Saturday, May 24, 2008

San Angelo

SAN ANGELO, TEXAS. The women of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints sect may have their children returned to them, thanks to a ruling of the appeals court. They are accused of child abuse. I can't judge the merits of that charge, but I think those ladies should all be arrested for bad hair dos.

Hillary is OK. Why can't a candidate act like a human being once in a while? I heard what Hillary said as she recalled the assassination of Robert Kennedy forty years ago next month. It's an emotional memory for her and millions of Americans who remember that terrible day. With Teddy Kennedy facing a possibly fatal illness, the emotions are even stronger. Hillary's comment carried absolutely no implication of anything. She has nothing to apologize for. She has nothing to explain. The Obama campaign was wrong to find meaning that wasn't there. The media has blown this up to ridiculous proportions.

And that's why I'm glad that old John McCain is in the race this year, because one of these days the press is going to push him too far and he is going to blow his legendary top at them. "Okay, you guys, Ill tell you what I think of you -- you blankey, blankety, blank," and granma cover your ears because he's going to let them have it, and I'll be cheering him on.

The Desert and the Tundra. "We can't drive our SUVs and, you know, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on, you know, 72 degrees at all times, whether we're living in the desert or we're living in the tundra, and then just expect every other country is going to say OK, you know, you guys go ahead keep on using 25 percent of the world's energy, even though you only account for 3 percent of the population, and we'll be fine. Don't worry about us. That's not leadership."

Barak Obama said that last week in Oregon. A lot of people will applaud this sentiment but I don't. We don't owe the rest of the world an explanation. I don't care for the world-dominating bluster of some Super Patriots, but I won't replace that with the kind of false, guilty humility that Obama expresses here. That's not leadership.

A strong initiative toward energy independence is very important -- but skip the apologies.

Bush goes to the Desert. Meanwhile, President George Bush, in a real desert, in a real act of humility, went with his hat in hand to beg a favor from King of Saudi Arabia, "We need more oil, Your Highness, please, for old time's sake." And the king turned him down, but did give him a set of gold cuff links as a remembrance.

My opinion is that we are over-extended in the Middle East and that President Bush wrote a check he can't cash.

Nation building begins at home.

Dictators in Latin America. Dr. Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier was the ruthless dictator of Haiti from 1957 until his death in 1971. Rafael Trujillo ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930 until his assassination in 1961. Anastasio "Tachito" Somoza controlled Nicaragua from 1967 until 1979. Other members of the Somoza family had ruled the country since 1936.

Duvallier, Trijillo, and Somoza -- this was the norm in Latin America during those years. There was no democracy, but only control by the great families, and great wealth amid great poverty.

Fulgencio Batista was the dictator and father of all Cuba from 1933 until New Year's Eve in 1958, when Fidel Castro ran him out of the country. Everyone in America cheered. Then he seized the sugar plantations from the wealthy elite and they went into exile in Florida to plot their revenge. Then he imported missiles from Russia and went from being an independent freedom fighter to becoming a communist stooge -- Kruschev's puppet. He became our enemy.

Now Fidel Castro is barely alive. The Cubans have no missiles, the Russians send no money. The older Cuban exiles in Florida no longer dominate their society. The younger Cuban-Americans will not carry on their parents hatred. Cuba will come back to us soon, but we won't be going down there for prostitution and gambling -- we'll be going down there because they have some of the best doctors in the Western Hemisphere.

Jim Smith. Jim Smith writes a column for the LaConner Weekly News. His writing reminds me of Molly Ivins, the late, great Texas columnist. Jim turns out a consistently warm and memory-strewn prose. Everybody* in LaConner likes Jim Smith -- the way you like a meat loaf sandwich.

*LaConnerites are very contrarian and you can't say "everybody" about anything around here.

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