Archive for the ‘NYT’ Category

The NYT’s modern man & his melon baller UPDATED

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

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.

Lest your mind wander to impure thoughts, here is a melon baller, which, if you must-have, I’d appreciate you get through this link so I get a small commission.

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 Modern Man” Fisked…. By Hand

Two books that don’t exist for the NYT

Friday, July 10th, 2015

Sins of omission: Two books that don’t exist for the NYT.

Read my article here.

Today’s “WTH moment” courtesy of the NYT

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

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,

“The Marvel”

We may call it a “What The Hey moment”; Bill Sanderson was more direct,

Other “WTH moments”:
Today’s “WTH Moment” brought to you by Jorge Ramos

Today’s WTH moment: Venezuelan vet arrested for smuggling heroin in puppies UPDATED


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.”

Cuba: Londoño meets with dissidents

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

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.

(h/t Babalu)

Cuba: Mario Díaz-Balart explains to the dense why Cuban oppression is bad

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

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.

Argentina: The more things change . . .

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

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.

Mexico: A house divided

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

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.

Mexico: Enrique Krauze on oil reform

Sunday, November 3rd, 2013


Mexican historian Enrique Krauze has a must-read op-ed in the NY Times,
Mexico’s Theology of Oil

Over the next few weeks, the Mexican Congress is likely to become a kind of theological council to discuss the so-called Energy Reform proposal put forward by President Enrique Peña Nieto. The measure would modify Articles 27 and 28 of the Constitution and allow contracts between the Mexican government and private companies to share profits from the extraction of oil and gas throughout the country as well as deep-water sites in the Gulf of Mexico. It would also open the door to free competition along the whole chain of the industry: refining, transport, storage, distribution and basic petrochemicals.

The historical significance of this proposal cannot be understated. In 1938, the Mexican oil industry was nationalized, and in 1960, a constitutional change assigned full control of the industry to Pemex, a state monopoly.

Krauze asks, “Why can’t Mexico, like Brazil or Norway, develop its publicly owned oil company into an enterprise that can successfully benefit from association or competition with private companies?”

He lists three reasons:

  • The controversial record of privatization in Mexico,
  • nationalism,
  • and a seldom-mentioned, but perhaps most powerful reason of all,
  • the fear that increased oil revenue will simply raise the level of corruption to the point reached during Mexico’s last oil boom, which began in the late 1970s and led to a traumatic experience for the Mexican people.

Read the full article here.

September 11: In memory of Joe Angelini, Jr.

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

This post honors three heroes of September 11, 2001: a father and two sons. Two died, one survived.

May they never be forgotten.

Project 2996

Joseph Angelini Jr., age 38 of Lindenhurst, NY, died heroically on September 11, 2001 in the World Trade Center terrorist attack. He was a New York firefighter with Ladder Co. 4

Joseph Angelini Jr.
A Firefighter Passionate About Family, Gardening

October 22, 2001

Joseph Angelini Jr. may have lived for the New York City Fire Department, but he didn’t hang around when his tour ended.

“Gotta get home to the kids,” he’d tell the guys in Manhattan’s Ladder Co. 4 before heading to the 6:33 p.m. train to Lindenhurst.

Angelini’s wife, Donna, has scheduled a memorial service for today to help 7-year-old Jennifer, 5-year-old Jacqueline and 3-year-old Joseph Angelini III to finally understand that he won’t be coming home anymore.

“My son asks everyone he sees in uniform, ‘Did you find my daddy, did you find my daddy?’” Donna Angelini said Friday.

The seven-year department veteran followed in the footsteps of his father, Joseph Angelini Sr., 63, who was the senior member of Brooklyn’s Rescue Co. 1 and also perished in the World Trade Center attacks.

The younger Angelini, 38, was assigned to a house that protects New York’s theater district. Its motto: “Never miss a performance.”

But at home, he was a cook, craftsman and avid gardener who grew pumpkins, zucchini, eggplants and hot peppers and filled the house with the smells of pizza and focaccia.

“He was the air in my lungs, and now that air is taken away from me,” Donna Angelini said. “I keep waiting for him to come off a 24 [hour shift] and come through the door and say, ‘You wouldn’t believe what happened to me today.’”

Angelini also is survived by his mother, Anne, a grandmother, Mary, sister Annmarie Bianco and brother, Michael, all of Lindenhurst; sister Mary Angelini of Washington D.C.; and by seven nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held today at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church in Lindenhurst.
– Elizabeth Moore (Newsday) profile of Joe Jr.

Living Tribute to Joseph Angelini, Jr.

