Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Tale of Two Posts

Cuban Americans are by and large characterized as crazy intransigents. And truth be told, on occasion we have been known to let our passions get in the way of our public relations. But can anyone who cares about freedom or justice read these, which I picked up at Babalu, and not be driven to anger at the stupidity, or callus insensitivity the world over, particularly among the intelligentsia?

First read Carlos Eire's very clear explanation, courtesy of Ziva, of just what travel to Cuba supports. Then bearing in mind that Che Guevara was a mass murderer who helped impose the same Stalinist system Dr. Eire describes, read the article that forms the basis of the previous post by Fontova. Oh, the horror.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Meanderings: Cropsey and The Eternal Footman

Recently re-established contact with another friend of my youth, another of those who knew me when I was impressive. Inevitably I am reminded that I have done nothing of note with all of the advantages I once had. What I have had is some pretty strange encounters. I once, while minding my own quite boring business and quite by chance, stood across from irate murderers so notorious I won't elaborate. Once in a while I wonder what I would have done had I known what carnage they would create and come to the conclusion the answer is nothing. Don't have it in me.

All of these ruminations occurred because I came across an add for a movie, Cropsey. Sounds like an interesting documentary of sorts: crime story, cultural study of Staten Island, Blair Witch revisited. It struck a chord, because a few weeks before the disappearance of the last little girl, the convicted murderer came into my husband's store and hung around shooting the breeze. I don't remember being afraid of him. I think he was one of the locals. But in light of later events, I am struck by the behavior of my daughter, about three at the time, who spent his entire visit
affixed to my right kneecap. Strange, life.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Little to the Right, Please

Judging by the media coverage of the proposed release of 50 political prisoners in Cuba, it would seem that the entire island has been liberated. Even Foxnews is running a banner indicating that with the promised release- more aptly described as the forced expulsion- of the 50, there remain only 100 political prisoners in Cuba. So while Spain, the Church, and the MSM celebrate the benificence of the regime, they forget about all of those incarcerated on other grounds but for political reasons, on charges like those of buying black market paint, etc... Darsi Ferrer, anyone? Extending the idea, the hoopla obscures the fact that exclusive of party apparatchiks, true believers, foreign government functionaries, western enablers, oh, tourists, expatriates, Eurotrash, anyone living in Cuba is in essence a political prisoner.

What this media ploy demonstrates is the only genius of the ruling military junta in Havana. They have murdered and pillaged, oppressed a people and mismanaged an economy, dragged a nation backwards into the third world, into the Stalinist era. They are surrounded by the desolation they have created, but, hey, they have a diabolical knack for propaganda. For decades it is they who have framed the discussion. This ostensibly humanitarian gesture has seemingly blinded the world community to the continued repression of half a century. And Cuban Americans, as usual, are left looking like... like, well, hardliners.

Let me explain my perspective: suppose a mugger is kneeling on the chest of his victim, applying just enough pressure, not enough to completely kill the unfortunate, but enough to make it near impossible to breathe. In comes Spain and the Church ( Picture it like a morality play) who after much cajoling and pleading succeed in convincing the aforementioned mugger to shift a little to the right allowing the victim just a bit more oxygen. Am I supposed to celebrate?

True, I am gladdened that the victim is afforded a bit more freedom. In this sense, I wholeheartedly rejoice that the beaten and tortured will no longer be beaten and tortured, just forced into permanent exile from their mother country for the crime of having an opinion. But I will not bang cymbals and jump up and down in ecstasy until the criminal is gone and victim is at last freed.

That Slippery Slope

Those of you who read the blog know that we bought the house next door a few years ago. It stayed vacant for a few years while the hubster- in his spare time- worked on making it livable. My mother used to say that he had his vacation home next door. This year we finally moved into the almost finished house, leaving the original house vacant. When the Census rolled around, I dutifully filled out the forms, indicating that no one lived in the cottage, that's a euphemism for shack.

Lo and behold, my very irate neighbor informed me that yesterday, one of the newly hired census people came by to check it out. Then I find a little form nicely requesting a call or expect another visit. My neighbor is correct in this one. What the f*#@? It's empty. They saw it was empty. My neighbor told the woman no one lived there. What more?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Angels Amongst Us?

