Archive for March, 2006

The jailbird poncho

Friday, March 31st, 2006

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Effective July 11, 2006, Fausta’s blog moved to http://faustasblog.com. Please update your bookmark and your blogroll.
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First it was the Martha Stewart ‘Coming Home’/get-out-of-jail Poncho

Now it’s the Naomi Campbell go-to-jail poncho

The Manolo would say, Ayyyyy!.
As for me, I’ve taken

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Guillermo Fariñas update, Darsi Ferrer, and Mary Anastasia O’Grady

Friday, March 31st, 2006

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Effective July 11, 2006 Fausta’s blog moved to http://faustasblog.com. Please update your bookmark and your blogroll.
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First, the Guillermo Fariñas update: Cuban dissident recovering in clinic after ending hunger strike

Guillermo Fariñas, a psychologist and director of the independent Cubanacan Press agency, is in serious but stable condition after on Wednesday ending a 56-day hunger strike he began to demand free access to the Internet.

The dissident “has had no complications, but he is very weak, with headaches and polyneuropathies in his legs and hands,” his mother Alicia Hernandez said.

Fariñas, 43, is receiving medical care – including intravenous nourishment and fluids – in a hospital in Santa Clara, some 280 kilometers (about 175 miles) east of Havana.

Another independent journalist, Juan Carlos Herrera, has also been transferred to a hospital after going on hunger strike protesting his prison conditions. Last year I posted a graphic description of the dissidents’ jail conditions. Certainly, moving out of a dungeon into a health care facility is an improvement, even if the health care facility is very poor.

Before you start telling me about Cuba’s world-renowned healthcare, which-is-free-and-universal, read today’s article by Mary Anastasia O’Grady in the WSJ, Cuban Doctor Pays a Price for Truth: A victim of brutal crackdowns. The article is about Dariel “Darsi” Ferrer (emphasis added):

Dr. Ferrer had sinned against the Revolution: He is an Afro-Cuban medical professional who, noting the country’s abyssmal state of health care, established an independent health and human rights clinic. “We have dedicated ourselves to offering free medical attention to those in need and visiting extremely poor communities where scarcities strike marginalized Cubans daily, to offer health services, give medicine, clothing and toys, and to share the suffering of those beings”, Dr. Ferrer reported.

Of course, that landed Dr. Ferrer in the clink.

But wait. Who’s to blame?

French jurist Christine Chanet, the U.N. Human Rights Commission’s “expert” on Cuba, acknowledged the wave of repression this month. Though Cuban officials have refused her access, she noted that her sources report that “in 2005 more people were arrested and given dispropportionate sentences for expressing dissident political opinions”. Since she is French and a UNHRC bureaucrat, however, Ms. Chanet blamed the brutality on the U.S. By supporting Cuban democrats, she explained, the U.S. “provide[s] the Cuban authorities with an opportunity to tighten repression against them“.

In Fidel’s paradise,

Dr. Ferrer’s race also works against him. Independent thinking is heresy for any Cuban but Afro-Cubans are taught to be especially grateful for – and obedient to – the Revolution. They are supposed signal to the world that thought they may appear poor, malnourished and opressed, they are actually living contentedly on Master Fidel’s plantation. Dr. Ferrer hasn’t been playing the game.

Neither has Guillermo Fariñas.

Many continue to play Fidel’s game. Just this morning, Pradva (remember them?) reports American students get rare look at Cuba

Brenner helped arrange a four-month visit to Cuba by nine American University students who say they are at times puzzled by the contradictions between Cuban government rhetoric about the benefits of a socialist society and Cubans’ lack of material wealth.

“I’ve traveled a lot and for me it has been very frustrating,” said 21-year-old Jessica Skinner, of Grand Junction, Colorado. “I came here being very anti-embargo and now that I’m here, I’m confused.”

I realize Jessica Skinner, of Grand Junction, Colorado, isn’t the brightest bulb in the Christmas tree, but the reality is:


Communism doesn’t work


I hope that clears up any confusion.

Update And don’t get me started on Che (link via Barnard)
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What are they thinking? Part 2

Friday, March 31st, 2006

After spending your whole life as the world’s best-known pornographer, what are you worried about? Your legacy!

