lunes, enero 29, 2007

Inconvenient Truths

Over the weekend, I saw An Inconvenient Truth and Road to Guantanamo. The latter is about a group of young British men (boys, really) of Pakistani origins who, while travelling through Pakistan and Afghanistan post-9/11, were picked up and taken to Guantanamo. It documents their travels, capture and stay at Guantanamo, which was about two years, with no proven reason for detainment, which is the condition under which most detainees were and are held. Truth needs no explanation.

In Truth, it was said that the US beats out all other countries in terms of releasing pollutants into the air. The US is also, of course, the most lax country in the world in instituting regulations and policies on environmental issues. The good news is that many states and cities are taking the initiative in this regard, and New York City is one of them, although some days you wouldn't know it to breath the air here! But what really got me was how quickly the damage is being done. The fact that we could have longer, hotter summers in my lifetime really scares me, as does the fact that my current apartment may soon be underwater along with the whole of lower Manhattan, not to mention the thought that my kids might have to wear gas masks every time they go outside. I KNOW that Con Ed and other energy services, which are ill-equipped to handle even today's demands, are not at all going to be able to handle the future.

I had to keep telling myself that Guantanamo, while largely the truth about the boys' experiences, may have been embellished a little for effect, not that embellishment was needed. I also realize that theirs may not be the worst of the stories that have come from former Guantanamo detainees. Moreover, I know that the US has yet to corner the market on torture and that many countries do worse. I think we all know that the US government ships their terror suspects to the countries that have made torture their chief export.

I don't have the words to express how embarrassing it is for me, as an American, to be associated with the American military and government. I guess Bob Herbert was right in his editorial about how we are not guilty enough, so scratch everything I said about that. It does seem a shame that we so easily go on with our lives when people are being detained and tortured and worse at the hands of our countrymen and women, especially when those men and women run around the world talking about how they are going to set examples for other, less "democratic" folk.

And here comes the outrageous comment: almost every American president has had an attempt on his life. Most countries have coup d'etats in their histories. Why hasn't someone tried to kill Bush, and why hasn't there been some junta or something to overthrow the government? Be assured, if I had the means to do the latter, I would definitely try it. That would be worth going to prison, to save my country from this regime. But spending the rest of my life in jail for offing white trash, only to leave another in his place? No way.

jueves, enero 25, 2007

Flying Children

Just a note to say that, last night, I heard that an AirTran flight was delayed because a little 3 year old wouldn't sit down, and mommy was too squeamish to make her. Eventually, however, they were thrown off the plane.

My personal experience with flying children: on a TEN HOUR flight from Buenos Aires to New York, I had a lovely man set his child in one of the two empty seats next to me so he could lay down and sleep. This kid must have been having some of those dreams where you feel like you're falling and then you physically stop yourself, because by the time I got off that plane, I had a nice little bruise on the side of my right thigh. And don't think I didn't say something to the father, who just smiled and said "He's only two." So I sicked the flight attendants on him and that was that.

I've just read comments from parents on a blog written by someone at the Washington Post about traveling with children. One comment says something like "let he who has never been a child cast the first stone". Oh come on now. Not for nothing, but I was a well-behaved child, mostly because I knew from a very early age that I would get my little ass whooped if I played too much. This is not at all to say that I was scared of my parents. On the contrary, I had a wonderful childhood, with wonderful parents, and often dream of being three again, and sometimes even act accordingly, dare I admit. When I was a kid travelling to Guatemala, Pan Am had a direct flight from Dulles to La Aurora, a good 4 hour flight. I asked my mom last night after seeing the AirTran bit if I ever resisted and/or misbehaved on the plane. She said "No, Mariposa, you were the best baby. Adult, I'm not so sure." I am sure this is because if I started to act up, mommy would give me the stare, and I would dutifully take my seat and laugh and giggle the whole way. I bet the thought of the marimbas that used to greet us at La Aurora definitely eased any tensions I may have had. I think the worst thing I did as a kid was hide inside the clothing racks when my mom dragged me to Garfinckel's, not that mom noticed until she almost went home without me one day.