So says a new book. It would be reassuring. Read about it here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Update: Cuba Gets The Royal Treatment...Sort Of

Years ago a boss prefaced a question about conditions in Cuba with "Not that I'm going to necessarily agree with you, but what do you think of...?" The enormity of that statement did not hit me immediately. I was reminded of that exchange when I stumbled upon an episode of Royal Pains, purportedly set in Cuba. In the storyline, the ailing nabob, medical moochers in tow, reaches out for some experimental treatment at a beautiful clinic on the island, where the equally beautiful Cuban Doctor conveys the altruism of their medical system as opposed to that of the greedy US capitalists.

Then I'm watching the streets of a "Cuban" town with nary a spot of peeling paint, evoking the thought that they must have shot this in the Dominican Republic. Turns out the episode was filmed in Puerto Rico. Cuba should look so good. So what does it matter? It matters. It is only ignorance that makes this storyline possible, one that could conceivably infect 7.2 million viewers or so, leaving them with the perception that Cuba is just another Carribbean resort destination, no different from Aruba, or St Maarten, etc.

It is an ignorance only made possible by an interesting phenomenon, the NHH (Nothing Happened Here) syndrome that infects and informs the entertainment industry's love affair with the dictatorship, despite the testimony of millions to the contrary. They know more than people who have lived there, the family members of those who have fled and those who remain. The result is that the Cuba presented in the episode bears no more resemblance to the real thing than I to Walter Cronkite.

To be fair, there were some off notes. One character is convinced that he is being followed by the secret police for buying black market cigars, an impression heightened by the disappearance of the vendor. Scenes from next week's conclusion show the character being whisked away in a big car. Of course, the term kidnapping is used, leading to all sorts of dismay on my part. We'll see.

As my Dad would say, "Manda madre!"

Update: The conclusion of the two-part episode was much better, incorporating a major storyline about a dissident. Still, the overall impression was way too positive.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Unvarnished Truth

Thomas Sowell nails it. Try this:

Just where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that a president has the authority to extract vast sums of money from a private enterprise and distribute it as he sees fit to whomever he deems worthy of compensation? Nowhere.


But the Constitution says that private property is not to be confiscated by the government without "due process of law." Technically, it has not been confiscated by Barack Obama, but that is a distinction without a difference.

BP is unpopular and rightly so. What happens, though, when the precedent is established and the government deems some other enterprise unworthy. Do I hear slippery slope? Read the whole excellent column here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Meanderings: The Battle of the Wasps

My early years were spent in a Brooklyn tenement, insulated from the natural world. Wildlife to me consisted of flies, roaches, and the neighbor's dog. To see flowers, I had to sneak into the old campus of St. Francis College and risk being apprehended by the guard. Course, I did manage to grow a Morning Glory or two- spindly, short-lived things- in the window box on the fire escape. Later when I moved to suburbia, I was introduced to grass, yellow jackets, and the like. Nothing in my life up North, however, prepared me for the up close personal experience that is living with Nature in Florida.

No, I'm not going to go off on a paean to the beauty of the beaches, the seas of skies, or even a lament over the torrential rains every afternoon in summer or the brooding possibility of a hurricane. No, my scope is a bit smaller. Start with the ubiquitous lizards that wind up in washing machines or the palmetto bugs, or roaches the size of hamsters. Speaking of size, there are also spiders, all kinds of spiders, including big ones that look like pom poms and carry their young. Squish them at your own peril, as thousand of one day full-sized babies scatter in every direction. I know. There are frogs, mole crickets (scary) and phalanxes of mosquitoes. And snakes, lots of snakes, the National Geographic kind. You know, red and yellow kill a fellow kinda snakes. And did I mention the flies? Never mind, the no-see-ums are the worst, defying any and all insect repellents.

