Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

viernes, junio 29, 2012

Mexico Votes On Sunday: Will This End The Killing?

Yo Soy 132 demonstrators on May 1

Mexico goes to the polls on Sunday to elect a president.

It’s widely predicted that the PRI, swept out of office in 2000 after 71 years of rule, and its pretty boy candidate, Enriquie Pena Nieto (EPN), will win. This, despite opposition from Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who nearly won the last election (some believe he actually did win) and who seems to have moved toward the center to capture more votes, and from Mexican students whose movement, Yo Soy #132, has brought thousands into the street in opposition to EPN, and from the presently ruling PAN party, whose candidate is trying mightily to distance herself from the Calderon presidency and its war on drugs that has killed more than 50,000 people by saying she's "different."

A description of the major candidates is here.

If it’s true, as Yo Soy 132 assert and the Guardian hints, that there has been a deal between the media and PRI that accounts for the opinion polls showing EPN far ahead, Sunday could be very interesting. Such a deal has great plausibility in Mexico. In the US such assertions are usually in the bailiwick of conspiracy theory. And there remains the question of whether Lopez Obrador, if he is told he lost, will accept that or will bring people into the streets to contest the election.

Most of us in Gringolandia don’t understand Mexico’s politics. At all. Or don’t care. But for those who want the quick, pre-election course, there’s William Finnegan’s a wonderful article in the New Yorker, Crime, Drugs, and Politics in Guadalajara.

Though he’s writing about the apparent contradictions between seeing Guadalajara as a cultural center and its being at the same time a city dominated by the narcos, his observations generally fit most of Mexico. In focusing on this contradiction and noting the pantallas (the screens) that shield motivations in Mexican government, politics, and crime, he joins in non-fiction the novels Los minutos negros (the Black Minutes) by Martin Solares and No habra final feliz (No Happy Ending) by Paco Ignacio Taibo II. The takeaway: when institutions are corrupt, and they are clearly so in Mexico, it's scary, you never know who’s really in charge, you don’t know whose toes you may have stepped on, so you don’t know really why things are happening. In the worst case, bad things are happening to you or your family for reasons you don’t quite fathom. Or they happen and nobody knows why.

All of the candidates say that they will do something about the War on Drugs that has left so many dead. What they will do remains quite murky. Everyone agrees that things will have to change. How things will change remains a question without a firm answer.

Put another way, will the Government take the army off the street and just make a deal with the cartels that stops the killing? Or are the cartels at this point so much stronger than the Government that no acuerdo of this kind is possible?

The simplest, most important question about the election: will Sunday's vote move Mexico toward an end of the killing, or will it just fuel more of it?

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jueves, junio 28, 2012

Balotelli's Violin

The world's most mercurial player, Mario Balotelli, singlefootedly lifted Italy over favored Germany in the Euro2012 semifinal, 2-1, thereby making your Bloguero's day. Balotelli scored twice; Germany goes home. That is so very gratifying.

Sunday is the Euro2012 final, world champions Spain v. Italy. 2:30 pm ET. If you're in the US it's on ESPN. If you're somewhere else, just turn on the telly. This will be a great, exciting game. Do not miss it.

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miércoles, junio 27, 2012

Paraguay: Waiting For Mercosur, Waiting For OAS

While the US continues to ruminate about whether what happened in Paraguay is appropriately categorized as a coup, Mercosur is meeting in Mendoza, Argentina. And deposed President Lugo won't be there:

Paraguay’s former president again shifted course on Tuesday, saying he has decided not to attend a South American summit this week where he had planned to protest his dismissal by Congress.

Fernando Lugo has surprised Paraguayans with conflicting announcements since the Senate voted to remove him from office last week. At first, he said he would comply and leave office. Then, he said he would fight the decision and make his case to the region’s leaders.

After saying on Monday that he would travel to Mendoza, Argentina, for a summit of the Mercosur trade bloc, on Tuesday Lugo said he had decided against it.

“I don’t want the other presidents to feel pressured,” Lugo said on television.

South American leaders plan to discuss a regional response to Lugo’s dismissal at the meeting, and Mercosur has barred Paraguay’s new government from attending

Meanwhile, the OAS is in no enormous rush to sort things out:

In Washington, the Organization of American States Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza said Tuesday that he or his representatives will visit Paraguay and neighboring countries this weekend on a fact-finding mission.