So, yeah, the point....Kids are such little brats nowadays. But it's not their fault, and for all you parents that throw up your hands and say "Oh, she's only 2" when the lovely lady in the plane-seat next to your kid complains that your little angel is kicking her, know this: IT'S YOUR FAULT. Yes, that's right, I am thirty, single and childless and offering parenting advice. Do you want to stop getting dirty looks from strangers because you can't won't make your kids shut the hell up? Find a way to make them shut up without hurting them. Let them know that there are consequences for their actions, for one thing, and let them have some ownership of the crap they pull. AND....FOLLOW THROUGH and make good on whatever threat you issue them. If you don't instill in your kids a sense of morality, decency and responsibility early on, you'll have incorrigible little imps on your hands who will only grow up and get worse and become horrible, impish adults. And the cycle will continue with your grandchildren. So, parents, save yourselves, stop being so fucking squeamish with your kids. Give them discipline and they'll thank you later. Take it from someone who thanks her mother under her breath every time she passes some crotchety asshole on the street.

To illustrate my point, here's one from Overheard in New York:
Kid yelling: What are we doing after dinner? [Parents ignore him] What are we doing after dinner?!
Mom, calmly: Stop yelling, or I'll have to kill you.

--10th St, between Broadway & University

Some suggestions for NYC Nightlife

First, read this article about a bar in the East Village called Heathers, which is a small after-hours space that doubles as an art gallery. On weekends, there is even a brunch that doubles as an art auction. Yet, some neighbors with nothing better to do, armed with their $1100 sound meter, anxiously call 311 (NYC complaint line) to whine whenever the level on said meter goes up (check out their picture in the article and you'll see of what I preach). The fact that the owner of Heathers is a cute little momma from Rockville, MD (my old hood, by extension) is not what influences my opinion. In fact, I hate the East Village with a passion and never go there unless I have a dinner date at Momofuku Noodle Bar, my favorite, drinks at the Telephone Bar or Dojo's on St. Marks. The reason: hipsters. I know most of them have up and gone to Williamsburg, but still. And these little boutiques that offer great-looking merchandise, expensive as hell though it is, until you realize that you will have to lose your lunch for the next week to get into anything south of Houston. What does influence my opinion in this particular case is that the purpose of Heathers is to revive the art scene of the early eighties, which is a very worthy cause. I also like the idea of there being a nice, warm, cozy spot in which to gather. Honestly, I have yet to go there, but I will soon, as I imagine it is the kind of spot where a patron will not be judged unkindly because their outfit is not black.

My first suggestion is directed at the neighbors, particularly the ones I mentioned, armed with their little sound meter. Sirs, you live in a neighborhood chock full of bars and restaurants and clubs. No one ever said New York City was "a nice place to live". It's rough and you have to put up with all kinds of shit you wouldn't tolerate anywhere else. A lot of people in NYC live near rattling subways, on busy main streets and avenues, near congested bridges, etc. I am also surprised that after paying East Village rents you still have $1100 left over to spend on a sound meter. My guess is that you are the same guys who, instead of doing a full days work, sit on milk crates in front of the corner bodega and eat Bear Claws all day, getting your money from the State one way or another.

My second suggestion is to those who want a quieter, more sane atmosphere for your watering hole, or what have you: do not admit Meatheads. Meatheads are extraordinarily stupid men, usually Bridge and Tunnel and sometimes with Jersey or Staten Island accents, who like to "throw their weight around" a lot and just generally be obnoxious. This would also make your women patrons feel much safer and improve the quality of those they decide to take home for the evening (because some girls need help making decisions). Although this rule, if followed, might put most Murray Hill bars out of business (sorry, Swandad), it wouldn't be much of a loss, trust me. The Meatheads will find other spots closer to home and other women to threaten.

Third suggestion: Don't let people drink until they vomit all over the bar. Prevention, people. Learn, live, love.