Tired of waiting at the metal detector? Punch a cop!

Bothered by the toothless UN? Test a radar-dodging and multi-targeting capabilities missile!

Oil rich? Squeeze your partners!

Worried about the CPE? Go blockade a high school! And a highway and a train, too!

Campaign promises? Forgeddaboudit!

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Fidel: Not dead yet

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

A question from S,C&A, Is Castro dead?

As much as one would like to hear a mourning theme, the tune instead is I’m not dead yet

Publius Pundit links to CIRCULÓ FUERTE RUMOR EN MEDIOS DE PRENSA LATINOAMERICANOS SOBRE LA MUERTE DE FIDEL CASTRO EN SU RESIDENCIA DEL LAGUITO EN LA HABANA (Strong rumors making the rounds of Latin American media regarding Fidel Castro’s death at his residence in El Laguito in Havana). The comments section of that link turned up the usual mixed nuts.

Fidel, however, Confirms Cuba will donate WBC Prize Money to Katrina victims, since sports are only useful when married to a political purpose.

In the meantime, while on the subject of foreign news, don’t miss Daniel Duquenals essayReactionary revolutions, comparing the Venezuelan and French revolutions.
Update Speaking of Venezuela, don’t miss Peaktalk‘s post on Hugo’s latest beaut.

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SC&A’s conversation with a moderate Muslim, and today’s articles from Maria

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred‘s conversation with a moderate Muslim is today’s must-read:

Iqbal, a student of Whitehead and Bertrand Russell, and the father of Pakistan who was hugely influenced by Nietzsche, said that the solution to the Muslim troubles wasn’t further self-negation, but self-affirmation. That’s where I get the name for my blog. I am unwilling to negate my self. Because I believe in my self. My belief in my self makes me love life. As such, it makes me the enemy of those who deny life. I am one of the very few who openly declare their love of living. Most believe that such declarations are impossible. That is why I wear hope as a badge. I have to have pride in it so others will have the courage to wear the same badge. I want to be the hope that takes us beyond the need for hope.

Ali, whose entire interview you must read, also blogs at Infidel Bloggers Alliance

At the blogs:
La Lista, una historia de McCarthysmo en Venezuela, by Daniel Duquenal

Today’s articles from Maria
Friend-of-Fidel CNN correspondent Lucia Newman has jumped to the new Al-Jazeera International network, which plans to begin operations later this spring. As Maria said, “WHAT A CAREER MOVE INDEED!”

On the Paris riots Letter from Paris: 4 simple rules for firing an employee in France
FRENCH CUFFED
Ralph Peters comments on the Strike of the Absurd

On the illegal alien demonstrators: Read about Who’s Behind the Immigration Rallies

The Mexica Movement site

12 million invaders

The America they “know”

The hundreds of thousands of protesters who took to the streets in favor illegal immigration seem to “know” America better than most Americans. Here’s some of what they know:
* The rule of law is irrelevant whenever enforcement becomes impractical, burdensome or politically inconvenient. The thousands of marchers, many illegals, had no fear whatsoever of being arrested or detained.

* The English language is “flexible.” Thus “illegal alien” becomes “undocumented worker” – as if the two were actually interchangeable.

* We’re the world’s leading practitioner of moral relativism – free to say that anyone who opposes massive law-breaking or defends the integrity of American culture is “racist” or “xenophobic.”

* The will of the American people is of no consequence. Poll after poll shows a substantial majority opposed to amnesty, guest-worker programs, open borders, drivers’ licenses for illegals, etc. – but our politicians care more about courting Hispanic votes. Though Congress has passed seven separate amnesties for illegal aliens since 1986, the Senate’s getting ready to pass another.

Patriots, Then and Now: With nations as with people, love them or lose them

We are not assimilating our immigrants patriotically now. We are assimilating them culturally. Within a generation their children speak Valley Girl on cell phones. “So I’m like ‘no,” and he’s all ‘yeah,’ and I’m like, ‘In your dreams.’ ” Whether their parents are from Trinidad, Bosnia, Lebanon or Chile, their children, once Americans, know the same music, the same references, watch the same shows. And to a degree and in a way it will hold them together. But not forever and not in a crunch.