So, of course, as I wrote yesterday, the US is still waiting and thinking and mulling over whether to say or do anything. It's obviously hard to be a beacon of democracy in his hemisphere if the US is waiting on Paraguay's neighbors to determine its views. And it remains a real disappointment.


martes, junio 26, 2012

Nora Ephron, RIP

E! reports:

If you like romantic-comedies, and you like them witty, chances are you have loved Nora Ephron.

The writer of When Harry Met Sally..., and filmmaker of Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, and the Julia Child valentine, Julie & Julia, died today of leukemia. She was 71.

Far too young. She will be missed.

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Paraguay's Coup, the US's Weak Response

There's a feeling of deja vu about this. Another coup in the Americas, another golpe de estado displaces a left leaning president, another opportunity for the US to shy away from swift condemnation. This time the coup is in Paraguay. This time the US is assessing how other nations react to the coup.

The LA Times reports:

The governments of South America have united to punish Paraguay for removing President Fernando Lugo on Friday, suspending the country’s membership in regional organizations for what some leaders are calling a coup.

When news spread that the Paraguayan Senate had voted to oust the left-leaning former Catholic bishop, widespread condemnation came quickly from leaders in a region with bad memories of dictatorships and democratic instability. Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said her government would not recognize the new government formed by Federico Franco, who served as Lugo’s vice president before turning against him.

“Argentina will not validate the coup d’etat in Paraguay,” Kirchner said. “This is about more than Lugo.... This is a definitive attack on institutions and a replay of situations we had thought were totally forgotten.”

For all of Latin America’s varied ideological stripes, the negative response was surprisingly unanimous. Left-wing governments in Venezuela and Ecuador announced they’d cut off shipments of oil. Chile’s conservative government pulled its ambassador from the country. Colombia’s president, Miguel Santos, issued a statement saying there may have been an “abuse” of the proceedings. And regional powerhouse Brazil has put forward the possibility of further sanctions against Asuncion.

Many details about the legalisms underlying the "parliamentary coup" are here (great video). Long story short:

Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo has been ousted in what he has described as a parliamentary coup. On Friday, the Paraguayan Senate voted 39-to-4 to impeach Lugo, saying he had failed in his duty to maintain social order following a recent land dispute which resulted in the deaths of six police officers and 11 peasant farmers. A former priest, Lugo was once called the "Bishop of the Poor" and was known for defending peasant rights. Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile and Uruguay have all condemned Lugo’s ouster, but the question remains whether the Obama administration will recognize the new government.

Mexico, as well, has condemned the coup: “[E]ven if the political judgment took place according to the procedures established in the Paraguayan Constitution, Mexico considers that the proceedings did not give ex-President Lugo the time and space needed for the defense he had a right to.”

And the US? What says the US about yet another coup in the Americas? Will the US take a strong position for democracy in this hemisphere? Will the US condemn the golpe de estado and refuse to recognize the golpistas' government? Will the US cut off military aid? Will the US act to express its view that democracy should be supported?

Well, maybe, maybe, quisas, quisas, quisas.

U.S. State Department representative Victoria Nuland said on Monday that Washington is “quite concerned about the speed of the process used for this impeachment in Paraguay."

And she also made one thing abundantly clear: the US is not going to step into the lead on this. Or condemn the coup. Or take swift action. No. The US is going slowly and cautiously to assess the situation. The US is going to watch what others do. AFP reports:

Nuland said that the United States had also taken note that Paraguay's new leadership has committed to going ahead with upcoming elections.

The State Department also revealed that one day before his impeachment, Lugo met with the US ambassador to Paraguay, James Thessin. It said that the meeting was at Lugo's request and did not offer further details.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke over the weekend to regional power Brazil's foreign minister, Antonio Patriota, as the United States determines its reaction, Nuland said.

Nuland declined to say whether the United States would back possible moves to oust Paraguay from the Organization of American States when the Washington-based body holds a special meeting.

"I think we look forward to seeing how much unity there is there in the OAS on next steps,"
Nuland said.

The OAS is meeting today. And the US will "see[] how much unity there is" before taking further steps. If the news reports are any reflection of other nations' reactions, there's quite a lot of "unity." There's really not a lot to assess here.

Meanwhile, there are these additional details about the US's caution:

The US has not determined the ouster of Paraguay's President Fernando Lugo by impeachment as a coup in the South American nation but is closely following the events there, the US State Department has said.

Responding to a question about whether Washington has determined the impeachment constitutes a coup, spokesperson Victoria Nuland said: "We have not."