Fourth suggestion: For the love of Pete, let people smoke in bars! That way, they won't congregate outside and yell and scream and whatnot. You realize that noise on the streets was never that big of a problem until the City instituted the smoking ban in bars and kicked everybody to the curb.

Really, it's not like NYC is some old school Havana, with gambling and high-class hookers and whatnot (OK, it is, but only a little). But it's not meant to become an old-folks home either. New Yorkers love the status of their city as the cosmopolitan center of the universe. This means that the nightlife the city is famous for must be kept in tact. If you can't take the heat, get out of the fucking kitchen!

PS - I just had to include this little anecdote from Overheard in New York:

Young woman running up platform, slamming into tourist lady: Damn fucking tourists! Get the fuck out of my way!
Tourist lady: Excuse me, what?
Young woman: Don't be 'what'-ing me. I just gave you a New-fucking-York experience. You should be thanking me.

--Subway station, 42nd St

miércoles, enero 24, 2007

The Fool

The Fool is the tarot card Wonkette put on their site to describe you-know-who. Why?
Well, the why's are obvious, in this case. But today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, headed up by Joe Biden of Delaware ("Hi....I'm in Delaware"), basically told Bush to go to hell. In their words, the escalation of troops was "not in the national interest."

On another note, the New York Times has put up on their site a "state of the Union in Words" thing-um-a-bob where you can see how many times Bush uttered a particular word in the State of the Union speech last night. Oh goodie! Now I can play Wonkette's SOTU drinking game even though I didn't watch the show. Note here that "Iraq/Iraqis" was uttered way more than "hope", "freedom", "social security", "insurance" and "economy" combined. "Balanced budget" was not even mentioned at all. How sad.

martes, enero 23, 2007

This time it's in North Korea

Check this article from the Washington Times about the latest UN scandal. UNDP runs various projects in North Korea, and people are saying that Kim Jong Il is benefiting from it all. Fox News (which is only kinda sorta news) is screaming about how US taxpayers unknowingly facilitated N. K's nuke test last September. Be glad I didn't link the Heritage Foundation article, or shall I say, "research paper", about how the US should rush in and fix everything. It's really vomit-worthy. Funny...if the US government really wants the UN out of its hair, why do they insist that the UN is their problem to solve?

I won't split hairs and talk about how self-righteous every one's being, accusing the UN of being corrupt by definition, and how pots are constantly calling kettles black. I do agree, very much so, that the UN is in dire need of reforms, and increasing oversight of its projects is foremost. I often wonder about this place and some of the smarminess that exists here, although I still think that, generally, the UN does outstanding work (and that's not just because I work here), or it desperately, desperately wants to. It's a huge organization with many different agencies and offices and a lot on its collective plate, and the issues are not easily dealt with, as if the UN could sweep in and solve it all in a couple of days, like everyone thinks it can. Regarding the scandals, one must consider that, given the UN's size and scope, it really is hard to keep up with a couple of corrupt Cypriots, or wherever the corrupters hail from this time around.

Also check out this response to Wall Street Journal articles about UNDP's activities in North Korea from the Under-Secretary Geenral of the agency. It may also shed some light on the fact that the UN does not and cannot operate without the support of member States. More often than not, this includes the United States. Let us consider this in light of all the US's bellyaching.

viernes, enero 19, 2007

Parking Diplomats

One of my very faithful readers asked me to give "an insider's" opinion on the Diplomatic parking issue. All sorts of grumbles and gripes have surfaced, as well as whole research papers on "the Culture of Corruption", of which the parking issue is but one manifestation. First of all, check out the following stats, taken from the World Bank PSD blog:

A certain amount of corruption is grounded in culture and immune to carrots and sticks.

Scandinavian countries, which perennially rank among the least corrupt in the corruption index, had the fewest unpaid tickets. There were just 12 from the 66 diplomats from Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Almost all of these tickets went to one bad Finn.

