Saturday, November 8, 2008

On Cutting Off Your Nose...

I was going to include this one earlier, but it just got too unwieldy.

I've spent the few days after the election walking around in shock, mentally demanding of the dimwits around me "What have you done!" Surprisingly, it isn't about my candidate losing, or even my fears of Obama's leanings. The way I figure it, the people have spoken, and too many of us are watching. It's the economy, stupid.

I confess I had not thought the economic ramifications would be so dramatic. For days after the election, the market kept tanking. One corporation after another announced lay-offs and closings. Coincidental, you say, perhaps. It is possible, however, that it was a no confidence vote, a signal of what is to come from the corporations who see a whole ream of taxes and other charges ahead and investors who see a lot more risk for a lot less reward.

In any case, those suffering most in this situation: California and New York. Apparently, these liberal bastions, epicenters of hope and change, depend on those evil, selfish corporations and investors. New York City in particular has been hard hit. As an expat, I feel their pain. In addition to losing the 400 dollar rebate from the inordinate property taxes they pay on their astronomically priced homes and possibly gaining a 15 percent tax increase, New Yorkers may now be paying tolls on bridges that have been free for decades, proceeds to go to subsidize mass transit which costs near 2 dollars a ride. To give you an idea how punishing the costs are.... Tolls presently on inner bridges range from 5 to 10 (round trip) dollars a crossing. In the late nineties, a 40 thousand a year income with two dependents necessitated paying roughly a 25 percent of that amount in federal, state, and local taxes. Those are just the basics. For some California info visit the Bookworm Room.

It's a timely reminder, although a day too late and a dollar short, that there is a symbiosis of sorts between the very places that lean so liberally and the villains of the piece. It is expensive to run these enlightened places with a myriad of services. Scrooge aside, sometimes it's not a good idea to sit down to a repast of cooked goose.

As for me, I fervently hope that the Obama show on Friday helped calm the markets and that acceptance of the inevitable is well on the way. There is something to be said for the law of unintended consequences.

Special Saturday Election Perimortem Edition

We ain't finished dying yet!

Closing the Barn Door. Here's a Cal Thomas column which highlights the Washington Post Ombudswoman's acknowledgement that the paper favored Obama in their coverage and neglected to vet him properly. Additional tidbits include the role of journalistic arrogance and the repercussions of same for the industry.

Cherchez L'Argent. For a time I couldn't figure out why the Press dominoes were falling in line for Obama, almost like a conspiracy. I put aside stray thoughts like "one world government," the mark of the beast (campaign signs), and the lottery 666 in Chicago day after the election. I even turned my back on the sneaking suspicion that this is was somehow orchestrated by a fifth column of Alinskyite leftists. But even well-known journalistic leanings could not account for the blatant stupidity of trashing their already threadbare credibility. It was then that I started to suspect other forces at work in the media, namely the zeal to preside over the historicity of the election of the first black president. Then I came across this juicy morsel. Follow the money, as they say.

Auld Lang Syne. Some of the best analysis this season has come from outside the country, particularly Canada. Conrad Black provides a pre election recap from this perspective here. While we're on the subject of election analysis, try this interesting read by Shelby Steele in the LA Times which posits that race did play a factor.

Red Dawn Morn. Here's an interesting development. The Obama win has set off a gun buying frenzy. According to Reuters, potential gun buyers have been spurred by the thought of gun control. Personally, I think some far sighted people are just getting ready in case the revolution comes. Maybe, they don't intend to go quietly into that good night. Don't think so, read the current Obama website where service is going to be mandated. Collectivism?

*Pending future developments, I do reserve the right to pick up any of these conspiracy theories .

La Paloma Approaches

As I write this, Hurricane Paloma approaches landfall, which is expected in the wee hours of Sunday morning, in Cuba. The third hurricane in 60 days, it seems that this storm will also target the family homestead, which heavily damaged in the last one was still standing. The question is whether the money we sent was already used to repair the structure, in which case the storm could again damage it; or whether the money has not made it there and can be used to repair the home apres storm. However, maybe the structure won't make it through this one without fortification. These are the considerations that plague those of us with relatives held hostage in the Castrian gulag.