Joe’s father, Joe Sr. also died that day:
The Veteran and His Son

Joseph J. Angelini Sr. and his son, Joseph Jr., were firefighters, and neither survived the twin towers’ collapse. “If he had lived and his son had died, I don’t think he would have survived,” said Alfred Benjamin, a firefighter at Rescue Company 1 in Manhattan who was partnered with Mr. Angelini for the last six months.

The elder Mr. Angelini, 63, was the most veteran firefighter in the city, with 40 years on the job. He was tough and “rode the back step” like everyone else. His 38-year-old son, who worked on Ladder Company 4 on 48th Street, was on the job for seven years.

“If you mentioned retirement to Joey, it was like punching him,” Mr. Benjamin said. Joseph Jr. was proud of his father’s reputation and tried to copy him any way he could, said Joseph Jr.’s wife, Donna.

And they never gave up their tools. “Think about climbing 20 stories with bunker gear, ropes, hooks, halogens and other different types of tools and somebody wants to borrow a tool — no way,” Mr. Benjamin said. “You ask them what they need done and you do it for them. You carried that tool all the way up there, so you’re going to use it. If they thought they were going to need a tool, they should have carried it up. Joey Sr. always said carry your own weight. He always carried his.”

Joseph Jr. applied to the department 11 years ago. He got called seven years ago. “It was the proudest day for my father-in-law. It was a great opportunity,” said Donna Angelini. “His father was a firefighter and he wanted to be one, too.”

Mr. Angelini, who had four children, taught Joseph Jr. carpentry. Often they worked on projects together, including a rocking horse. Joseph Jr., who had three children, had started building a dollhouse for one of his daughters. Unfinished, it is sitting on his workbench.

Joseph Angelini, Sr.

Mychal Judge

A brother, Firefighter Michael Angelini, was there as well, but, in a move that probably saved his life, left when asked to help carry out the body of the Rev. Mychal Judge, the fire department’s chaplain.

From Newsday:

Between Funeral and ‘Pile’

September 21, 2001

Michael’s choice: remain with his mother, Anne, in Lindenhurst and support his family during the wake, today, and the funeral, tomorrow, for his father, New York firefighter Joey Angelini, 63; or, return to The Pile to continue searching for his missing brother, New York firefighter Joey Angelini Jr., 38.

Michael, 33, knew yesterday that his mother and Joey Jr.’s wife, Donna, his two sisters and his nieces and nephews needed him, needed a strong, grown, male Angelini nearby, perhaps as much or more than he needed to be nearer his brother. “It’s hard to figure out what’s the right place to be in,” he said, already having decided to stay with the family. “I want so much to go back there.”

Michael works for the Fire Patrol of New York, which operates under the New York Board of Underwriters, protecting the interests of insurers during and in the aftermath of commercial property fires. Wearing the same firefighting gear, except for the distinctive red helmet that denotes Fire Patrol, he responded to the World Trade Center disaster last Tuesday morning, as did his father, a 40-year FDNY veteran assigned to Rescue 1, and his brother, of Ladder Co. 4 in the Theater District. “We were all in the same area, and none of us knew it,” he said.

In the lobby of one of the stricken towers, a fire supervisor suddenly ordered him out of the building. They passed firefighters who had just encountered the body of department chaplain Father Mychal Judge. Michael helped carry Judge away. “… but then my officer grabbed me and said, ‘Let’s go!’” he said. “We ended up a block or two north on West Murray Street.”

Michael entertained a slender hope that his brother might have finished his tour early and gone home. He suspected otherwise, and he learned later that afternoon that Joey had done what his father would have done and what so many other firefighters did who were supposed to be ending their tours at 9 a.m. They went to work.

Once a jokester and a partygoer, Joey Jr. had undergone personality changes increasingly noticeable to Michael during the past seven years, since he had joined the department and Donna gave birth to the first of their three children, Jennifer. He had worked previously as an electrician with the Transit Authority. “I didn’t want him to leave Transit,” said his mother, “because they were about to make him a foreman. But, for some reason, he switched over to the fire department.”

“Since then,” Michael said, “I saw him taking on more and more of my father’s traits. Before, we used to go out a lot, he and I. He was silly, funny. Now, getting him to go out was like pulling teeth. I tell old stories to guys he worked with, and they’ll look at me like I’m talking about somebody they don’t know. He had become so, like, straight. He just wanted to be with his family. He was showing more and more of that integrity, that seriousness, like my father.

“Three things were important to my father: his family, the church and the department, and I’m not sure in what order. My father was honest to a fault, religious. I remember walking back from the store with him. I was only little. He realized that the counter girl had given him 30 cents too much in change, and we had to walk all the way back. I mean, it was almost ridiculous. Joey was becoming more like that. It was good to watch, but it’s hard to live up to.”

