Monday, May 29, 2006

Tidbits: Happy Belated Birthday, Moz! (part 1)

In honor of Morrissey’s 47th birthday last Monday, this HP post (part 1 of 2) will be themed based on songs from him as well as The Smiths.

“Bigmouth Strikes Again” (YouTube)- I have been a massive asshole since convocation and graduation ceremonies a few weeks back. I’ve been wont to snap at just about any thing that disturbs me and I’ve acted very insular and selfish. For instance, I snapped very harshly and unjustly at my brothers last Friday because they went out that morning to run some errands but they did not bother to let me know. Since I must know every little move they make I yelled at them as if they were my traitorous minions. Though we worked out our differences, there was no need for me to be as mad as I was that day and I have to learn to control my temper and vent my stress more constructively.

“Barbarism Begins at Home” (YouTube)- Speaking of lunacy and rage, life at home has been a little hard-to-handle lately. And it’s not just my own messed-up thoughts but my mom has been very moody. She now has the incredibly annoying tendency to make unexpectedly curt comments that serve to both shock and drive me batty. The other day I was cleaning some old books when I stumbled upon an agenda given to me by “la vecina” a few years ago. Mom enters the room and says sarcastically in Spanish “how nice it is to see your gift from your sweetheart” and leaves my room with a massive grin on her face. Huh? What? Who? Why? Maybe it may not seem like much on the surface, but a comment like that is like a swift kick between the legs to me. There are occasions when she’s fantastic to be around and others when she’s off her rocker. This is tolerable for the most part, but her moodiness has been more unpredictable recently so I’m trying my very best to put up with her.

“Disappointed” and “The Queen is Dead” (both via YouTube)– As I alluded to at the end of my post yesterday, I felt nauseated by the landslide reelection victory of Colombia’s president, Alvaro Uribe. I honestly believed Uribe would face a run-off election in two weeks time; instead, he receives nearly two-thirds of the vote and handily beats leftist Carlos Gaviria. (Ironically, Gaviria used to be Uribe’s professor when he attended law school. Go figure.) I don’t believe that Uribe is as loathsome as the left feels since he’s instigated several valuable changes such as reforming the judicial system, ensuring basic security in some regions, and proposing a more secular and streamlined system of holidays. However, these accomplishments pale in comparison to his readiness to grant impunity and flexibility to right-wing paramilitaries, an escalation in the armed conflict, a lack of improving social services, acting as a lackey to big business including his endorsement of a lop-sided free trade agreement with the U.S., and his overall arrogance and intransigence. More worrisome is the trend in reelected leaders of the Western Hemisphere to have disastrous second terms in office as this article from El Tiempo describes. (Examples include the firestorm of corruption that came to light during Alberto Fujimori’s third term as well as the political scandals under the second term of Fernando Henrique Cardoso).

If there is a positive to yesterday’s election was the strong showing of the left through Carlos Gaviria who received their highest vote total ever with a shade over 3 million votes. In his concession speech, Gaviria vowed that the left would not be co-opted by Uribe and will transform itself into a viable opposition movement. As of now that seems like a longshot since Uribe not only controls the presidency but
factions loyal to him have a clear majority in congress. Yet that could change in the next few years if the growth of Gaviria’s party , the Alternative Democratic Pole, continues.

Another positive that came about was the near demise of the Liberal Party who barely got into the double digits yesterday. I said it a while ago-
Liberal presidential candidate Horacio Serpa is the Colombian version of Neil Kinnock. Serpa and his Liberal dinosaurs need to disappear ASAP and allow for young leaders like Rafael Pardo to take the reins of the Liberals. Yet even if that does occur, Uribe’s win and Gaviria’s second place have brought the death knell to the antiquated, out-of-touch, and pathetically oligarchic traditional bipartisan control of Colombian politics. Or as El Tiempo said “there is a totally new political panorama in which the Liberal and Conservative Parties which have lorded over the scene for almost 200 years have been replaced by new forces.” Finally!

“A Rush and A Push and The Land is Ours” (YouTube)- I found this post a few days ago by political blogger Latino Pundit. Regardless of what you think of Lou Dobbs, the idea that illegal immigrants will take over seven U.S. states and as part of a “Reconquista” is comical and downright silly. I sorely doubt that most immigrants crossing the border due so in the interest of creating Mexican territory, de facto or otherwise. Though I agree that Dobbs should discuss immigration since that issue focuses so much on economics and labor, I am surprised that he would use “Aztlan” as a paltry excuse against illegal immigration. I almost always disagree with him I don’t mind reading some of his perspectives that can be backed with intelligent evidence. In this case he’s going to have to go back to the drawing board and not come up with something as childish.

“Please Help The Cause Against Loneliness” (lyrics)- Tonight I’m off to be with some friends and colleagues for a brief dinner and drinks. Details to come tomorrow. Good night and drive home safely.

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