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez described the ouster a "coup", as Lugo was forced out and his deputy Federico Franco was sworn in as new president following the Paraguayan Senate's vote Friday in favour of impeaching Lugo on charges of "poorly discharging his duties", Xinhua reported.

Nuland also said that Washington has not made a decision about whether to recall its ambassador to Paraguay for consultations, as most Latin American governments have done....

She said Washington was consulting with "a broad cross-section" of its partners in the Organisation of American States and "taking stock of what our reaction will be."

One thing is sure. Paraguay is the poorest nation in South America. It has the most unequal distribution of wealth. It is still suffering from the legacy of Stroessnerismo. Lugo was committed to land reform, though he was unable to produce on that promise because of the fragility of his governing coalition and the power of the opposition. And now, those who opposed all land reform, those who opposed measures to fight poverty, those who most benefited from inequalities in wealth and income, those who benefit the most from Paraguay's hacienda system and its massive exports of soy and beef, have again assumed the reins. The coup is a clear step away from reform. And democracy. And the US should condemn it.

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domingo, junio 24, 2012

Juarez, I Still Hear You Crying

(I've written about this before, here (fiction), here and here. I confess that I can't get this out of my head. I can't just forget about this and move on. So here is more.)

This is far too short to be an essay. But it's long enough to be the beginning of a epitaph. Unfortunately, though, it can't be personal, because there are far too many unidentified, dead women and parts of them in the graves in the desert. It's impossible to talk about any one person. And many of the graves still have not yet been found.

Juarez, I hear you crying.

And maybe The New York Times hears Juarez crying, too.

I hope you can hear it, as well:

Roughly 60 women and girls have been killed here so far this year; at least 100 have been reported missing over the past two years. And though the death toll for women so far this year is on track to fall below the high of 304 in 2010, state officials say there have already been more women killed in 2012 than in any year of the earlier so-called femicide era.

Juarez, I hear you crying.

Mexican authorities have made promises to prioritize cases like these for years, and in the wake of international pressure, prosecutors now argue that more of the killings are being solved. But arrests and convictions are exceedingly rare. For the victims found in the mass grave in the Juárez Valley, even the most basic details were still a mystery months later: forensic teams said they were not even sure how many women were buried there.

To many, these women are now part of what looks like a slaughter with peaks and valleys, but no end. In the state office opened a few years ago to investigate violence against women, desks are perpetually covered with stomach-turning case files.

Juarez, I hear you crying.

“Here, the only one who gives us justice and obedience to the law is God,” she said. “And there’s no escaping.”

Juarez, I hear you crying.

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Two Sunday Haiku


Just beyond my grasp
is a powerful message.
Please deliver it.



Spiritual guidance:
I sharpen all of the knives.
Does it change something?


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sábado, junio 23, 2012

Guacamole: The BEST Recipe

Yeah, this ain’t no food blog.  Your Bloguero does not do recipes. Or restaurant or grocery store reviews. But your Bloguero knows his way around the kitchen. And he has experimented with guacamole for decades.  And he now believes it is time to share the BEST recipe for guacamole.

But, of course, there’s a problem. There always is when your Bloguero is involved. You know that. And the problem here is that your Bloguero does not measure.  Ever. He does not use measuring spoons.  He does not use scales.  No.  He uses his eyes. And he tastes as he goes. So the recipe, though perfect in every pertinent respect, is not going to satisfy those of you (Note: are you engineers listening? Are you people with OCD paying attention (Footnote to the note: as if I had to ask the OCD people.)) who want precision.  But look. This is not like trying to shoot a rocket into orbit where measurements count and after launch there’s not much you can do to fix things.  No. This is something you can adjust to your own tastes as you go (Note: your Bloguero assumes that you have good taste, like authentic flavors, and will not commit travesties (read: food crimes) like, e.g., substituting cottage cheese for home made ricotta (Footnote to the note: there is nothing dairy in this recipe. Let’s keep it that way if you please. Your Bloguero means this.)).

The preface to this recipe having now exhausted the reader and your Bloguero, one last note.  This is scaleable.  This is the basic element.  If you are making guacamole for 10 people, you multiply this recipe by 10, and then you invite your Bloguero to sample your handiwork.  (Unnecessary note: this guacamole goes great with Mexican beer, your Bloguero still things Pacifico deserves your attention).

At last and without further bloviation, the recipe:

Assemble these things in a bowl:

1 ripe avocado (ripe means softish, not hard, but it also means no dark or brownish avocado gets into the bowl).  Remove skin, remove pit, cut it up so you can mash it.