The elder Angelini was in special operations that morning, and Michael hoped he too might have been sent elsewhere, but he really knew better. His father was legendary in the department for loving the work, for loving “to get dirty,” for loving “making a grab [rescuing somebody],” for routinely walking out of a mostly extinguished inferno and lighting a cigarette while younger firefighters lay sprawled around him, exhausted.

Earlier this year, at a Holy Name Society communion breakfast tribute for his 40th anniversary as a firefighter, the short, wiry, gray-haired Angelini resisted efforts by his fellow firefighters to get him to wear more of his medals. “They convinced him to put on maybe a third of them,” Michael said. “Then he said, ‘Stop. I’m tired of pinning these on.’

“He kept them in the back of a drawer, in a box,” Michael said. “He didn’t tell us about half of them. He didn’t talk about what he did. You would be eating dinner across from him and notice that he looked dif- ferent, like, strange, and then you would realize that his face was all red, and his eyebrows were completely gone, and his hairline had receded. He was burned. You would say, ‘What happened to you?’ And he would say, ‘Aw, something flashed over me.’

“At the site, all week, guys were joking about him finding a pocket and eventually walking out. They said to me, ‘He was probably buried in a void, and as soon as he runs out of cigarettes he’s gonna come walking out.’”

Rescue workers found the body of Joey Angelini on Monday. He had been listed as missing since the day after the attack. Joey Jr. still is missing. After tomorrow’s funeral Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst, Michael probably will return to the site.
–Ed Lowe (Newsday Columnist)

The Veteran and His Son in Portraits of Grief


Cuba: Civility, schmivility

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

The NYTimes has an opinion article, For Cuba, a Harsh Self-Assessment that deplores the decline in “gentility and respect”, echoing Raul Castro’s “get off my lawn” speech of two weeks ago. The article doesn’t question Raul’s premise,

“I have the bitter sensation that we are a society that is ever better educated, but not necessarily more enlightened,” Mr. Castro said.

Ever better educated? You mean like the doctors sent to Brazil and the Jamaican nurses, which were rejected because they don’t meet basic job requirements?

All through the article, the message is that the golden age of Communism brought free healthcare and education back when “a state salary was enough to live on without needing to pilfer.” Of course, Fidel Castro himself repeated incessantly that under him, Cubans are “the most cultured people in the world,” even the prostitutes, while redoing the excellent, definitive Don Quijote de la Mancha 4th Centenary edition by the Real Academia Española. Fidel had Hugo Chavez abridge it, remove the essay “Una novela para el siglo XXI” by long-time foe Mario Vargas Llosa, and replaced that essay with a short preface by José Saramago, a much friendlier Communist. The Communist regime can’t have “the most cultured people in the world” exposed to an essay which essence is that Don Quijote’s a free men’s novel.

Blame the Americans? Oh yeah,

Cuba sets great store by its cultural prestige. After the 1959 revolution, the government set out to purge the decadence that made Havana a magnet for Americans, among others. The state started a national literacy campaign, offered free education to all and established rigorous sports, ballet and music programs.

Because, you know, the Americans are the ones attracted to the decadence. Unlike, of course, the Canadian and Spanish pervs who go today to Havana for the sex trade.

The article posts a photo of shirtless men slaughtering a pig on a sidewalk, under the most unsanitary conditions,

with the caption (emphasis added)

A pig being slaughtered in a tourist area of old Havana is seen as a sign of a loss of civility.

when in fact it is emblematic of the decay of Cuban culture under Communism. Carlos Erie, who lived in Cuba and remembers, lets it rip,

Proof positive of the ignorance and prejudice that govern the thinking of those who write and publish such poison is evident in the photo above. The caption under the photo is the one used by the NYT. Notice, please, that slaughtering a pig on the street is merely “seen” as a “sign” of loss of civility. It’s not really a loss, but is merely “seen” as such by some Cubans. And, notice, that the act itself is not “seen” as a loss of civility, but as a mere “sign” — which means, of course, that it’s not just the behavior that is open to interpretation, but also the act of passing judgment on it. Notice, too, that the slaughtering is described as taking place in a “tourist” area of Old Havana. One must assume that it would be perfectly alright in some other area where tourists don’t dare to go, and that this is something Cubans have been doing for centuries in their own benighted slums. It is also assumed that this is somehow normal for Cubans: to go shirtless in “tourist” areas. Savages.

The Times will never disappoint you . . . if all you expect them to do is echo Raul’s propaganda.