The one nice thing is the absence of the dread yellow jacket. There are few bees, only the fat, good-tempered true (to my mind) bumble bee. At least that was until my neighbor down the block put in a bee hive. I suspect it didn't work out for him, because I haven't seen one around lately, thereby putting the kibosh on my pipe dreams of suing him when the hubster keeled over from being stung. Alas. Back to the issue at hand. Wasps are everywhere: little wasps who tend to leave you alone and large, foul-tempered African-looking creatures who build tiny little nests, packed like Tokyo subway cars, in your mailbox. The former urbanite learns to combat these with a can of foam with a 25 foot reach followed by a quick flight to safety.

So this year, I spotted a wasp by the back door, not an unusual phenomenon. The next day, there were two buzzing around; the following, three. I began recon. They seemed to be coming from under the mouldering box truck by the back porch. Aha. Problem was they seemed to have built a nest on the underside of said truck. The prospect of infiltrating their camp on my back without easy egress was a weighty one. Still, sticking my courage to the sticking place, I went for my weapon of choice. Agh. Godamn, he did it again. He used up the 5 dollar can of Raid and didn't tell me. I run out to the store. All the while, He, the hubster, is insistent that they don't have a hive, that they are coming from foxholes in the ground. I don't believe him.

Armed with my newly purchased and pricey can, I'm still hesitant. I really don't want to suffer the death of a thousand stings. Something seems wrong anyway. A little research, and the dawning realization that hubby was right. Who ever heard of a wasp that doesn't build a nest? Now, how to neutralize what have now become dozens of wasps at the same time when they're not in the same place? The internet yields advice: they don't like wet soil, use soap and water, etc. The paramount consideration for me, however, is not to get stung. I wait for ideal weather conditions. Where is the daily rainstorm when you need it? Finally one afternoon, there is a break. Under cover of a shower, I grab the hose, snaking it ever so cautiously toward the truck. Drat! It falls just a tad short. I take my chances. Turn on the water and pray.

The next morning, I'm greeted once again by the invaders. Frustrated, I decide to consult my expert on all things Southern. Let's call him Buddy. I mean, they must have these things in Mississippi, right? Buddy is a font of quaint and sometimes questionable down home remedies, often involving petrochemicals. Got arthritis in your knee? Spray it with WD-40. Want to keep bugs away from the house? Create a motor oil barrier. Get my drift? But I'm desperate.

"What you got there is them old hornets," he informs me with a sympathetic shake of the head. " just take an old golf club and swing it, and you'll see them come after your ass." Huh? That's helpful. I shouda known better.

" One day, Jim Bob was playin' golf, took a swing, and that boy wound up with 15 stings. Only thing you can do... is use some of the dishwashing liquid, you know, Downy. Just pour it on down there and run. Don't dilute it, though, 'cause that syrupy thing gets on their wings and they can't fly."

That actually jibed with some of the internet stuff I'd read. But I'm still left with a problem: the reason the truck is behind that back porch is that like many of my husband's possessions, it died there and thus can't be moved. What now? Stay tuned. Same wasp channel. Same wasp time.

Remembering Dad

Go this one from friend Yonosenada.

Father's Day is approaching. Purple roses grow in heaven, Lord pick a bunch for me. Place them in my daddy's arms and tell him they're from me. Tell him that I love and miss him. When he turns to smile place a kiss upon his cheek & hold him for a while, because remembering him is easy, I do it every day. But there's an ...ache in my heart... that will never go away.....If your Dad is in Heaven, copy & paste this.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just Blame it on BP

The President's response to the oil spill in the Gulf has demonstrated clearly how removed he is from the mass of his constituents. Criticised for his odd detachment early on, he responds with choreographed visits notable for their awkwardness. His response to calls for Presidential leadership is to adopt a truculent stance toward BP, thereby antagonizing the already touchy Brits and sending the stock price of same tumbling further. And while he may congratulate himself for holding BP "accountable," including the extralegal demand for the company to set up a fund for claims to include those created by the President's moratorium on drilling and whats left of the Gulf economy; he fails to see that when BP is forced to declare bankruptcy, it is the taxpayer who will foot the bill.

