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Six Weeks of Communists, Libertarians, Capitalists and Socialists

I’ll avoid the conclusions; they are for you to reach. I’ll just present the observations. Over a period of six weeks, I spent my time in roughly equal parts in Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Cuba proudly proclaims itself a communist state. For fifty years, it has delighted in being the booger on the lapel of Uncle Sam’s fine and festive coat. Billboards all across the island remind Cubans of their communist and socialist heritage and strength.

The Dominican Republic appears to be as libertarian as any state in our hemisphere. Government regulation is minimal. The regulation that does exist doesn’t seem to be strictly enforced unless it serves to protect the individual rights of those in power. The common man in the D.R. has individual freedom whether he likes it or not.

Puerto Rico is a “possession” of the United States and shares our capitalistic ethos, system of government and economic structure (whether the people want it or not). It is exactly as it is in any other part of the United States except that the climate and geography are completely different, the history and heritage bear little similarity the rest of the U.S., its culture, music, dance, food, etc. are Latin, it is more racially homogenous and the people speak a different language. Other than that, it’s Ames, Iowa all over again.

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Babs’ Quote of the Day – 2010.02.24

Joe the Plumber is pissed at John McCain for using Joe as a poster child to reach Middle Americans during McCain’s 2008 Presidential bid. Hmmm. And this is a surprise, Joe? To what do you owe this epiphany? That you’re only now realizing you were Team McCain-Palin’s ticket to connecting with those feeling disenfranchised, disillusioned, and disconnected speaks of a remarkable talent for self-deception. One can assume that life under a microscope while sitting in a hot seat of political intrigue, missteps and backbiting was not as rewarding as, say, a reality TV series. Your fifteen minutes of fame went down the drain with nothing to show for your trouble. How convenient to blame McCain for “really screwing up” your life. Climb down from the cross. Someone could use the wood.

Palin Comparison

Let me eliminate the guesswork right at the outset. I was not a big fan of Sarah Palin in the 2008 election. John McCain lost the election the day he picked her as his running mate. I thought George the Younger was deductively challenged, but I thought he was a fourth order differential equation compared to Sarah. I was convinced that when Sarah accepted the challenge of pondering life’s great questions, she contemplated things like “How do you get a feather off of a finger coated with honey?” I figured you could keep her busy for hours with a three piece jigsaw puzzle. She was a cutie indeed, but her mental plumbing was never designed to handle the big flush.

Now, I’ve turned my back on Sarah’s past foibles much like the American electorate did in 2008. But if I’m to remain true to my own principles of “fair and balanced” views (apologies to Fox for using its expression, but as long as they weren’t using it, I thought I could borrow it for this column), I need to objectively consider the other side. And who better to get the other side from than Sarah herself? Alright, I’ll stop beating around the bush and get to the embarrassing truth. I bought her book, Going Rogue by Sarah Palin or should I say by Lynn Vincent, Sarah’s ghost writer. I actually paid money for it. I have directly contributed to her mental and moral delinquency by paying for the damn book. I’m hanging my head. I have removed the cover jacket for fear someone will see me reading it and assume I’m in the same intellectual camp

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Finally, Palin Gets It Right

Sarah Palin, the comic figurehead of the failed Presidential campaign of John McCain, has resigned as Governor of Alaska.  Figurehead may not be the best choice of words.  A “figurehead” is that carved wooden woman that graced the bows of the old sailing ships.  If we’re to stick with the sailing metaphor, she should probably be described as McCain’s anchor.

Nonetheless, I listened as Sarah made her announcement Friday.  She said she wasn’t a quitter.  Who, but Sarah Palin could make such a statement to kick off a speech in which she was announcing she was quitting.  If you voted for McCain/Palin, if you even considered casting your vote for McCain/Palin and you understand that she could have been one missed heartbeat away from the Oval Office and this doesn’t scare the holy hell out of you, you’re anchor is dragging.

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Not All Republicans are Idiots

I voted Republican for most of my life.  My father is a Republican.  My brother is a Republican.  Many of my friends are Republicans, misguided as they may be.  I know for a fact there are many Republicans that are very intelligent, highly educated, thoughtful and caring people.  But if the party is to survive in any form even resembling the party of old, the small minority of smart Republicans had better come to the fore and reclaim the party.  But I fear it’s too late.

All beginnings have their causes.  When you think about it, this pretty much says there are no beginnings because they’re always preceded by something causal.  However, for the sake of discussion I’m going to define the beginning of the current Republican malaise as being with the arrival of Karl Rove and his strategists.  In their successful effort to get a cartoon character elected to the White House, they analyzed the electorate and realized there was a vast block of under-informed, gullible voters that could easily be swayed with idiotic, paranoia rooted, drivel.  In a nutshell, Rove and the Republican machine actively solicited the support of the idiot faction.  They were successful beyond their wildest dreams.

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I find it fascinating that the minority members of Congress and Mr. Cheney sit on their keisters, but stand on their soap boxes, waiting for the country to go down in flames. Perhaps hoping is a better word – hoping the country goes down in flames. They give lip service to solutions but those solutions are nothing new or recycled at best. These representatives offer sharp criticism over everything from healthcare to terrorism to Supreme Court Justice Nominees using half-truths, anonymous opinions and rumors they have mined from the vast stores of media misinformation and unchecked facts and sources. Some even plant their own seeds of propaganda, cultivating them until they climb over the wall like kudzu on a hot, humid summer day. What ease our Electeds find in perpetuating myths and spinning the facts until the facts are dizzy and seasick. It takes little effort to then throw those centrifuged, reconstituted and mutated tidbits into the media waters like chum, waiting in gleeful anticipation for the shark feeding frenzy that surely will come. Sensationalism, after all, plays to Madison Avenue like a Siren’ song to a drunken Greek Sailor.

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How to Cure Anything

There probably aren’t a lot of us left that remember the old childhood remedies. When we took a nasty spill and scuffed up the elbows or cut a finger, it was time for a painful, stinging and staining application of iodine. It hurt. Sometimes it was worse than the wound itself. Until the stain wore off the skin, it was a badge of honor to a young boy. It showed he was tough enough to survive not only the wound, but the treatment.

For every ailment iodine didn’t cure, there was Castor Oil. According to Wikipedia, Castor Oil was used for skin problems, burns, sunburns, skin disorders, cuts, abrasions, styes in the eye, stomach aches, cramps, muscle pains, skin eruptions, inflammatory conditions, lesions and more. It was even used to induce childbirth, an effect that fortunately never worked on me. This is just the short list. My grandmother could have added five more pages to the litany.

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