So far we are assimilating our immigrants economically, too. They come here and work. Good.

But we are not communicating love of country. We are not giving them the great legend of our country. We are losing that great legend.

I was saying as much last year

What it comes down to is that the children are superfically acculturated to the media images and the language, but not to the values, of the culture. Call it a pop-culture acculturation

Here’s a link to the National Republican Senatorial Committee National Survey on Immigration Policy, and give your opinion.

Update George Will: Guard the Borders — And Face Facts, Too

Conservatives should favor a policy of encouraging unlimited immigration by educated people with math, engineering, technology or science skills that America’s education system is not sufficiently supplying.

And conservatives should favor reducing illegality by putting illegal immigrants on a path out of society’s crevices and into citizenship by paying fines and back taxes and learning English. Faux conservatives absurdly call this price tag on legal status “amnesty.” Actually, it would prevent the emergence of a sullen, simmering subculture of the permanently marginalized, akin to the Arab ghettos in France. The House-passed bill, making it a felony to be in the country illegally, would make 11 million people permanently ineligible for legal status. To what end?

More articles from Maria:
Eclipse causes fear in Nigeria. Not only in Nigeria, but also in Turkey, where the last total eclipse was followed by a major earthquake a few days later.

Schools urged to prepare for globalization. In spite of the highly alarmistic tone of the article (“Rome is burning!”), the fact is that failing schools fail all of society, not just the students in their districts.

Carnivals this week:
CARNIVAL OF THE CLUELESS #38: THE “HEY DUDE! WHERE’S MY COUNTRY?” EDITION

And from a couple of days ago,
Alfred Hitchblog hosts the Carnival of the New Jersey Bloggers # 45

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    Breaking news: Jill Carroll has been released

    Thursday, March 30th, 2006

    BBCA News broadcast has just announced that American hostage Jill Carroll has been released. Ms Carroll, a Christian Science Monitor reporter, was kidnapped on January 7.

    As they say, “Developing . . .”
    Check later for updates

    CNN headline: American hostage Jill Carroll, kidnapped in Iraq January 7, has been released, the FBI and The Christian Science Monitor say”.

    Update CNN video

    Fox News

    Police Lt. Col. Falah al-Mohammedawi said was handed over to the Iraqi Islamic Party office in Amiriya, western Baghdad, by an unknown group. She was later turned over to the Americans and was believed to be in the heavily fortified Green Zone, he said.

    BBC

    Sunni Arab politician Tariq al-Hashimi told reporters Ms Carroll was released earlier on Thursday and was with him. Details are still coming in.

    Ms Carroll’s release comes a week after the freeing of three other western hostages, a Briton and two Canadians.

    An Iraqi government source quoted by Reuters news agency said that Ms Carroll was in good health and being cared for in Baghdad’s heavily guarded government compound, the Green Zone.
    . . .
    Ms Carroll is the fourth Western hostage being held in Iraq to be freed in eight days.

    Update 8:30AM NYT

    A spokesman for the Iraqi Islamic Party, a predominantly Sunni group, said Ms. Carroll was handed over to party officials at a site in western Baghdad. They then turned her over to American authorities, who whisked her to the heavily fortified Green Zone, according to an official in the Interior Ministry.

    A leader of the party, Dr. Tariq Al-hashmi said that he had participated in winning the release of Ms. Carroll, according to an official in the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

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    What global warming, again?

    Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

    Via Daily Ablution commenter Dan Collins, Highly Over-Hyped: Greenland’s and Antarctica’s Impacts on Sea Level

    Considering that four of the stations that warmed are associated with the Antarctic Peninsula, however, there is little that can be said about the temperature trend of the entire continent, which issue they skillfully skirt. However, they do report “there has been a broad-scale change in the nature of the temperature trends between 1961-90 and 1971-2000.” Specifically, they report that of the ten coastal stations that have long enough records to allow 30-year temperature trends to be computed for both of these periods, “eight had a larger warming trend (or a smaller cooling trend) in the earlier [our italics] period.” In fact, four of them changed from warming to cooling, as did the interior Vostok site; and at the South Pole the rate of cooling intensified by a factor of six.