Pending "plugging the hole," what is missing is a no holds barred approach to the effects of the spill. Tonight in his speech, he trots out the notorious berms in Louisiana. Very nice. Of course, Gov. Jindal had to plead on every news outlet for weeks and threaten civil disobedience to get permission from the Army Corps of Engineers. Assistance from countries conversant with deep sea drilling has been turned down. Apparently, no one asked for a waiver of the Jones Act. Booms and other equipment to ameliorate the effects on the coastline sit in warehouses thousands of miles away. Where have processes been streamlined to allow communities to defend their beaches? Is this all BP's fault? Who is the kick ass Honore here?

Alas, our President lives in his head and lacks the "common touch" of his predecessors. His is a lawyerly bent. It doesn't necessarily make him a bad person, but it does not make him a particularly good leader in a crisis.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Feeling Bookish

Finally got a chance to do some reading... specifically The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, followed up by The Girl Who Played With Fire, the first two in the Millenium Trilogy by Steig Larsson who died shortly after delivering the manuscripts. I had to see what the buzz was about, there being great excitement about it all. An avid reader of mysteries, I have to confess to being a tad disappointed. They were good-I'll read the last one- but I've read others just as good if not better. Best thing about the books is obviously Lisabeth Solander, probably one of the most intriguing characters I've come across in a long time. In the realm of Scandinavian writers, I'd prefer the Harry Hole novels by Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo. Still to be read- Henning Mankell. Just my two cents.

Also picked up a copy of The Holy Thief by William Ryan, a police procedural set in Stalinist Russia, one of a number of similar novels. I am reminded of Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. This one I enjoyed.

Oh, and if you can bear to read a screenplay, pick up your free copy of the first episode of The Glades at your local Barnes & Noble. I've got mine. Have to read it. The A & E series is set in a small Florida town on the edge of the Everglades. Murder and mayhem among the mangroves. Already have a question, though, how is the retired Chicago cop played by an Australian actor? Look for it in July.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


A phone call last night led to a tale of the trials and travails of assembling a caja china in the Southern heartland aided and abetted by a good ol' boy. Later an email brought a poem by Sonia Guerra which spoke to me as the child of Cubans.

As I wiped the tear from my eye, I spied a theme to the evening. In high school, I was introduced to the concept of the "marginal man." (That was in the days before political correctness. One has to wonder what it is now...) Anyway, the marginal person has one foot in either culture, in my experience belonging to neither. Although inconvenient at times, like when you're sixteen and trying to get permission to go to the movies with your friends on a Friday night, it is often incredibly comforting, like when you are cosseted and coddled in a most unAnglolike way, being called El Niño long past the threshold of adulthood by an overly fond grandparent.

As I explained to a young relative in the middle of a genealogy project who was bemoaning that the kids in her class could trace their ancestors to George Washington and the like, leaving her feeling so different: her classmates only have one cultural pocketbook to dig into; we have two.

I Gotta Get Outta This Place!

Wow, man, it's like deja vu all over again. I'm going through the channel guide tonight and come across a program about a family with congenital insomnia on National Geographic, leastwise that's what the guide says. When I choose it, though, they manage to make it about sleep deprivation at Guantanamo and who knows what the long term effects are going to be. Whatever happened to like climbing Mount Everest? Later, I turn on a rerun of what used to be my favorite program, Cold Case, only to find that in a story line about teen pregnancy which resulted in murder, the main culprit is apparently not the killer, but the school nurse who when asked for advice informs the young father to be that "taking care of it" would result in sterility for the mother, which information she follows up with gruesome pictures of aborted fetuses. Of course, she's a hypocrite who's getting it on with the married math teacher. No agenda here, huh.

It has spread like a virus. Used to be that if you stayed away from the news channels, you could avoid liberal propaganda. Nowadays, you can't even watch the commercials. Witness the Amex spots enjoining viewers to volunteer. Really, I don't need a credit card company telling me to be kind to my fellow man. When corporations jump on the bandwagon, it's a sure sign it's time to get off at the next stop.