If we needed further proof as to what pieces of excrement run the government, in this article the cagalistroso Castro again reiterates that the island will accept no humanitarian aid from the US unless the embargo is lifted. You can bet he will have a roof over his head when it is all over... although he might want to be cautious, as it is well known that doves do have an affinity for his person.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Michael Crichton RIP

It seems that every month or so, I find myself lamenting the passing of one or other of my favorite authors. This month is no different. On Tuesday, the death of Michael Crichton was overshadowed by the electoral goings on. Today, I'd like to take a moment to mark his passing and acknowledge his contributions, which were many ranging from The Andromeda Strain to the screenplay for The Great Train Robbery to the television series ER. When Crichton was "on," there was no one who could match his intelligent, well-plotted and suspenseful novels. What set his work apart was the real world basis on his stories. I found myself learning about the topic du jour- from dinosaurs to nanobots- while being entertained. Can't ask much more than that.

As a teacher, I found that many of my charges had never discovered the "fun" of reading. Either they had never been exposed to it or their natural appreciation had been deadened by the stuff we feed middle schoolers. I made it my mission to have them read approachable, interesting books over the summer. The choice of Jurassic Park was easy. It was a hit with them before it became a movie. As a matter of fact, I got a few years out of the title before they put it up on the big screen. That's how engrossing his novels were.

I extend my condolences to his family for their loss. And I rue the loss of an interesting, enlightening, and entertaining voice in fiction. He will be missed.

In Which I Uphold the Honor of the New Media: Updated

We received a very nice and informative comment from the author of the original poster of the teacher story. It was followed by a clarification of sorts. The writer could not refrain from the anonymous editorial comment. I started to reply, when I decided it was something that needed to be said publicly. Here's the comment:

Diatha Harris is not a teacher in Asheville, NC. She has not been for 4 years. And the film's producer misspelled her first name. That's what I love about bloggers and the “new media.” They are so damn accurate.Thanks a bunch KGS.

My Reply:

Since you did not leave your name, I have no way of knowing the source of your info. Fine, I'm not sure, however, what the implication is here. The documentary was obviously not completed four years ago, as in the nominees were not named. I can only surmise that you meant to communicate that she did not work for the Asheville schools at the time in question. Fair enough. That she worked somewhere is a pretty good bet, unless we are to believe the whole thing was a stage set, something belied by Diatha's CYA job in the interview.

As to your dig at the accuracy of the new media and bloggers. It is in some measure earned. However, such errors merely reflect the laxity that has crept into our culture, exacerbated by the necessity to earn a living, since those who get paid mighty well to inform the public abnegated that responsibility during this whole election season. It is the "new" assortment of media with all of its warts- including the guy blogging in undershorts in the basement- that presented information the American Public should have known. Are there excesses, inaccuracies? You betcha! You'll find them in both old and new these days.

It would, of course, have been better if the name and the venue had been properly documented. What you miss in quibbling about which school system and what spelling is the gist of the documentary excerpt and the post, namely that a teacher was using her position of power in the classroom to point her charges in the direction of her own political leanings. You may take exception to the messenger, but the message is accurate.

Update: The whole brouhaha has hit the media. You can follow it on Drudge, Fox, the Bookworm room. We were there first.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Oracle of Delaware

Our Vice President Elect created quite a stir when he prophesied that Obama would be tested soon after his presidency. For the first and only time in his political life, he was prescient. Six months? The Russians didn't wait six minutes! Read here and here. The Iranians were not far behind. Read here and here.

Is He or Isn't He?

I was going to be gracious. I really was. Last night I heard the President-elect say:

And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.

Foolish me, I thought he might actually mean it. Nah. Then I find out that among those being considered for national security advisor, etc. is Greg Craig. Cuban Americans of the intransigent kind will know the name, as Mr. Craig putatively represented Juan Miguel, the father of Elian Gonzalez. I write "putatively" because we don't need a "weatherman" to tell us who he was really representing.

So despite my best intentions, as well as my desire to support my African American brethren who are walking on air at the moment, I have to wonder. If President-elect Obama who has already demonstrated the post partisan style of his leadership by tapping uberpartisan Rahm Emanuel for chief of staff truly meant what he said, he will keep Craig around but under wraps. Stuff him in a closet if he has to. Otherwise, Cuban Americans are going to recognize it for what it is. See picture above.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Good Night, America

I feel duty bound to note the impending loss. Tomorrow is another day. Do you think those militias take Cubans?

Teacher Trash Talk?

Came across this link at Fausta's blog. It supposedly shows Asheville NC teacher Diantha Harris proselytizing for Obama and browbeating a student for supporting McCain. The incident is part of a Swedish documentary, so I can't vouch for it. There is one video portion embedded which shows the "teacher" coyly maintaining the right to different points of view, even as she tells a poor little girl that her father could be in the military for one hundred years. Watch it and see what you think. We can look on the bright side. At least she didn't ask the children to close their eyes and ask, f, oh, Obama for candy.