Chad and Bangladesh, at the bottom of the corruption index, were among the worst scofflaws. They shirked 1,243 and 1,319 tickets, respectively, in spite of the fact that their UN missions were many times smaller than those of the Scandinavians.

But the above facts should be balanced with this, part of an article from CNN:

"After two hours, I come back to find a ticket on my car and another diplomatic car, but not on a nondiplomatic car," said Emilia Castro de Barish, the U.N. delegate from Costa Rica.

Let's consider that the City is taking unofficial revenge for this drama. A host of New Yorkers, liberal as they claim to be, want to see the UN leave New York. In other words, they are all for its existence, but not in their back yard, which sounds quite familiar, given that some who clamor for solar and wind power then don't want to have the solar panels or the windmills installed anywhere near their houses. Let us also consider the possibility that if/when the UN goes, a little bit of NYC's rep as the cosmopolitan center of the universe might go with it, seeing as the UN has been in and around NYC since its beginnings in 1947. In my opinion, the UN should stay in NYC, but if it does go, I'm certainly not going with it. I'm staying right here. Now if another RepubliCON usurps the presidency, that's another story.

I heard on NY1 that the Egyptians are among the worst offenders, or "scofflaws", as they say, and the Russians are the worst. Those Russians have this weird devil-may-care kind of mentality. They smoke on the conference room floor of the UN building and they have this non-chalant thing, like they take bong hits and drink vodka all day. And then all of a sudden we hear of one of them banging a shoe on his table at the General Assembly (I'm not necessarily talking about Kruschev, another Russian did that just recently). And let me just mention here, I looooove hearing them speak. They could be talking about their bouts with diarrhea and it still sounds romantic! I'm surprised that diplomats from the poorer African and Asian countries can afford to have fleets of diplomatic cars. I take comfort in the fact that most Latin American mission personnel take the subway/commuter train, I see more than a few every morning, so this parking ticket issue ain't our fault.

Of course these missions should pay up. After all, diplomats get the big bucks, especially when compared to workers in their own countries. Plus, they have all kinds of access to government money. I know the actual UN building is considered international territory, as are the missions (each one is apparently considered national territory, despite the fact that they are located in and are property of the City). That doesn't mean that their cars are also international territory. I realize diplomats are supposed to have all sorts of immunities, but the fact that they live here must be considered, and as they are adults, or reasonable facsimiles thereof, they should show more respect for their host city. In any case, I'm sure this problem exists everywhere there are diplomats, especially in DC, and as always, the UN is singled out simply because it is the UN and it is everyone's favorite scapegoat. That's not to say that the City should let the tickets slide. Giuliani, in his day, was busy showing us just how big his dick was and saying "I'm not a mayor who is easily threatened," and if the UN wanted to leave because of parking tickets (just a stupid thing to even think), he could easily come up with other uses for the land. But Bloomberg is a lap dog who likes to run around with a big stick in his mouth, playing fetch with Washington and barking tough, so I'm anxious to see if he does anything at all, which he most probably will not unless Bush tells him to.

jueves, enero 18, 2007

The UN, Marriage and Iraq - We are not upset enough

The new UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon of South Korea, was in Washington over the past couple of days to meet with Bush. The SG asked for the US's support in the UN's peacekeeping operations. I promise to swallow 5 raw egg yolks while someone sticks flaming bamboo under my fingernails if that ever happens while Bush is in office. The NYT article says that the US is the biggest contributor to UN peacekeeping funds. If you ask around, most people, including both liberal and conservative media outlets, will say the US is the leading contributor to the UN in general, as well as its agencies. According to my father, who used to work as a Project Manager for the UN Pan American Health Organization, we need to think in terms of per capita contributions, and in that sense, the Nordic countries, Norway in particular, beat out the US by far. For one, Norway is one of the leading contributors to the UN Peacebuilding Fund, followed by Sweden and Denmark, while the US has yet to pledge anything at all, not even a paperclip. Let us also consider the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) fiasco a few years back, in which the US and newly elected Bush Co. decided to halt funding to the agency due to agency's family planning programs in China. Bush was convinced they were preaching abortion, when of course they were not, because it was absolutely not feasible to preach abortion in the countryside where people hardly have access to regular doctors. The US is almost always an obstacle to the UN's progress in so many ways, it is almost impossible to count. They didn't even want to form the Peacebuilding Commission (where I work now), even though my old boss, who was at the US mission to the UN when the Commission was formed, took full credit on behalf of the US for creating it.