I've been here before. The mindless adoption of political positions as a badge of coolness is something I lived through in the late sixties. Difference was that in those days, there were adults to keep the country from going to hell. As my father would have said, "Sheesh."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Digest: On a Lighter Note

Marital Mystery. Try this one from FNC about behavioral TMI's in relationships. They missed one: never pick your nose in front of your partner.

Leviathan Lobster? Also at FoxNews is this cute large crustacean, newly discovered in the depths. At the risk of being flippant, wonder what it tastes like?

Lost Link? At last, the disappointment of my first visit to the American Museum of Natural History is righted. According to the Telegraph, the missing link may have been found in South Africa. I'm still trying to get over that genetic Eve. Oh,well, As long as it's not the Piltdown Man.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Meanderings: Of Books And Such

I've been thinking about books lately, not the stories but the actual physical things. With all these ereaders coming on the market, I fear the end of our long relationship is nigh. Mine has been a love affair. Aah. The physical heft, the dog-eared pages, that smell of paper and incipient mold...there is comfort.

For years I kept a collection of my favorite books, as well as the old standards every library should have- Bible, oversized dictionary, etc.... Course, I never had one of those wood paneled libraries to keep them in, and by the time I- in straitened circumstances- moved across the country to Florida, I came to the realization that there were no library ladders in my future, and I really didn't want to pay the freight, literally. So after donating my professional stuff to various libraries, I embarked on my new life, accompanied only by the books of my youth: The Happy Hollisters and Georgette Heyer romances.

To my surprise, I've survived quite nicely since then. Last year, I even sold the Heyer novels on Ebay, no problem. I've found that I feel lighter, the Feng Shui is better in my house. Those of us who live in Florida learn quickly that between the heat and the bugs nothing survives in sheds and garages, so books tend to become dust magnets. Fortunately we don't have basements, and attics are vestigial architectural appendages.

So part of me loves the idea of the ereader. No more searching the house at all hours of the night for something to read, hiring a private detective to locate an obscure author's early novels. Think of the convenience. They're fun. And who wants to be a dinosaur?

I comfort myself with the thought that the disembodied tale floating in cyberspace shares in the paperless state of the storytelling of old. Not so bad. But stories were told around a fire in the company of other human beings. The ereader seems a bit sad, a lonely, sterile undertaking.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cuba: The Hunger

We are all familiar with the hunger which is the semi permanent state of Cubans, not because of the tattered embargo but because of a political system both inept and corrupt. But recent events point to another kind of hunger altogether. The death from a hunger strike compounded by malicious neglect on the part of his jailers- he was reportedly denied water for eighteen days- of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, and the grave condition of Guillermo "Coco" Fariñas after a month on hunger strike in tandem with the hunger strike of activist Franklin Peregrino del Toro, as well as the news that Dr. Darsi Ferrer* has been on hunger strike for the past week lead to a thought.

Yes, we can say Cubans are hungry: hungry for food, hungry for change, hungry for freedom. But these brave men point to a deeper kind of hunger- to be acknowledged in the land of their birth as human beings with all the attendant dignity thereof and not as serfs, slaves, chattel. Deprived by the Stalinist regime of any semblance of self-determination, muzzled, abused, and subject to imprisonment in subhuman conditions at the whim of the current military junta, the hunger strike becomes the ultimate assertion of self, the last resort. They have taken away everything else, but it was Orlando, it is Coco and Franklin and Darsi who chose to exercise the ultimate power over their bodies. How wrong a system is it, when the only possibility of freedom is to dance with death, even that only allowed because it suits the regime?

*Recently Dr Ferrer, who is jailed for allegedly buying black market paint, I believe, and has never been tried, received an award from the US State Department and has subsequently seen the conditions of his incarceration decline. He has declared his hunger strike in response to his maltreatment in prison.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thought for the Evening: Irony

After a day of listening to Democrats attempting to portray those who disagree with the administration's policies as racists, I am reminded of candidate Obama who wanted his presidency to be a transcendant one. It occurs that his policies have so horrified huge segments of the populace that their fears for the future of the country have transcended any consideration of skin color.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ay mi Cuba

Unfortunately I could'nt get to a march, yet fasted this weekend instead. Next time I'm planning a march in North Carolina.