1 hunk of red onion (depending on the size of the red onion, you want enough to provide flavor, but not enough to overpower.  With a medium sized (about 3 inch diameter) red onion you want about ¼ of the onion NOT MORE.  You want to dice this into very small pieces and add to the bowl.

½ of a jalapeno pepper.  If the pepper is about 2 inches long, you want half. You can use other kinds of peppers if you insist, but I find that jalapeno works nicely and that habanero is a little too hot.  If you want it hotter, use more jalapeno.  Do not make the quantum shift to halapeno or cayenne.  Remove all the seeds (your Bloguero means this sincerely). Then dice this beautiful pepper very finely and add to the bowl.

1 handful of cilantro. Fresh cilantro.  A handful is a small pile that will sit nicely in the palm of your hand (your Bloguero know, people have different sized hands) made up of about 6 nice sprigs (get rid of the twigs) of cilantro.  (Note: your Bloguero hesitates to use the word “twigs” because of that word’s association with other herbs). Chop up the cilantro very, very finely and add to the bowl.

Tomatillo. If the tomatillo is small, peal its husk and dice it.  If it is big (more than 1 inch in diameter) use only 1/2 of it.  Dice the tomatillo finely and put in the bowl. (Note: the tomatillo is the item that makes this recipe unusual and makes it great).

The juice of ½ a small lime (a small lime is the size of a golf ball).  If you have a lime juicer, use it. You don’t want to overpower everything with lime, but you want there to be lime.  When in doubt with this, use less, you can always add more later.

Salt. Your Bloguero is fond of salt. A small scoop will do.  If you have doubts, hold back and adjust later on.

Now you have a choice.  You can us the authentic method and mash up all of the ingredients in the bowl with a masher.  Or you can throw it in a Cuisinart and process it until it is smooth.  The recipe, your Bloguero asserts, tastes better hand mashed, but he sometimes uses the machine because he is slothful and frequently in a hurry.  Whichever you choose, get the mixture to be quite smooth.

Once you have made the above, you have to add the final touch, tomato, as follows:

1 nice, fresh, red sauce tomato (Roma is nice, so are whatever other kind of sauce tomatoes grow where you are).  Your Bloguero does NOT recommend using your heirloom tomatoes from the garden or regular, fresh garden tomatoes.  Why? Because they are far too watery.  Chop up the tomato and add it to the mixture.  (Note: you can add chunks of tomato to the Cuisinart but you have to be careful not to overdo it. If you process this too much it will change the color of your guacamole in a bad, bad way.  So just barely use the Cuisinart to mix these chunks in.)  If you are doing it by hand, dice the tomato finely (if you like bigger chunks, leave them big) and mix it in.  Do not mash it.

You now have the world’s best guacamole.  Taste is and make adjustments. Does it need more salt? More lime? Make whatever adjustments seem right to you. Scoop it out and serve it.  Worried about it turning brown? Put the seed from the avocado in it.  Unless they are highly intoxicated, your guests will not eat it.  If they are highly intoxicated (and you are not), remove the seed when it appears in the bowl.

Caveat: make this recipe when you are ready to eat it. Do not try to save it. Do not try to prepare it in advance. If it sits too long, it will discolor and turn brown.  This is something made to be eaten immediately and not stored.

Second Caveat: Totopos (read: chips) are very important. Don’t you dare eat this recipe on the supermarket sold corn chips that begin with D.  Give yourself a treat: get some organic, natural food store chips.  Even blue ones.  Or get some packaged totopos at the Mexican Grocery. Or deep fry your own old tortillas. Look: you wouldn’t put caviar on Wonderbread.  Don’t you dare to put this guacamole on supermarket chips. Ever.   

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Beyond The Edge Of The Solar System

A milestone noted by TPM:
NASA’s unmanned Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched in 1977, has become the first vessel in history to reach the edge of the solar system, NASA announced in mid-June. It’s hard to overstate the milestone: At some point in the near future — it could be days or months, possibly, but not likely even a few years — Voyager is expected to break away from the bubble of particles emitted by the Sun encasing our solar system and enter the totally new, completely unexplored region of interstellar space, the black void separating us from the other star systems in our Milky Way Galaxy.
That's worth repeating. "The totally new, completely unexplored region of interstellar space."

Voyager is, according to its designer, "The longest and furthest-flying spacecraft ever designed and built.” So this milestone is the latest of many.

