Monday, June 15, 2009

Mercantile Monday

Bill of Goods? Over at Townhall, Walter E Williams concludes his look at the current love affair with big government, which seems paradoxical at best given the distrust of congress and the results of prior meddling which he describes, with the proposition that it may be setting the stage for later more sinister effects. Note the Germany parallel.
Fire Sale. Recently, the Wall Street Journal featured a piece by Kris Hudson and Vanessa O'Connell on the struggles of the once thriving mall. Having witnessed the effects of same on Downtown areas, suburban sprawl, I won't shed too many tears. Gotta wonder about the generations of "mall rats."
Letter of Credit. Also at Townhall but of an earlier vintage, this piece by Paul Jacob which suggests that what Cuba needs is a new revolution. Jacob makes a clear and refreshing case that the hunger of Cubans has little to do with the embargo and much with its regime. Bravo! On the opposite side of the question, please take a gander at what our universities are teaching. From the University of South Florida's Oracle comes this stellar entry, which in addition to a cursory nod to how the embargo is hurting Cubans and quick bow to the China meme, really seems to center of the oodles of money to be made in Tampa.
Blue Light Specials. A veteran of many documentaries on the Komodo Dragon, I was interested to note that the odd coexistence between villagers and the beasts has been upset as of late with increased attacks on humans. No cause is suggested. Global warming, doubtless. Half a world away, a young German boy claims to have been hit by a pea-sized meteorite. Talk about your bad luck. For the story and a listing of past instances, read here.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Mediterranean Rediscovered*

This article from the Christian Science Monitor about Cuba's lack of reciprocation toward Obama's loosening of restrictions reminded me of a Joseph Conrad quote:

The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not typical (if his propensity to spin yarns be excepted), and to him the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside,enveloping the tale which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that sometimes are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine.

In the article, Kristen Chick indicates the obvious- Cuba is not loosening its iron grip. Despite the Marlovian attempts of many to enshroud the issue in American recalcitrance, oppression, etc..., the truth of this situation lies like that of a sailor's yarn within the shell of the cracked nut: the regime cannot respond in like manner because to do so would threaten its illegitimate existence. What can it do? Loosen travel restrictions? Allow those Cubans fortunate enough to escape and suffer the humiliation of mass defection, or worse yet, have Cubans see how the rest of the world lives? Free political prisoners? What would happen if cowed citizens were to see that it was possible to dissent publicly without the threat of imprisonment, death by malign neglect? Or, better yet, what if they allowed a truly free election?

Truth is unless the ruling military junta is ready to commit collective seppuku, there can be no glasnost, no perestroika.

* Spanish saying, "He discovered the Mediterranean" to indicate the discovery of what is obvious fact.