I smell it in the air.

Change is in the air. I feel it now more than ever. I wish my parents could be here with me to see it. After this weekend I realized it is only a matter of time. The Castro brothers can't fight the forward movement of time. They cant beat the internet and cell phone technology of the day. They will be less and less able to hide their atrocities. Although I was surprised of little mainstream media coverage it gets better and better all the time as does non cuban participation. This my friends is the beginning of the end. Libertad! Cuba Libre!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Healthcare Surprise

Try this one. Budget Buster, yup.

You Have to Wonder...

...why the Drudge Report has seen fit to give nary a mention to the recent events with the ladies in white or even the demonstration of thousands of people in Miami at the same time they are spotlighting the maximum tyrant's approval of the healthcare bill, the arrival of a faux slave ship in Havana and the state of readiness of Cuban tourist infrastructure? Surely an oversight.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Speaking of Music...

My late father loved his music, had an extensive collection of "long plais" or LP's as most call them. Although we had widely differing tastes in music, we did agree on the music of his youth, the Cuban big band sound. He made tapes of the albums for me. Alas, time marches on, and even my tapes are going obsolete, not to mention stretching out. So I was thrilled to find one of my favorite albums was now on CD. I recommend it. Here's a tune.
Still looking for Javier Solis en Nueva York, or his Prisionero del Mar. I know, I know, Solis was Mexican. He was, however, extremely popular in the Cuba of the time.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Day the Music Died

I am overwhelmed by sadness, not because of this bill...bills will come and go...but by what it represents. Already they are bruiting about all the wonderful things, like no pre-existing conditions, coverage until age 26, yada, yada, yada. But there is no such thing as a free lunch, folks. The government will now force you to have healthcare. The IRS will effectively decide what plan is acceptable, ergo the government will control the industry. A layer of government bureaucrats will be between the doctor, the insurers, and you. Scads of middle class people will be protected against catastrophic expenses on the backs of senior citizens, the segment of the population which can least afford to lose benefits. And the way this was passed... in direct contravention to the will of the people, its passage touted with the cynicism of a Hugo Chavez, or even a Fidel Castro, boggles the mind.

I sense that tonight is a turning point. That someday we will look back and see as in a Greek tragedy that this was the moment the idea of America died, although to me it started dying the day they imposed punitive taxation on one group, smokers, to openly transfer it to the children of others. Next comes the cap and trade and/or immigration. There is obviously not enough money to fund all these things. There is not enough now. So what will be the answer, a monumental tax increase?

Worse yet, by the time he and his henchpersons are finished, he will have fundamentally transformed the country as promised. I have to wonder if this was the "change" the independents wanted when they listened to the tripe being published in the media and elected a quasi socialist. Stupid, stupid, stupid. May God help America.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Overheard on the Airwaves

"The Dems believe history will prove them right" in reference to the healthcare bill. To my jaundiced ear, this morsel from a newscaster sounded very similar to the apocryphal statement attributed to Cuba's maximum leader that "History will absolve me." In either case, when political figures (and tyrants) lack present justification, it seems axiomatic that regardless whatever the lavish application of cosmetic, a pig is a pig is a pig, now and in the future.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gulf Drilling Revived

No, not the US, silly. Russia is the latest country to announce it will partner with Cuba to drill in the Gulf of Mexico. Cuba watchers have seen a progression of countries and corporations do the same without tangible results. In any case although, as this editorial indicates, the drilling will be in acknowledged Cuban territory, one has to wonder whether the waters of the gulf will respect national claims in the case of a spill. Kinda leaves the administration high and dry (pun intended) on the ecological moral high ground.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

American Troika

After hearing Pelosi's comments from on high, I use the term deliberately. Despite the overwhelming rejection of the American people, we are to have this monster medical overhaul, courtesy of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid. All that verbiage about the "consent of the governed" and the "will of the people" is apparently irrelevant. I mean I'll spot them the "consent of the governed," construing it as the result of the elections, but what is the function of Nancy Pelosi and any other elected official but to carry out the will of the people? And the people do not want this.