Must Read for Today

David Limbaugh tells it like it is. He feels my pain. Try:

The prospect of a Barack Obama presidency makes me very nervous.

Obama's entire campaign has been based on the need for radical, transformational change, which implies there is something very wrong with America.

It's hardly surprising, then, that he has painted the bleakest picture of America instead of acknowledging, as a starting point, that we are still the greatest nation in the world.


With all respect, almost everything about Obama's campaign is fraudulent. He masquerades as a uniter while dividing, polarizing and alienating us. He denies he's liberal, when objective sources score him as the most liberal senator. He says he barely knows militants and radicals with whom he has spent his lifetime cavorting and whose worldviews -- horrifyingly -- he shares. He brazenly disguises welfare redistributions as tax cuts. He and his surrogates keep changing his tax plan.

With his ideas about spreading the wealth, entrepreneurial selfishness, the ongoing "original sin" in our Constitution, the inherent evil of corporations, nationalized health care, and the civil rights movement not doing enough to bring about "economic justice" -- a euphemism for "Marxism" used by radicals, such as Bill Ayers, who still hate America -- are you not concerned at just how far Obama might go if he's got a nearly veto-proof Democratic majority at his back?

Food for thought. Read the whole thing here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Eve Reflections

I voted yesterday. It took two trips and two hours, but we did it. I had my elderly and infirm mother who had refused an absentee ballot, because voting had never been a test of physical endurance before, along. When we pulled up to the polling place on Saturday, the wait was 45 minutes. We tried the line for a while but then decided to try on Sunday. On Sunday we, along with hundreds of others, opened up the polling place. This time, however, we were prepared. With the expedient of a folding seat cane, she weathered the crowd, the heat, and the multi hour wait. After it was all over, she pulled me aside and said, "You know why I did this? Because it was so close. Otherwise I wouldn't have waited." I don't think I could have been prouder of her.

The hubster, of course, was another story. Decades ago, as nearly newlyweds, we took a grand tour of Europe. We started out in London, then took a train to Folkstone where we boarded a ferry to Calais. Obviously, this was before the Chunnel. All was fine, except that there was nowhere to stow our bags under lock and key, necessitating that we, as New Yorkers, keep our eyes on the luggage. Using one excuse or another, the hub managed to find a pretext to leave. Thus, I spent the whole trip chained to one spot. Little did I know at the time, but I have been minding the luggage ever since. So yesterday, true to form, he kept ducking off the line to have a cigarette, leaving me immured in that wall of humanity. I forgave him, because he is pathologically sensitive to crowds, but only just.

So as I was inching along, husband flown, mother semi-conscious, I had ample opportunity to entertain myself by watching the masses. First, I played "the who are they voting for" game. Some were obvious New College hippie types. As my daughter once described it, "Mom, they don't wear shoes there!" Obvious Obama voters. But after that, it was hard to tell. Except that as the wait dragged on, by dint of eavesdropping on their whispered conversation, I gleaned that the two separate voters in front of me were in the McCain camp. There was a sense of urgency to their desire to vote, as if like the candidate they did not believe all was lost. One confided to the other that many of her Democrat friend were voting for McCain. That is anecdotal. Other than that I could not tell.

No one discussed politics. No one jostled in line. Other people's children were indulged; other people's elderly, cosseted. It's as if we all understood that although we might differ mightily on politics, we respected the right of each and every one of us to our own perspective. We were united as Americans in an orderly, venerable tradition of expressing our wishes via the ballot box. America, great country! So if Obama wins tomorrow, I will give him a fair shot. We always seem to get the leader we need. And as my brave mother says, "No hay mal, que por bien no venga." There is no evil that does not result in good, indeed!

Children's Reading Day in Sarasota: A Public Service Announcement

This comment was left on a post about the Sarasota Reading Festival. The Friends of the Selby Library and The Children's Garden has put together a reading fest for children!

To all those Sarasota folks, our Children's Garden is taking charge of a Children's Reading Day! Free admission, illustrators, authors, vendors, etc. Nov. 23 10a-5p.

You, go!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Don't Say We Weren't Warned

Melek makes a reasoned and empassioned plea in Cubanology, asking the most basic of questions: "What has happened to our standards for Commander in Chief?" Not long ago, Dick Morris made the point that because of his associations, Obama were he not the elected official would not pass an FBI investigation to serve in the White House. But all of that is prelude.