There is an editorial in today's NYT (Times Select, so I can't link...sorry) about the way that some people "revere it too highly. They put it on a pedestal, or as Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins puts it, they regard marriage not as the foundation of adult life, but as the capstone." As for me, marriage is neither "the foundation of adult life", nor is it "the capstone". I know that marriage will not make or break me. I do plan on it, for now at least, because for me it is a fulfillment of one of my purposes, which is to give somebody unconditional love and support and to get it back from that person. I realize that I don't have to get married to do this, but it would be nice, and I'd like to have a proper family situation for my kids. But even with a husband, that is a huge gamble. Perhaps tradition influences me in this regard. But I've seen so many reasons NOT to get married: the first is my own parents. There is a huge difference between two people being the best of friends and admiring each other for and being a married couple. They don't necessarily translate. Sometimes it happens that before you marry someone, you get along great and laugh and have a great time, although he is grumpy most times and can be a bit of a bore. Then 20 years down the line, you are still married, and and you realize his problem got worse as he got older and now he is always grumpy and virtually lacks a pulse. Then you start to rationalize the union by saying, "but he's such a good man," while acknowledging that you are rotting inside from lack of activity and from having to take responsibility for a man that hesitates to do it for himself. She has to cater to his wants, but he doesn't have to and will not go out of his way for her. I also don't like the concept of having to hide the things you bought on your latest shopping spree because hubby will get mad. I'm not so into the "fearing the husband" thing. I agree that a couple needs to compromise in most regards including finances, but enough is enough. I don't want to have to "report" to anyone I don't work for. I've seen couples where one will by a house while the spouse is out of town and others where one has to be away from the spouse a certain amount of days during the week in order to tolerate being married to her. None of these are idyllic situations to me, so I understand the hunt will be long and arduous, and in the end, I may end up getting married at 65 or not at all. I think what bothers me more is how my family will react if I don't marry. I wouldn't have the time to be miserable about that, and I don't understand anyone who would, because there are so many other things with which to be concerned. But whatever happens, I'm not going to get all Charlotte-from-Sex-and-the-City about it and make my friends set me up and leave them 50 nasty messages on their answering machines when they do not fulfill their promise. But I always keep in mind that Charlotte ended up marrying a chubby, Jewish (she was Episcopalian) divorce lawyer who she even converted for, so that goes to show that the impossible can quickly become possible (even quicker if you exist in a sitcom).

There is another op-ed in the NYT by Bob Herbert (which I cannot link either), who is getting on my nerves lately. In it, he cites Martin Luther King Jr.'s assertion that “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it." I absolutely agree with that. Herbert states that too many people are more concerned with getting MLK day off work than with the lessons he was trying to teach. I absolutely agree with that too. There are too many ignorant idiots running around trying to get holidays off work without understanding what those holidays mean. But the main theme of Herbert's column is that Americans are not outraged enough over Iraq and other issues, such as New Orleans. It is easy for those whose job it is to sit in front of the computer and knock out two weekly op-eds to criticize people for different things. It's easy for me, even though it is not my job, but at least I only criticize people who deserve it. I think there are many, especially in NYC, who would be outraged with Herbert. While it is true that there has not been as much protest over Iraq as there was over Vietnam, there has been considerable protest, in the streets, at home, on blogs and websites, in the news, even from the government itself. There was protesting against the Iraq war before the invasion/occupation even started. There was protesting against Bush the minute he usurped the presidency. There was protest about Bushco's lack of movement when Katrina happened and in its aftermath. It needs to be considered that we are living in different times and people have different mindsets. The government is different, and before the war even started it was widely known that any protest would fall on deaf ears and the government would go ahead with their plans anyway, just as they did even after most of their rationale was found to be a lie. Revolution is not so present in people's minds as it used to be, and maybe Herbert would have a point if he said that people, for the most part, are more resigned these days. But there's a lot of outrage to be witnessed, and I think Herbert is retreating into a world of his own lately. Plus, I don't think he's leaving his desk to do anything but go home at the end of the day.