Does anyone at this point know what's in the thing? We started out with two differing bills, numbering in the thousands of pages. We have yet to see what's in the Frankenstein monster they're cobbling together behind closed doors. No one actually knows what the results of the sweeping changes will be. Think unintended consequences. Most critical, however, is the reasoning behind the political machinations to ram this bill through.

It's apparent that the public in the main wants no part of it, so why pass the thing? Do they suppose that Americans will forget by election time; that the public is so stupid it has been duped by the Right and that it is up to the Democrats to chase us down and make us swallow our medicine; or is it that the majority is immoral to cavil at the expense of yet another entitlement when we can't fund those entitlements already law and thus must be forced into virtue?

There are those who frame the current fight over healthcare as a battle for our Constitutional principles. It is not a big leap to that conclusion when we see the expedients to which Pelosi et al will resort to impose their views on an unwilling public. If nothing else, the passage of Obamacare will be the triumph of the Democrat will. How does this differ from others who rule by fiat?

Get the broom out, folks. November can't get here soon enough.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Healthcare: A Logical Inquiry

In all the discussions of the health care bill, no one has raised a question that's been bothering me. It is my understanding that benefits will not begin until the fifth year of the plan, while funding will begin from year one. It would seem that the last six years of said plan will eat up ten years of funds. If it takes ten years to pay for six, what does that portend for the second decade of Obamacare?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Meanderings: What Might Have Been

It all started with a bit of basic arithmetic. In reference to the aforementioned job.... I work eight and a half hours a day. Add in commuting, making it nine. Get home about five, exhausted, then have to go to bed about ten, which leaves me five hours for relaxing, television watching, reading, housework, and more meaningful pursuits. The conclusion is obviously that I spend the majority of my day at work. Now I'm not crying for myself-at least not too much- as this is the reality of everybody who works for a living. Some people work many more hours and/or have a much longer commute. But the brain fart did lead to a revelation of sorts.

Periodically, voices from the past surface, some who were fellow students, work colleagues, and the like. Invariably, they are now at the pinnacle of their careers. See, unlike me, they kept the faith. It is at moments like this that I confront a truckload of regret. We set out on the same starting line, but like that hare of lore, I who had all the advantages dallied under the nearest tree. Now they are successful, and I am not. Working my tush off in a job well below my earning power, skills, and education, I find myself occasionally partaking in a sizable serving of humble pie. My New Age friends would say that life puts you where you need to be, confronts you with the lessons you need to learn. In that case, a bit of humility would not come amiss, I guess.

The funny thing is that these friends often express their own regrets. At times, amazingly, they seem to envy me. So as I was doing my mental calculations, a fierce thought rose in me: I resent every single hour I have to take away from my life to earn a living. I know the delicious sensation of waking without a single, scheduled obligation, declaring my own Law and Order marathon; the warmth and happiness occasioned by the play of sunlight coming through the window in the middle of the day; the sense of achievement when caulking a window or just mowing my own lawn, working as yet another few hours of diversion. Of course that renders you less independent but makes for a very pleasant life. Camus has Meursault say that nothing, nothing but the sheer act of living has any importance. Perhaps that is the notion that has guided me, for good or ill.

There are other reasons, beyond my control, that I never achieved what I could have, never gone for that brass ring. My mother would say, Dios le da barba al que no tiene quijada. So it goes, whatever we think is an Andersonian lie. And, oh, by the way, I love my humble job.

*Although this is a very personal- and one might say, self-pitying- rumination, I offer it as one perspective. I find that the women of my generation, the first to take advantage of the achievements of women's movement, is at this point in their lives very ambivalent about the choices they have made, myself included.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Payback is a Female Dog

As a resident of Sarasota, Florida who has the misfortune to be addicted to nicotine, I have endured much at the hands of the local schoolmarms who run our government. I can not smoke on the mile wide beach. I can not work for the county government: smokers need not apply. My state legislators are no better, balancing their budget on my back. And my bete noire of the moment is Congressman Vern Buchanan, who giving into personal prejudice, violated Republican ideals and voted for the Democrat cigarette tax increase forcing me to pay for the healthcare of others as well as my own. Mel Martinez only escaped my wrath by retiring.