This is better than fiction. It is at once capable of making each of us feel extremely small, and at the same time, interconnected parts of a single, very small, planetary organism.

viernes, junio 22, 2012

Rolling Stones: Nostros Somos 132

Thought I was kidding, did you?


miércoles, junio 20, 2012

Solstice Haiku

Solstice fireflies:
a shimmering milky way
for insomniacs.

6/20/12, 3:06 am

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martes, junio 19, 2012

Summer At Last!!!

What better source than The Old Farmers' Almanac:

Summer begins in the Northern Hemisphere on June 20, 2012, at 7:09 P.M. (EDT)...

The Summer Solstice
Each year, the timing of the solstice depends on when the Sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. This occurs annually on June 20 or June 21 in North America, depending on your time zone.

The word solstice is from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), reflecting the fact that the Sun appears to stop at this time (and again at the winter solstice).

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Really? You Had To Do This??

Apparently Blogger, also known as Google, i.e. the way this Blog is published, has decided to change how one posts. I know you can teach an old cat new tricks, but seriously, is this change for change's sake, or is it supposed to help me in some way? If it's the latter, I hope somebody will tell me how this is going to be better. And by the way, the "preview" option is really, really crawling. And not helpful now. And I don't like the box I have to type content into. Just saying.

Meanwhile, while I make adjustments to my psyche, let's be inspired by this:

lunes, junio 18, 2012

One Can Only Wish

I find myself without a wig in the midst of a trial in County Court. Does anything in a real court ever go as well as in the movies? Probably not. But hope springs eternal.

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sábado, junio 16, 2012

He's Working Without A Net

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Did you really think this stupendous high wire act wouldn't show up here? Hah.

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Happy Bloomsday!!

Nora Barnacle's house in Galway

Garrison Keillor writes:

Today is Bloomsday, and James Joyce fans all over the world are celebrating. It commemorates the day on which the events of his novel Ulysses take place. Joyce chose June 16th, 1904, for the setting because it was the day of his first date with Nora Barnacle, his future wife. They'd met each other randomly on Nassau Street in Dublin on June 10th, chatted a bit, and agreed to meet up later. But she stood him up on their first would-be date of June 14th. On the 15th, the 22-year-old James Joyce sent a note to her that read:

"I may be blind. I looked for a long time at a head of reddish-brown hair and decided it was not yours. I went home quite dejected. I would like to make an appointment but it might not suit you. I hope you will be kind enough to make one with me — if you have not forgotten me!"

They successfully met up the following day, June 16th. They went for an evening stroll around the south bank of the Liffey River in Dublin. And Joyce later chose this day for the setting of Ulysses.

Even after the novel's success, Joyce himself did not call June 16th "Bloomsday." Nor did he really celebrate the day, though publisher Sylvia Beach organized a celebratory Parisian luncheon on June 16th, 1929 — years before the book was legal in the English-speaking world.
The first modern celebration of Bloomsday was in 1954, the 50th anniversary of the fictional events in Joyce's book, and about three decades after Joyce published his novel in 1922.

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jueves, junio 14, 2012

The Tone Of Political Discourse

A brief observation on the tone of political discourse in Mexico. In Mexico it's little bit sharper than in the US. Today's example:

It's all great, so long as it's somebody else's ox.


domingo, junio 10, 2012

Today's Marches In Mexico: Crickets in the US Trad Media

Well, surprise, surprise, surprise.

I think I told you that something important was happening today in Mexico. I wrote about it yesterday, and I then rescued my own diary to tell you about it again today.

So here's the big question after all of that: did anything of note happen in Mexico today? Did it? Do you know? Funny you should ask.

First, let's try an experiment. If you are in the US, do a google news search for "yo soy 132 Mexico," and what do you see? Nada. Zilch. Cero. Bupkis, Nothing. Evidently, nothing happend according to the Trad MediaTM. No surprises there. If it did happen, and you will find no spoiler in this paragraph, why should it be reported in the US? Why indeed.

And then, you wander over to to CNN Mexico and see this, the lead story headlined "Miles de ciudadanos marchan contra Peña Nieto" (Thousands of Citizens March Against Pena Nieto):

Jóvenes de diversas escuelas y organizaciones sociales se reunieron este domingo en el Zócalo de la Ciudad de México, de donde partieron hacia el Ángel de la Independencia para realizar la que denominaron la segunda marcha anti-Peña Nieto.

Alrededor de 90,000 personas participaron en la manifestación, según cifras que la Secretaría de Seguridad Pública del Distrito Federal brindó a CNNMéxico. En la primera marcha, el 19 de mayo, asistieron unos 46,000 manifestantes.

