Friday, May 1, 2009

Apoplectic Fit Inducing Quote of the Day...

...comes from this in USA Today:

But the facilities — save for some up-to-date resorts and a few contemporary Havana hotels — pose challenges for demanding Americans, experts say.

Cubans own the hotel real estate, "and (foreign) hoteliers don't have free rein to manage as they wish," Baker [ "author of the Moon travel guide to Cuba, who has visited the country more than 30 times"] says. Bad service and food are common. "Communism and good service don't go together," he says. Cuba does not get a high percentage of repeat visitors, he says.

So many aspects of this quote are so vile that it is difficult to keep from spluttering over the keys. First, there is the overt bigotry. The accommodations are not up to snuff because they are owned by the natives. You know them; they're the little brown "sensual" types. Then there is the ignorance or dishonesty of that very misleading statement. The hotel real estate is not owned by Cuban landowners, as the article, penned by Kitty Bean Yancey, implies. It is owned, as is just about everything else, by the ruling military junta. Forgive me, if I feel no compassion for those foreign hoteliers who want to line up behind the khaki clad caudillos to ravish the Cuban population. Tourism diplomacy in action.

H/T Babalublog

Cosa Mas Grande, Chico!

Thoroughly enjoyed Manny Perez's reminscence over at Cubanology of a surreptitious jaunt into Manhattan when he was a young man during which he met Tres Patines. I was trying to remember those television shows of the late 70's, early 80's, shows that featured celebrities who had fled Cuba. I remember Popa and her ever present pocketbook, and then I remember a Mexican singer whose trademark was uttering "Mucho gusto, mucho gusto, mucho gusto!" My memory fails me. There was no Spanish TV when I was young, and these programs- watched by my grandparents much later- I caught in passing.

In Which One Resigns Himself

As Mom used to say, "Eramos pocos y pario la mula," or "There weren't enough of us already and the mule gave birth.

Semi-Literary Interlude

I was so taken with The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency that I've quickly read the next four books in the series. So there I am enjoying my Friday afternoon with the sun shining all around me, feet up, when I come across this musing by Precious Ramotswe:

Most morality, thought Mma Ramotswe, was about doing the right thing
because it had been identified as such by a long process of acceptance and
observance. You simply could not create your own morality because your
experience would never be enough to do do. What gives you the right to say
that you know better than your ancestors? Morality is for everybody and
this means that the views of more than one person are needed to create it.
That was what made the modern morality with its emphasis on individuals and the
working out of an individual position, so weak. If you gave people the
chance to work out their morality, then they would work out the version which
was easiest for them and which allowed them to do what suited them for as much
of the time as possible. That, in Mma Ramotswe's view, was simple
selfishness, whatever grand name one gave to it.

from Morality For Beautiful Girls by Alexander McCall Smith

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Failed Policy: Successful Semantics

Although the men who run the Cuban dictatorship have essentially destroyed the island economy and turned the nation into the great mendicant of the Caribbean, they have been successful in maintaining power long after most Communist regimes have crumbled. This is their, pardon the pun, crowning achievement. An almost equally notable success has been their triumph in the propaganda wars. Face it, it is their verbiage that has won the day.

Those in this country who have the most at stake in the freedom of their countrymen and who are in the best position to know what is transpiring on the island, since there is no such thing as a free press or freedom of speech in the island gulag, are routinely dismissed or vilified as "hard-liners," "intransigents," "dead enders," and even the "Miami Mafia" in the mainstream media. This last in particular is clearly evidence of the success of the castroite mix of propaganda, bribery, blackmail and infiltration that have won the day.

So as I stumbled across the term blockade to describe the embargo the other day, I had a thought. It is time that we get a bit more deliberate in our passionate opposition to those who wield the jackboot. As a movement we need to develop a terminology of our own and use it until it, too, wends its way to the mainstream media.

I offer my own humble contribution. Since the practical Raul has loaded his government with military types, at every opportunity I use "the ruling military junta" to denote the Havana regime. So what, if it's not completely accurate, Cuba being a more familial fiefdom. It's close enough. Americans, particularly liberals, have a knee jerk dislike of such bodies, associating them with right wing, Latin American dictatorships. Who knows? Use it enough, and it might stick. The possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Re-education, Please!

Though economically weak, the Castro government has kept the broad support of its people by responding to economic shocks and providing universal access to health care and education. There will be no counter-revolution any time soon.

-from a letter by twelve retired military military officers urging President Obama to lift the travel ban. I'm sure the 11 million or so Cubans on the island will be heartened to know that they do not live in a totalitarian dictatorship. It is only their slavish devotion to free health care that keeps the jack boot on their necks.

The School of No Choice

Having once attended a public middle school in a good neighborhood where walking the hallways was, nonetheless, an occasion for fear, I am passionate in my support for school choice. As such, I am equally contemptuous of those elected officials who prate about weakening the public school system. In an incisive column over at Townhall, Ed Feulner takes on the hypocrisy of these
same officials, many of whom send their own children to private schools.

I suspect the support of the teachers' unions or the noble principle of public education is of more import than the fate of inner city children who have no other means of escape from dangerous, overcrowded, substandard schools. Until these same politicos can make inner city schools safe beacons of learning, the least they can do is continue the voucher system as in Washington DC. It will not save everyone, but it might provide some much needed stimulus for reforming the public school system.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Cinelarities

It's Alive. Let's start with Austin Hill over at Townhall who sees Obama as "Awakening the Welfare Recipient Within," a metaphor for the growing divide between those who believe in entitlements of all stripes and those who adhere to the traditional values of independence and self-reliance. Read it here.

12 Angry Men. Okay, more than that and women, too, at the GE shareholders meeting. Seems some of the aforementioned are not too happy at what the Immelt/Zucker regime has wrought over at MSNBC/NBC, at the increasingly left wing tenor of the reportage. Heck, I wrote to the parent company the first time Olbermann went off the reservation. You see what a difference that made. Read all about it.

Stone Cold. Here's a bit of interest from the Cold War via Commentary. Seems respected journalist, I.F. Stone was, at least for part of his career, in league with the Soviets. It's of particular interest to me because I look forward to the day when we find out exactly why certain notables are so ready to defend the ruling military junta in Cuba.

The Front Page. Senator Kerry, concerned that the Boston Globe might fail, sent them a letter lamenting what their loss would mean. You know, all that stuff about a "diversity of opinion" and an informed public. Memo: Perhaps if these journalistic behemoths had been presenting a diversity of opinion and truly informing the public, they would not be on the ropes. Washington Times article by Jennifer Harper here.

They Came from Beyond Space. In the science corner, Edgar D. Mitchell, Apollo 14 astronaut, disclosed that they truly are out there, at least, according to this on Fox News. At bit closer to home, there is apparently a tome devoted to soap. Don't laugh. Hygiene has extended human life span more that medical developments, at least according to some documentary or other. Review of the Kathleen Brown book by David Aikman at the Weekly Standard. Final thought, keep an eye on the Mexican Swine Flu, but don't panic...yet.