Like Rick in Casablanca, the NYT’s Azam Ahmed was misinformed,
I won’t link to it since it’s hatebait, because it’s written to be mocked, but linked each time it’s mocked, but if one is to believe the NYT, what makes a man, as Ace puts it,
is simply behaving like a liberal, urban white woman (the actual target demographic of this piece).
I’ve never met the author of the NYT article, but I’ve met Ace, who indeed is modern, and a man, and I agree with his assessment.
The NYT’s modern man owns a melon baller.
But I digress.
I’ve also met Lileks, another modern man, who went to town dissecting the NYT’s idea of a modern man, only that Lileks is pitch-perfect,
Does the modern man have a melon baller? What do you think? How else would the cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew he serves be so uniformly shaped?
So has his wife. Maybe when the kids are gone.
The modern man has thought seriously about buying a shoehorn.
But not those plastic ones. Something elegant with a bone handle. There has to be a place in the Village that sells them. That sells only shoehorns. There will be an old man who knows his craft, and the store will be old and cluttered and you know like European? And he will learn something about the art of the shoehorn, and the traditions of the makers, and the old man will be pleased to help him, because most people these days, they don’t care about the old ways.
The modern man lies on the side of the bed closer to the door. If an intruder gets in, he will try to fight him off, so that his wife has a chance to get away.
Stay away Mr. Burglar or you are going to get such a melon balling
Steven Miller, who I haven’t met, corrects the modern man,
The modern man does not use a mellon baller as anything other than a cereal spoon.
So the NYT succeeds at a hatebait, generating lots of posts (mine included), but my favorite so far is John del Signore’s, N+0 Ways To Be A Postmodern Man
The postmodern man and the modern man are both part of the same privileged white man hypocrisy, and never more so as when they compose deliberately insufferable listicles to be published purely for the sake of feeding bite-sized content into a rapidly devolving banner ad shell game.
Take it away, George!
Blogging on LatAm shall resume shortly.
The Grey Lady in her dotage, asserts “The embargo and socialism helped protect Cuba’s environment.”
Consistent with senility, the article by Erica Goode, Cuba’s Environmental Concerns Grow With Prospect of U.S. Presence goes bad quickly,
The country is in desperate need of the economic benefits that a lifting of the embargo would almost certainly bring. But the ban, combined with Cuba’s brand of controlled socialism, has also been protective, limiting development and tourism that in other countries, including many of Cuba’s Caribbean neighbors, have eroded beaches, destroyed forests, polluted rivers, damaged coral reefs and wreaked other forms of environmental havoc.
Never mind that beach erosion is a natural process; the Cuban communist dictatorship has destroyed multiple natural habitats, as listed in this paper:
During the last 25 years, the Cuban government, as the almost absolute owner of the island’s economy, has dumped all kinds of waste and hazardous materials into Cuba’s rivers, lakes and bays due to the lack of real concern for the ecology and environmental regulations. At the same time it has changed completely the course of rivers and the normal flow of coastal ocean currents. Furthermore, it has been experimenting with biotechnology, thus creating a potential for biological and chemical warfare. It has also been involved in the construction of a nuclear power plant with serious risks for all adjacent areas. Let us examine the facts on some of these issues.
1. The Almendares River, the main river flowing through the city of Havana, is the most contaminated river in the western hemisphere. It is dead, with no animal life.
2. The Bay of Havana, the Bay of Matanzas (about 100 miles east of Havana) and the Bay of Nipe, in the northeastern coast are among the 10 most contaminated bays in the world.
3. The city of Matanzas is one of the most contaminated cities in this hemisphere, proportional to its population of 150,000, due to industrial waste.
4. During the 1970’s Castro capriciously built over 2,100 dams throughout the country without a serious study of hydraulics or their ecological impact. These dams are adversely affecting the ecology, the fertility of the soil, and are causing the salt contamination of the groundwater.
5. Again, following Castro’s whims, many of the so-called “pedraplenes” have been built along several coastal areas. These are causeways built of sand and stones, with no asphalt. They have altered the normal flow of coastal water currents, causing salt contamination of the groundwater on the land close to these constructions.
6. Cuba and Florida have the largest coral reefs in this hemisphere. Over 40% of the Cuban coral reefs have been destroyed due to contamination. The flow of contaminated Cuban ocean water is affecting the Florida reefs.
7. The water and sewer system in the main urban areas of Cuba have not received any major maintenance in over 25 years. The average age of these systems is over 60 years. Consequently, there is contamination of the drinking water in most main urban areas due to the mixing of drinking water and sewer waste through the transmission pipes. There is a constant deposit of sewage in the streets of most main urban areas of Cuba.
