the crime of wanting to be free. She calls it a calabosa (spelling mine), a word I've never heard and can't find in the dictionary. If anyone out there knows, please let me know.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
When your friend who works at the local convenience store shows up in her brand new Lexus, you can say "Que comemierda." In this instance it denotes a certain pretentiousness. Here's where Mom would say "comen harina y escupen pollo," or they eat corn grits and burp chicken. The same can be said of people who include their degrees on a signature in order to establish intellectual superiority and avoid listening to people who might have a point.
The word can also describe someone who lets his or herself be duped. Your other friend whose husband has been cheating on her for years can be classified as "una pobre comemierda." If she is a particularly self-effacing dupe, you can better describe her as "una pobre comemierdita." So if someone allows themselves or their institution to be used by unscrupulous propaganda brokers, the same descriptor could apply.
The little old codger stopped in front of you at the light who seems to be waiting for a color other than green "esta comiendo mierda," as is someone who parrots shibboleths instead of engaging in meaningful self-scrutiny.
I think you get the idea. What all variations of the word have in common is stupidity. It can be laced with pretentiousness, or gullibility, or misfiring neurons, but in the end es comer mierda.
I may be touchy, but I found the response more insulting than the original offense, which could have been the result of ignorance.
As to Harry, I have to say, the first half of the book had the old Potter magic. The rest left me wanting. Of course, it could have been that I didn't finish the eight hundred some odd pages until 2:30 in the AM. I'm still unclear about some wands, but I'm not going back.