Los contingentes gritaron consignas contra el aspirante presidencial de la coalición Compromiso por México, Enrique Peña Nieto, para iniciar su recorrido por Paseo de la Reforma. Peña Nieto es militante del Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), que busca recuperar la presidencia que perdió en el 2000.

Oh yes. In English (pardon me for that and my rush translation):

Young people from various schools and social organizations gathered Sunday at the Zócalo in Mexico City, from where they left the Angel of Independence for the second march against Peña Nieto.

Around 90,000 people participated in the demonstration, according to figures the Ministry of Public Security of the Federal District provided to CNNMéxico. In first march on 19 May, some 46,000 protesters attended.

The contingents chanted slogans against the presidential candidate of the coalition Compromiso por Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, before starting their march on Paseo de la Reforma. Peña Nieto is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which seeks to regain the presidency it lost in 2000.

And then there's this small photo, too:

One of Yo Soy 132's main gripes is that the Trad MediaTM in Mexico are dominated by the PRI. That they don't report the news, that their polls are rigged, and that, of course, they keep saying that EPN will win the July 1 election. Why should all of that be reported in the US? I mean: we don't have that problem in the US, do we? I mean: in the US the Trad MediaTM aren't like the Mexican Media. Hell no. I mean: they tell it straight. And they report the facts. And they're not dominated by the major parties. What goes on south of the Rio Grande is utterly without significance here. Right?

No reason to report what's going on in Mexico. No, Sir. Why FFS none of that has any applicability here at all. It's obvious. Nothing to see in Mexico. Nada.

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viernes, junio 08, 2012

Sunday: Yo Soy 132 Marches In Mexico

This from NarcoNews:

On Sunday, June 10, the Mexican movement known as “YoSoy132” will participate together with the convening organization “Enrique Peña NO” in the “Second March of Anti Peña Nieto Information.” The first occurred when tens of thousands marched through the streets on May 19. ...

The national march on Sunday will converge from two routes [in Mexico DF]. ...:

• At noon from the Zocalo in Mexico City the “Second March of Anti Peña Nieto Information” will head toward the Angel of Independence.

• At 10:30 a.m. a contingent of the YoSoy132 movement’s Arts Commission will head out from the Casco de Santo Tomás, near Metro Station Normal, toward the Zocalo, in memory of the June 10, 1971 massacre in which government and paramilitary squads massacred 120 students who had marched peacefully against the PRI government. That massacre is today known as “El Halconazo.

Both marches will converge at the Zocalo and then march to the Angel of Independence, where demonstrators will watch, together, the broadcast of the second presidential debate (which, thanks to the pressure of the student movement will be aired by the Televisa and TV Azteca duopoly) at 6 p.m....

[S]imultaneous protests have been organized in at least 52 cities and towns throughout the Mexican Republic.

We will march with placards, megaphones, banners, etcetera, making evident to all of society all the errors, goof-ups, evil governance, repression, corruption and other messes by Peña Nieto. We will tell the truth since the traditional media of television and newspapers refuse to broadcast it… Together we will demonstrate our rejection of the most repressive and corrupt party in the country and it’s candidate, a plastic puppet!

All who attend the march pledge to:

• Attend on Sunday, June 10, 2012 in the Zocalo without any partisan political displays. The recommendation is to dress in black.

• Not engage in any prosletism in favor of any candidate or party. This means not wearing the colors associated with political parties, images that allude to the candidates, cheers for any of their names, etcetera.

• March PEACEFULLY and on the indicated route.

• Remain in only one lane of traffic so as to not impede the travel of vehicles.

• Respect all who attend the march, pedestrians and vehicles along its path, regardless of their political inclinations. There will be some guides during the march solely to indicate what that means, but we trust in your civility and if we act according to these guidelines everything should happen exactly as it is planned.

• Do not respond to any provocations by infiltrating groups nor occur in acts of vandalism or violence, such as taking down, damaging or destroying campaign signs. We must not damage any public services.

• Do not bring your voter ID of the Federal Elections Institute nor expensive objects of value that could be robbed or a target of provocations.

• Expose vandals and people who participate in acts of violence. If this occurs we suggest stopping the march and sitting down with arms crossed around the violent person, filming and taking photographs. This is how we will expose the aggressor.

• Deliver any person who conducts acts of vandalism or violence to the authorities.

• Inform the people of the truth about candidate Enrique Peña Nieto: his errors, goof-ups, evil governing, inexperience, ignorance, et cetera.