8. Since the mid 1980’s Castro has been developing centers dedicated to the research, development and manufacture of biotechnological materials. Since 1992, Castro has spent over $1.2 billion on these efforts. There are 12 sites dispersed throughout the capital city of Havana. They are found mainly in Arroyo Naranjo, Playa Bejucal and Habana del Este. Due to the sensitive work done in these sites, and their lack of adequate quality control, these centers are a permanent risk to the population of Cuba due to possible leakage of lethal material. There have been several reports of evacuations from these areas due to hazardous leakage. These centers have the potential to manufacture bacteriological and chemical warfare materials and there is increasing evidence that this is happening.
9. The unfinished nuclear power plant at Juragua presents another potential for ecological disaster, including huge loss of human lives. There have been reports of over 24 violations of standards set by the IAEC during the construction of this plant. If it is completed, the possibilities of an accident are four times higher than standard plants. Greenpeace has called plants like Juragua a “ticking time bomb.”
10. If the plant becomes operational, the handling and disposal of the nuclear waste will present another threat to the ecology, as well as to human life in Cuba, the southeastern United States, the Caribbean and Central America.
Missing from Ms Goode’s bad reporting is also any evidence of the catastrophic and systematic decay in living conditions for ordinary Cubans outside the bubble,
We may call it a “What The Hey moment”; Bill Sanderson was more direct,
— Bill Sanderson (@mrgeology) July 2, 2015
Other “WTH moments”:
Today’s “WTH Moment” brought to you by Jorge Ramos
Also of interest,
Real Clear Politics has an article by Fabio Rafael Fiallo, Cuba’s Own Napoleon III
Today’s tropical socialism has, too, its Napoleon III. His name is Nicolas Maduro, the current president of Venezuela who to a significant extent is a creation of the Castro regime. Not only was Maduro trained in the Cuban schools of agitprop, he was also anointed president of Venezuela – with the lobbying of the Castro brothers – by a moribund Hugo Chavez with waning intellectual faculties who was receiving medical treatment in Cuba.
Interesting article, but I disagree with his conclusions,
Napoleon Bonaparte died in 1821 – well before his political legacy was squandered by his nephew, Napoleon III. The Castro brothers have not been so lucky: They have lived long enough to witness the irreparable damage caused by their pupil, Nicolas Maduro, to whatever remained of popular sympathy for Latin American socialism. This, more than any other setback or defeat, is the worst punishment that destiny will have inflicted on the brothers who have tyrannically ruled Cuba for over half a century.
Fiallo forgets that there’s one thing the Castros and their ilk care about more than their “revolution”: The care the most about staying in power.
For starters, most of Latin America is ignoring Maduro, for as long as he keeps sending them money.
And then there’s the win:
While Pres. Obama pats himself on the back for announcing the July 20th opening of a U.S. Embasy in Havana, Raul answers back by demanding billion$ in reparations, an end to the U.S. embargo, the return of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, and the end of all American radio and TV broadcasts aimed at Cuba.
$5 says they’ll get it, too.
Linked to by Babalu. Thank you!
In his post Carlos Eire posted this photo of an open sewer in Batabano, Cuba,
So much for “Cuba’s brand of controlled socialism” being “protective.”
After four editorials and three blog posts in less than two months, NYT unofficial lobbyist against the embargo editorial board member Ernesto Londoño met for two hours with Cuban dissidents from Yoani Sanchez’s 14ymedio:
Times writer gets Earful from Cuba dissidents
And for two hours the staff of 14ymedio gave him an earful about life in Cuba, the lack of democracy or a free press; how changes in Cuba were more in name only and not meaningful; how young Cubans are continuing to flee the island in ever greater numbers because they don’t see a future in their own country.
One of those asking questions was Eliécer Avila, the student who, in 2008, asked Ricardo Alarcon, the President of Cuba’s National Assembly of People’s Power, several difficult questions:
Why do Cubans have to work several days to earn enough money to buy a toothbrush? Why can’t Cubans travel freely? Why is access to the Internet restricted and censored?
Those are questions the American editorialist should try to answer when he publishes an account of his encounter with these dissenting Cubans. I am sure he will, and he will explain that all this can also be blamed on the embargo. Sorry, I shouldn’t presume what Londoño is going to write — even if what he had written before has been slanted to an anti-American, pro-Cuban point of view.
The group tried explaining to Londoño why the embargo would not solve the problems of the ordinary Cubans, who according to Sánchez “have fear ingrained in their genes.”