miércoles, enero 17, 2007

From the midst of dust and drilling

Today (and probably tomorrow as well), I have to work through dust, drilling, walkie talkies and steel beams dropped carelessly by UN construction guys, not to mention a lot of unnecessary grunts and belches, right in my ear. Not only that, but the guys seem to think that our desks are extensions of their offices and use the phones, have very loud conversations and leave their things on our desks. Why do I have to go through this? For two reasons that I've touched on already: Firstly, UN stinginess - They no longer want to pay overtime to their workers, meaning construction doesn't happen on the weekends or at night. It is done during the workday. At least the Professionals (I hate calling them that, because most of them are anything but professional, so they will heretofore be referred to as "bullshitters". I very humbly think that the people who continually have to clean up Professional messes are the REAL Professionals) have their doors to close. But the ones in our office are not doing that, perhaps in a show of solidarity, which is mighty nice of them. Second, it is the bullshitters who have not even come on board yet who have demanded complete offices. One guy who is technically a part of our office is holding onto his old room because "it is much bigger" than any office we could offer him on our floor, and he is at the Director level and should not have to cram himself into a tiny space, blah, blah, blah. Everywhere else I have worked, you just go in and sit wherever they tell you and only the BIG boss gets the nice digs, not the guy who is only sort of high up the totem pole. It is only at the UN that you can accept or reject a contract to work based solely on accommodations or lack thereof. Let us keep in mind that one office costs around $20,000 to build. So there are $40,000 being spent right next to me, and I have no part in it. At least these construction guys aren't showing their ass-cracks.

The news is out that Sen. Barack Obama has formed a presidential exploratory committee. Many think that this means he will definitely run, and those people are already making bets as to who will win the nomination: Barack or Hillary. Conservatives are already discussing which of them has the least experience. I think experience is valuable, but long-range, strategic planning, surrounding oneself with the necessary expertise and ideas, not to mention compassion and an excellent understanding of the principles on which this country was built coupled with the intention to keep those principles in tact are much more important than knowing "where the bodies are buried". I believe that a lot of people back in the day were saying the same things about JFK, that he was inexperienced, that he was riding on daddy's coat-tails (if they only knew what was to come!), etc. And he beat the crap out of Nixon and won anyway, and went down in American history as one of our best presidents, while Nixon went down in history as a criminal, Ford's pardon notwithstanding. Funny how it's always Republiconservatives who end up with bad reputations that last until after they die.

If Barack does run, I will be among the first to volunteer to work on his campaign. I don't care if I have to wake up early on a Saturday and lick stamps until my tongue turns blue. I've never felt so strongly about a candidate, and in such a positive, almost dreamy kind of way. Not even my hatred of Bush is so strong, although it would seem so because I am so loud about it. But remember, Shakespeare (and my dad) said "speak low, if you speak love." I think that's a good enough explanation.

martes, enero 16, 2007


Yesterday was Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday (observed). I was summoned to work, as were the rest of the UN staff, because it is not considered a UN holiday. This is not a campaign to get the day off so I can sleep late. I just wanted to point out, in case you didn't hear me before, that the UN's problems are so deep-seated, they even extend to the schedule of holidays around these parts.