    These observations reveal that over the latter part of the 20th century, i.e., the period of time that according to climate alarmists experienced the most dramatic global warming of the entire past two millennia, fully 80% of the Antarctic coastal stations with sufficiently long temperature records experienced either an intensification of cooling or a reduced rate of warming; while four coastal sites and one interior site actually shifted from warming to cooling.

    Just the facts, Ma’m.

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    The queer McCarter fairies, and today’s articles from Maria

    Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

    This morning’s Town Topics has a nice review of McCarter Theater‘s current production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We saw it last weekend, and it was fun.

    Puck is played by Lucius Malfoy look-alike Guy Adkins, who can not only clamber up and down the abundant scaffolding in his Speedo-and-leather get-up, but can also sing. Puck’s a hoot. The other fairies are played by similarly scantily-clad athletic young men. Lea DeLaria, in male drag, plays Bottom. The play-within-the-play of Pyramus and Thisbe slowed the show to a near-grinding halt but it provided yet more opportunity for drag.

    The music was provided by GrooveLily, which reminds me of the hugely successful 1995 production of The Tempest. While Dan Moses Schreier and Carlos Valdez’s percussion music for The Tempest was fabulous, GrooveLily was certainly enjoyable.

    Others members of our group found this rendition of AM’sND too weird for their taste. I would have preferred more clothing and less drag, but I recommend it. This production will move to the Papermill Playhouse after it ends its McCarter run next month.

    At the blogs
    ¡Gringo Unleashed! translates several articles from Spanish-language media on the protests.
    Note to the protestors: the image of the American flag subsumed by another and turned upside down on American soil won’t further your cause, but it sure makes your message very clear.

    Dr. Sowell asks, Guests or gate crashers? (article via Maria).
    (Prior post here)

    Today’s articles from Maria
    Are they all mad?

    It seemed you could tell any crazy lie to smear the US, and you’d be praised as a truth-teller. And so our own SBS ran a French documentary, The World According to Bush, arguing that Bush attacked Iraq just “for the benefit of Israel”, because he was a “political whore” who was a puppet of Jews and Christian Zionists. Goebbels couldn’t have put it better.

    Blame Carter, not Bush

    Carter brought about the instability by refusing to back his threatened show of force with action when Americans were taken hostage in Iran in 1979. By failing to take action, Carter failed the Middle East and more importantly he failed to faithfully fulfill his duties as president of the United States. Carter’s betrayal of the late shah of Iran not only left a power vacuum that was filled by the Ayatollah Khomeini, but his betrayal and failure allowed for the rise of radical Islam, which culminated in Sept. 11, 2001.

    Never forget: The Falling Man

    THEY BEGAN JUMPING NOT LONG after the first plane hit the North Tower, not long after the fire started. They kept jumping until the tower fell. They jumped through windows already broken and then, later, through windows they broke themselves. They jumped to escape the smoke and the fire; they jumped when the ceilings fell and the floors collapsed; they jumped just to breathe once more before they died. They jumped continually, from all four sides of the building, and from all floors above and around the building’s fatal wound. They jumped from the offices of Marsh & McLennan, the insurance company; from the offices of Cantor Fitzgerald, the bond-trading company; from Windows on the World, the restaurant on the 106th and 107th floors—the top. For more than an hour and a half, they streamed from the building, one after another, consecutively rather than en masse, as if each individual required the sight of another individual jumping before mustering the courage to jump himself or herself.

    Feeling the Pain of the Falling Man of 9/11. Just this week, Bone fragments found near World Trade Center site

    Mark Steyn ponders Facing down a culture where they talk like crazies

    This was in last Sunday’s NYT Jews in France Feel Sting as Anti-Semitism Surges Among Children of Immigrants

    Ex-Mossad chief urges West to unite, warns of Muslims imposing ideology

    An interesting article on Kosovo: An Independent Kosovo will explode — here

    And the latest onInvention: Laser spark plugs

    Plus today’s video, The Taters. I wonder what Ron White would say.