• Inform about the dishonest news by media companies bought by the PRI party (like Televisa) that have edited or ommitted relevant information that would expose the true face of Peña Nieto.

• In the event that any of these cited agreements are violated, retreat from the march.

I am in solidarity with Yo Soy 132 and this march. Join me in this. Wear black if you are marching. If you are in Mexico, join a march near you. If you are in the US, and there is a march near you (So Cal, you hear me?) join it.

More info here at FB.

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jueves, junio 07, 2012

The Obligatory 2012 New York Mets Post

The Old Perfessor would love this.

I confess. I’ve been stalling. I've been holding out. Last year The O2011NYMP was easy. The team was terrible and their season was over almost immediately after it began in April. This year, not the same thing.

Today the Metsies are 32 and 26, 6 games over 500. And they’re only 1.5 games out of first. Johan Santana pitched a no hitter; RA Dickey is 9-1. David Wright is batting .362. Lucas Duda (who?) has 10 home runs. So the big question, the question TO2012NYMP has to answer is this: can they keep it up?

Are you kidding? Of course they can. This is a scrappy, lucky team. When you’re a scrappy, lucky team you win games you should lose. You win somehow. You avoid what should be inevitable losses. Yes, their bullpen is awful. Yes, they have no depth. Yes, an injury or two could take them to the cellar in record time. Of course. They could implode at any second (witness 2010). But with about a third of the season played and two thirds to go, they could be contenders.

That’s exciting. I’m skeptical. And I'm used to everything going wrong that can. But all that comes with being a Mets fan.

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miércoles, junio 06, 2012

Clinging To Fossils: FM Radio, Blogs

This might be about time. And change. Or those things and impermanence. It might also be about technology. It's just that things are always dying. And sometimes I don't realize it. And then there are times when death is foretold.

WAMC is again conducting a fund drive. It started on Monday, and the goal is $1 Million. That’s right $1 Million Dollars. When I say that, I sound like Dr. Evil. Regardless, this $1 Million Dollar Fund Drive happens three (or is it now four?) times in every year. And it goes on and on and on. Yes, WAMC is a large enterprise. Yes, it has lots of listeners across the Northeast. Yes, it has 20 transmitters. Yes. But I’m wondering whether it’s a fossil. Whether FM (now HD radio) is DOA. Whether all of this fund raising is for something that might gracefully be saluted, and appreciated, and let go. An old love that’s now gone. A sweetheart who’s leaving. A companion who has lived a full life and can’t continue. An old, but beloved car. This fills me with sadness. And probably denial. I don’t want to see it go, but the obit’s in the draft file.

Of course, I haven’t been able to listen to WAMC’s regular programming because they are on the Fund Drive. So what. I can hear NPR news on my iPhone. I can hear streaming features from NPR and its many affiliates across the country on my iPhone. In fact, I can hear almost anything I want on my iPhone (Thanks and all praise be to Spotify and Pandora and ESPN). So I don’t really need WAMC now. I don’t really need it at all. Even in the car. Nor do you. As far as I’m concerned they can fund raise perpetually and then get stuck in a loop of replaying Prairie Home Companion. I don’t care. And if Verizon has enough bandwidth, and I have enough money to pay for it, I can listen to whatever I want from NPR (read: Government Radio) or anywhere else (Al Jazeera, e.g.), streaming on 3G or 4G or where there is Internet access for free on demand. I’m not tied to a schedule. And I never have to turn on the FM radio ever again. So, does all of this mean that WAMC a fossil? Yes, a once beloved one, but a fossil nonetheless?

A nephew who shall remain nameless is in the radio biz. I asked him, “Is FM going to be transformed into something new and useful or is it going to die?” Said he in essence, “Get your suit dry cleaned for the funerals.”

Which, sadly, brings me to WGXC in Hudson at 90.7. A community FM station. A new one. One that has had some wonderful moments. And some equally dreadful ones. A station that has explored both the zeniths and the nadirs, and often in the same hour. I tried to be an underwriter for WGXC. I don’t know whether my ad ever ran. I don’t know when the ad expired. Nobody ever showed me the information about when it ran, if it did, and then, oddly, nobody ever called me to ask me to re-up, to pay for more ads, to solicit my money. No, I called them instead. Crickets. This may be yet another reason to dry clean the black suit. It’s hard to have a community FM station survive when nobody’s collecting money from easy donors like me. Or am I unreasonable to want to know that what I paid for was actually carried out?