On Tuesday, the American people may well elect a candidate because they desire a change in the policies of the past 8 years and instead get a president who has sworn to "fundamentally change" the United States. How many know that with a Democrat supermajority in congress, they are offerring a "carte blanche" to a transformation of government as we know it? When the inevitable rude awakening comes, they can not pretend they were not warned. Obama, although cloaked in the language of moderation and wearing the breastplate of media collusion, has provided enough clues to his vision of America.

Obama's America is not a nation where even the poor are considerably better off than they are almost anywhere else on Earth, where it is possible by dint of ability, hard work, and a little help to go from Chicago's South Side to its Hyde Park. It is a nation replete with misery and suffering. A nation crying out for economic redistribution, where wealth is going to "trickle up."

It gets worse. The Constitution is a "flawed" document. This I can partially understand, as this same qualified a slave as three fifths of a man. But the framers of this document were prescient enough to produce what has served as the backbone of a free and prosperous people for centuries. (How many Republics did it take France?) Messr. Obama complains that the founding fathers concentrated on negative liberties. Well, I'm not a Constitutional scholar, but as a Cuban American, it seems to me that there is something to be said for limiting the powers of government, any government, be it ever so well intentioned.

But even if we grant him the point, on what ground does he presume to attempt an end run around a document that most Americans consider sacrosanct? Is it only his own vision that he relies on? And what informs that vision? Here is where the these influences and associations become particularly troublesome. With the lack of any real record, it is difficult to say what exactly inhabits his dreams. Therein lies the crux of the problem.

So what can be gleaned from the subtext of all that he has said? He wants to "spread the wealth" and "fundamentally change" the country and the world. He would meet as equals with the most despised of totalitarian rulers, and Jesse Jackson assures us disregard the "Zionists." Regime officials in Cuba are already bruiting it about that the embargo will be lifted. Doubtless, in each instance, it will all seem terribly reasonable. Despite the rationale behind the prohibition of using the armed forces in the country, he proposes a civilian armed force within its borders. He pins energy policy on what are at the moment pipe dreams, technology that will take decades to mature and would destroy whole industries, seemingly without a qualm; seeks to raise taxes in the midst of a major economic downturn, characterizing as "selfish" those who would like to keep more than thirty percent of what they earn (factor in payroll, state, and local taxes); and looks down upon those who "cling" to their guns and their God; a man who punishes the few intrepid souls in the media who have the audacity to ask difficult questions or endorse the other candidate and mocks the dreams of a humble plumber for the same.

Make no mistake about it: this is a fight over the soul of America. I cannot help but think that a vote for Obama is a vote to change those values of independence, self-reliance, and self-determination that made this country and its people great. Now unlike my more liberal brethren, I believe that you are entitled to your own opinions. I further believe that two people may differ for valid reasons. I also acknowledge that I may be wrong. A President Obama may go down in the annals of history as another Lincoln. I hope I am. I do know, however, that in Greek tragedy, the Gods always punish hubris. I pray that we may not wind up as the chorus, witness and victim to the downfall of greatness.

Sunday Seasons Pass

Cross Currents. Should the seemingly unthinkable occur and the Grand Obamameister go down flaming in defeat, there will be many to ascribe it to the "Bradley Effect." However, as Wynton Hall reminds us here, there is such a thing as the "Spiral of Silence." Basically, people just want to be cool, making the secret Union ballot all the more important.
Escaping Gas. Read this in a variety of places, but this article lays it out clearly. Scientists are somewhat baffled by the seemingly spontaneous generation of methane. Upshot, while there is no denying that man's activities must have an impact, there are natural processes at work here. Speaking of which, snow in October?
H/T George
Melting Ice. Iceland, that is. In the midst of our own financial chaos and election year hubbub, the story of Iceland's near collapse has gone little noticed. I was curious, however. This entry from The Weekly Standard delves into how one government's response nearly brought down a country and became a self-perpetuating rationale for a government takeover. Food for thought.
Trembling Earth. From Fox News, we have the possible discovery of King Solomon's mines, the real ones. Forget Stewart Granger and Patrick Swayze. The mines, located in Jordan, were also a source of copper, not gold and diamonds. Another wonderful myth bites the dust.
Falling Temperatures. Six months after being launched, the Hard Rock Park, a rock-roll themed amusement venue is for sale. They ain't bringin' in the bucks. Management blames the economy, I like to think nobody but the boomers think them all that "groovy," and the boomers at their advanced age risk whiplash riding the "Life in the Fast Lane" roller coaster. Story here.