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    Acculturation, about the children

    Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

    Yesterday Shrinkwrapped looked at Neo-neocon‘s assertion that profound cultural change is ordinarily not a fast process, and posted that “Ultimately, immigration is About the children“:

    Here we begin to see how the pernicious ideology of multi-culturism and political correctness has been slowly disarming our population of their intellectual weapons. Neo mentions the “melting pot”; yet our elites, even more so in Europe than here, have actively striven to destroy the concept of the “melting pot” in favor of such ideas as “a mosaic” or a “quilt.” If America remains a “melting pot”, the immigration question devolves to how best to ensure that the children of the current generation of immigrants can make the transition from being Mexicans to being Americans. If we are living in a mosaic, then the question is an entirely different and more dangerous one.
    . . .
    I believe that much of the discomfort about immigration relates to this sense that we are allowing non-Americans who do not share our values to gain a toe hold in our country and have no confidence that our leaders will do what they should or could to encourage these people to become Americans.

    Just a year ago I was pointing out that

    Prior generations of immigrants, once they arrived in the USA were taught, by the public schools and by other civic organizations, traditional American values; more specifically, middle-class, Protestant values, within a Judeo-Christian tradition. People learned to read English by reading the King James Bible. The Protestant work ethic was promoted through Horatio Alger stories, and the value of delayed gratification was spoken of. School curricula stressed discipline and the “three R’s”, and included famous sermons, such as Governor John Winthrop’s A Model of Christian Charity. People were taught and encouraged to serve their communities through volunteering, a most American trait. In short, immigrants were directed towards what it meant to live in an American culture; no one assumed that simply knowing the language meant one was acculturated.

    If the mosaicists would wake from their non-judgmental multi-culti PC slumber, they’d learn that most Latin American immigrants share these traditional American values:

    • loyalty to one’s family as demonstrated by the large portion of earnings sent to their native countries as remissions
    • the desire to improve oneself socially and financially by leaving their poor situations for the expectation of a better condition
    • faith, as shown in the much-touted Dia de los Muertos, Dia de los Reyes and other celebrations that otherwise-unchristian public schools hype in the name of diversity
    • a strong work ethic, with many illegal aliens working 12-14 hr days
    • patriotism and loyalty to one’s country, including the fact that Hispanics comprise the largest ethnic group represented in the Marines

    Directing these children towards what it means to be American would not deny them their heritage, but instead strengthen their values and their own selves, while opening their futures to the myriad opportunities that attract immigrants to our country.

    Shrinkwrapped concludes (emphasis mine),

    Any politicians and/or political party that can find a way to re-frame this debate as about assimilation and Americanization, rather than illegal immigration, without a knee jerk reaction from the MSM condemning them as racist, will have a powerful message indeed. Once again, our elites will attempt to polarize the discussion but there is hope; their power to determine the parameters of discourse are failing (too slowly for my taste, but failing surely). We need this debate to be about creating more Americans and not about empowering illegal immigrants.

    And the sooner, the better.

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    The Guillermo Fariñas blogburst, today

    Tuesday, March 28th, 2006

    Yesterday’s blogburst has been a huge success. Thousand more have read about Guillermo Fariñas, thanks to the many blogs who participated.

    Elephants in Academia writes In support of Dr. Guillermo Farinas Hernandez

    This might, on the surface, seem a cause hardly worth dying for. After all, as recently as ten years ago I functioned pretty well without internet access. So why all the fuss? Shouldn’t Dr. Farinas get over himself, have a good meal and learn to enjoy the island workers’ paradise? In the silence of our mainstream media over his plight you can almost hear the jaded sighs of “I wish I could throw out my blackberry/cellphone/laptop and not be so constantly bothered with this flood of information.”

    As Betsy says,

    Think of how access to the Internet provides a a window on to the world and how such access can challenge tyranny. You can go here to sign a petition in support of Fariñas.

    And then ponder why the American media isn’t covering a fellow journalist who is willing to die to protest for the freedom to communicate on the Internet.

    At least the Canadian radio interviewed Val last night.

    More at Not Exactly Rocket Science

    I hope Mr. Fariñas will hear that people around the world know of his plight.

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