In effect, I am paying taxes, but no one is representing my interests. Does taxation without representation sound familiar? Now just about March 16th, the local school board is looking for voters to renew an additional school tax we habitually impose on ourselves. I have always been a faithful supporter of the measure. Guess what I'm doing this year? It ain't voting "yes." If my local government considers me less than human, I won't sully their hands with my nicotine-stained dollars. Heck, if I could figure out a way to avoid paying taxes to them at all, I would.

I'm just not on a soapbox here. The School District has been spending like drunken sailors on school construction, building opulent child warehouses, when smaller schools are more effective. All of which makes it easier to just say "no."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Denial and Reality: An Epiphany of Sorts

The virtual hemorrhage of federal money, the unchecked government spending, scares me, as it scares many of my fellow citizens. The situation is unconscionable, as well as untenable. If nothing else, what right do we have to saddle our progeny with our debts...and for what? Acorn?

The willful blindness afflicting our elected representatives is truly astounding. Since most of them have never worked up a bad, let alone good, sweat in their working careers, I offer them a test. Let's call it the sofa test. You see, the numbers these politicians wield are abstractions to them, bandied about with little recognition of just what those numbers represent. I would ask, "How many sofas should a mover carry on his back to fund pig smell studies in Iowa?" Picture a septic tank cleaner: "How many septic tanks must he pump to fund the National Endowment of the Arts?"

Seen in this light, you have to rethink the role of the federal government. Many of the recipient programs are laudable. They are nice things, but they are not in the rightful purview of government. After much thought, it seems to me that the federal government, just as a private family in straitened circumstances, needs to concentrate on its core obligations- in this case: national security, some sort of social safety net so that no one dies on the streets of hunger, and others.

As things stand, it seems that Congress is in the grip of a mass hysteria, playing a bit of Handel as the HMS State slowly submerges. The woods are burning, boys.


When I began this blog, I was not working. Later I started working part time. With the current state of the economy, I am now working full time. My situation has resulted in very little time to post. I miss blogging and am working out some scheme to continue. Still unsure how I am going to accomplish it.

Prisoner of Conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo Dies

It is with great sadness that I note the passing of yet another noble and brave soul in the Castrian Gulag. Zapata Tamayo's demise, the result of a hunger strike undertaken in protest of inhuman conditions compounded by those same conditions, has unleashed a new wave of repression on the island.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Springtime for Hitler Sarasota Style

There is a perhaps apocryphal but oft told story in Sarasota that in the days when the town was being developed, one nabob, concerned, inquired where their gardeners would live if real estate prices kept rising. The answer supplied by one of his confreres was "Bradenton," a neighboring town. Our local version of the "let them eat cake" scenario came to mind when I found out about this. Yes, folks, the great political minds and philanthropic hearts of the Sarasota Yacht Club really are holding a "Regatta" to Havana. Of course, the regatta is one way. If memory serves...and it doesn't always these days... Cubans aren't even allowed to fish. In any event, the notion is so ludicrous, absurd, that it brought all sorts splendid parallels to mind, ergo the title here.

The conclusion here is that those in power at the Yacht Club are either completely clueless or completely impervious to the misery of their fellow man, or both; else they would not lend countenance to a murderous, repressive regime or celebrate the "golden age of clubs" with those who destroyed them. The thought that these people can go down there in their nifty boats with their nifty clothes and their nifty food in their slightly over-sized bellies amid the hunger, misery and squalor being inflicted on the Cuban people by their hosts is mind-boggling. The moral equivalent to organizing a cross-country ski trip to Stalin's Siberia, it is a stain on the name of Sarasota. They might have been better served if they had consulted the former members of the Havana Yacht Club. Incredible.

H/T Ziva

The State of the Democrat

I confess I've given up watching the Obamantics. Still, I did surf by a few times yesterday evening. Was it me, or was there a frenzied aspect to the Dems hoorahs, a sort of relief that their champion had entered the lists?