And then there’s blogging. Blogger friends tell me that blogging is dead, that social media is what is now important. To some extent I agree and I understand what they are saying, but I keep writing this blog, The Dream Antilles. And I keep praying that Google, which owns blogger which owns the domain, won’t have an infarction and lose everything I’ve written for the past 6 years. So, yes, I guess it's obvious, this blog, too, may be a fossil. And maybe I won’t be able to let it go, even when it’s completely obvious to everyone but me that it’s outlived its useful life. And that it has no readership. The latter probably doesn’t matter to me. At least not today. I suppose I’ll just keep going. I’ll keep writing this blog. And I’ll quietly compare myself to WAMC. And I’ll wonder what exactly it might be that keeps any of these fossils slogging perpetually along. Beyond their useful lives.

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martes, junio 05, 2012

Robert F. Kennedy, In Memoriam


In March 1968, Robert F. Kennedy began a campaign for the presidency and was a front-running candidate of the Democratic Party. In the California presidential primary on June 4, Kennedy defeated Eugene McCarthy, a U.S. Senator from Minnesota. Following a brief victory speech delivered just past midnight on June 5 at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, Kennedy was shot by Sirhan Sirhan. Mortally wounded, he survived for nearly 26 hours, dying early in the morning of June 6.

"Men without hope, resigned to despair and oppression, do not make revolutions. It is when expectation replaces submission, when despair is touched with the awareness of possibility, that the forces of human desire and the passion for justice are unloosed."

May he be remembered.

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lunes, junio 04, 2012

Yo Soy 132

The Election in Mexico is July 1, 2012. EPN is not inevitable. If you want it.

What's it mean? On May 11th an uncounted number of students jeered at Peña Nieto when he addressed them at the Ibero University in Mexico City. The Media tried to diminish the importance of their protest by reporting that there were only 131 students involved. There were many more than that… and so the students started to furiously spread the word: “I am # 132” The slogan appeared on T shirts, banners, placards Then a group of them made a You Tube video clip that went viral.

And, as if that weren't enough, one of my heroes, Paco Ignacio Taibo II applauds:

“The real miracle is that a complete generation that was condemned to apathy, to only observe, and to individualism, is once again making the nation’s destiny their own.”

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sábado, junio 02, 2012

Is This What Blog Death Looks Like?

For a long time (in Internet terms) there was a group blog called “Writing In The Raw.” I liked it.I posted at it. I liked some of the writing there. I liked conversing with some of the writers. It was a small but clever community. It was more personal and homey than the giant orange group blog. And less prone to pie fights and tantrums. In fact, it had its roots there because people wanted something more personal.

A long time ago (in Internet terms), in other words, a year ago, Writing In The Raw sputtered to a halt. I don’t know why. Or I have forgotten why. And then it was magically revived with a new address. And now, well, now it looks like the air’s again come out of the tires, and it’s just lying there, prone. Is it still breathing? If it is, it's not enough to fog up a mirror.

There have been three posts since May 8. Two of those are mine. And of the two, the most recent asks simple questions:

What happened to us? What happened here?
Are we finished?

This is probably what blog death looks like. Blog death probably comes with question marks and not periods. It probably comes with silence and not weeping. The energy flows out of it for some unfathomable reason. It takes its last, wheezing, shallow breaths. The writers don’t show up, and they don’t write. Nobody comments. And eventually, when whatever money was paid to keep it on a server runs out, there’s a void. An error 505 message. It’s gone. It's taken down. And it disappears except in our vague, evanescent memories. There is no memorial service, no funeral, no procession, no wake, no shiva.

I’ve seen it before. Frequently. One quick example: I used to love the AOL Chat called “Writers’ Café.” That was back in the early days of the Internet, the early '90's. The chat was fun. And new. And then one day, poof. Gone. It just disappeared. Some of the writers later resurfaced on Twitter and made connections again. But the chat, and it was one with some remarkable characters, just died. Again, there was no grave stone. No memorial. No funeral. No despacho. Just nothing. Only silence.

If there’s an afterlife for all of the blogs and chats that just disappear and evaporate into thin air, it’s a very brief one. It’s in the participants’ memories and their bookmarks. Ever so briefly. It’s rare for anyone to write anything memorializing it. There are no appreciations, no thanks, no farewells. There are virtually no eulogies. No. We, the contributors, the writers just go on to the next thing, whatever that may be, leaving behind us the dry pixels that used to be something, as if it were just an empty water bottle we put down at the gym and then forgot about, leaving it for somebody else to throw away.

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