“People in this country are very scared,” Sanchez said. They fear those who tell the government what they say in private; they are afraid of not being allowed to leave the country; of being rejected for a better job; of being told that their children cannot go to the university because “the university is for revolutionaries,” Sánchez added.
Miriam Celaya, an independent journalist, pointed out the government had allowed foreigners to invest in Cuba and grants them permits to import what they need. The same benefits are not granted to Cubans, she told Londoño.
Recently more than 30 Cuban dissidents explained why they did not agree with the premise that the solution to Cuba’s problems was for the United States to lift the embargo. They all pointed to many of the same reasons this group of six staffers from 14ymedio told Londoño.
Additionally, Sánchez’s point was that focusing on the embargo focuses on a decision outside Cuba, while she’s focusing on Cuban civil society, “on when we’ll have freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and when will the straijacket will be taken off economic freedom in this country.”
Let’s see if he paid attention.
Damien Cave of the NYT can’t figure out that making concessions to a dictatorship in exchange for nothing is not a good idea, so he debated Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL), lost, and titled the article, A Miami Congressman Adamantly Defends Isolating Cuba. I hate to excerpt it, but here’s a sample (emphasis added):
[DC] But there are a lot of people in the Cuban-American community, leaders at the business and political level, who are having a more nuanced conversation — it is not so black and white. Let me give you an example. Cuba Emprende would like find a way to invest; they want to create incubators so they can find and help Cuban businesses. All of this is separate from the Cuban state. This is the beginning of civil society. They don’t have the ability to do that because the embargo prohibits that. Would you be willing to allow investment? I know the Cubans still don’t allow that, but from the American side would you be willing to support that? And if not, why not?
[MD-B] Because as I said before, because what we have to do, the question that has to be asked is: Is that something that will help free people from over half a century of totalitarian dictatorship? In other words, does the Chinese model, you know, the fascist Chinese model, is that the solution for Cuba, where you can invest in Cuba like we do in China, with no internal opposition, with no political parties, with no independent labor unions legalized, with no freedom of press, available and legal. There are folks who would like to have China 90 miles away from the United States, as fascist, totalitarian regime where big business can invest and make money with no labor unions, with no freedom of press, with no political parties, with no freedom, which is why in the law, which has strong bipartisan support in the House, in those laws it says that for those sanctions to go away, three conditions have to be met.
One the one hand, freeing all the political prisoners, free the Mandelas and the Havels and the Walesas of Cuba. Number two is allowing all those freedoms that I just mentioned, that is in the law. Freedom of press, labor unions etc. and then start the process towards free elections — and then all sanctions would go away.
So the question is which one of those conditions do the Cuban people not deserve? Before, precisely U.S. businesses go and invest, i.e. the Chinese fascist model. There are only two answers, two solutions, two possible futures for the Cuban people with the Castro brothers’ regime, one is going to Poland, the Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, you name it, places where there have been dictatorships and now they have democratic societies, or, yes, the Chinese, Vietnamese model, which is a fascist dictatorship where you have foreign investment and yet the people are still not free. Those are the two options and if you ask me which one the internal opposition in Cuba supports, the vast majority of them, I can refer you to two statements made by the internal opposition saying: ‘Hey, what we want is freedom and therefore do not lift sanctions unilaterally.’
The only thing that is required for the sanctions to go away are those three conditions.
Read the whole thing.
NYT op-ed by Roger Cohen: Cry for Me, Argentina
Argentina, however, is a perverse case of its own. It is a nation still drugged by that quixotic political concoction called Peronism; engaged in all-out war on reliable economic data; tinkering with its multilevel exchange rate; shut out from global capital markets; trampling on property rights when it wishes; obsessed with a lost little war in the Falklands (Malvinas) more than three decades ago; and persuaded that the cause of all this failure lies with speculative powers seeking to force a proud nation — in the words of its leader — “to eat soup again, but this time with a fork.”
A beautiful country, ruined.
Enrique Krauze has an interesting op-ed in the NYTimes, The Danger in Mexico’s Divided House
In the end, however, Mexico’s old model of governance was brought down not by economic liberalism but by the rise of democracy. First, in 2000, the president as monarch vanished from the scene. The legislature became a genuinely multiparty body, and the Supreme Court far more independent. Free elections were overseen by an entity independent from the government.
Still, those interest groups that had long been dependent on and controlled by the presidency did not exit the scene. On the contrary, they grew dangerously stronger, each trying to secure a place at the center of power. Three of the major reforms proposed by Peña Nieto’s government aim to limit their influence.
Read the full article.