First of all, MLK, one of history's foremost leaders in promoting civil and human rights, is not honored. Not only did we not get the holiday, there were no activities, no presentations, no vigils, no nothing to commemorate the day, even though the UN consistently preaches civil and human rights. Needless to say (although I'm saying it now), these cannot be promoted in such a half-assed way. Let me give you an even more aggravating example of the UN's fault in this particular area: in my old office, the Director will not speak to the human rights advisor, because the advisor had the nerve to make some suggestions, and then, um, emphasize them, because the Director seemed a bit reluctant to implement the suggestions, or so I heard. Rather than take human rights into consideration, since one of the resolutions that mandates that office is a human rights resolution, the Director got his knickers in a bunch because the advisor had not shown enough respect. That's the other thing about the UN that may one day help to bring it down: the "professional" category staff (aka, those with a masters in bullshit) are so busy making sure they have windows in their offices, slaves to arrange their desks for them and that they never have to get their hands dirty, they almost forget that they actually have a job to do. Mo' money, mo' complaining. Cry me a river. As for the "support staff", we are relegated to dark cubicles where we do not have access to the fundamental human rights of quasi-fresh air and daylight. I know this is an omnipresent situation, and I keep trying to get the General Assembly to pass a resolution on that, but they just won't listen.

Back to the holiday issue....We are having a President's day this year. In past years, the Sundance channel has shown anti-Bush documentaries, which is a great way to commemorate the day. You know, showing what a president ought NOT to do. Despite this, why in hell do we celebrate a couple of dead American presidents and not MLK? Because whatever the US mission wants, it has to get, and they're not big on human rights and MLK either.

Eid is meant to mark the beginning and end of Ramadan. I can respect this, as they are days of religious significance, and I will welcome the day off so I can go to the DMV and wait all day to have my ID renewed (and a new photo taken, thank the Lord). In terms of religious holidays, why is it that we only have Catholic and Muslim holidays off? What about the Jewish high holidays? In the interest of equality among races, religions and creeds, another principle the UN injects into everything it does, or says it will do, we should at least rotate religions yearly. But no. Every year, we can count on the Eid's and Good Friday, or at least one Eid and a President's Day.

But there is one day out of the year I am so glad the UN does not consider a holiday: Columbus Day. And if you haven't read far back enough in my posts to know why I hate that day, I'd be more than happy to repeat myself. Why should I observe a holiday which falls around the time some Italian guy turned his back on his country and went to work for Spain made a right at the Canary Islands instead of a left and "discovered" an already populated island, thereby kicking off decades of mass murder and conquest? Like I always say, the conquest was the decimation of a culture by a group of heathens done for no other reason than that culture far surpassed their own. Oh, but they gave us the Spanish language, people say. How big of them. I would be just as happy speaking Nahuatl or Tzutujil Maya.

jueves, enero 11, 2007

A Man Makes a Plan

First of all, happy new year to you all! Hope your holidays/breaks from work were good. As for me, I mostly relaxed with the parents, got my hair done, ate 3 Christmas dinners and graduated from my mom's cooking school. And I realized that American Airlines suck, and if ever you are travelling from New York City to a domestic location, do not do it out of or into JFK. That place is a mess. Not only are there horrid delays, but once you do get to land, the plane has to tour the airport and over a highway to get to the gate, then you have to walk about a mile to get your luggage. I'm going back to the train thing. The plane is no longer the cheaper or faster option for travel to DC.

Last night, Bush made a little speech, in which he finally admitted that he was/is accountable for any mistake made in Iraq. Of course, he had no idea what it was he was taking the blame for, which pretty much cancelled out the whole thing. But the glory of his revelation was cut short when he unveiled his new plan for the war: send over 21,500 more troops. With what money? Ours, natch. What do you do when you make a wrong turn? Gun it, so that it will be even harder to find your way back. Eighty per cent of the violence in Iraq goes on in Baghdad, so says Bush. The solution is to secure Baghdad (which begs the question, what in the hell did we shell out all that money last time around for anyway?). And we'll be footing the bill for that too, in terms of both cash and humans.

But there's this new obstacle: the Democrats. Bush will have to try and get his plan past Rangel and Company in Ways and Means. I read a New York magazine article about him last night, and he doesn't seem like the forgiving pushover type to me. I think we should be in for a good fight.