Saturday, June 13, 2015

Upcoming Book Talk, Jack&theBeanstalk, Memorial Service, Biden Bereaved Again, Rover to Mars, Cuban Economy, Food Waste , WWII Casualties, DR Asylum Applicant

Photos include the recent memorial service for my neighbor Barbara Bell, who was kind enough to accompany me to the funeral of my late former husband in 1999, after we saw his obituary in the paper where my name was not mentioned after 4 children and 24 years of marriage. Daughter Stephanie came out for the memorial service from Hawaii, her second visit here in as many months, shown here with sister Melanie. Bornwell, my visitor from Zambia, has learned to cook. And an avocado that spouted has grown like Jack & the Beanstalk despite frequent pruning.
If you will be in NYC on Monday, June 22, 6 pm, please come to my book talk and let you friends know in any case. Click on icon on the right of the title for full program announcement.






Book Presentation: "Confessions of a Secret Latina"

Location: Broadway

In this honest, gripping memoir, Barbara E. Joe tells the story of her journey through Cuba and a life filled with difficulties, challenges and tragedies—a story that is all the more relevant now that the United States government is taking steps to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba. Program in English and Spanish.

Have become more aware lately about the enormous amounts of edible food discarded daily by restaurants, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, farms, and even our home kitchens. When so many people, even in this country, are malnourished and hungry, it’s really criminal. At least in Honduras, there is much less food waste, as employees, beggars, and even dumpster divers find it. Roving pigs eat scraps thrown out on the street. In Cuba, no morsel of food is wasted—or at least, it wasn’t when I was still traveling there in the 1990s. Waiters and cooks always took home their share, sometimes even before paying customers. Those countries have less stringent rules about food expiration.
If Joe Biden announces a presidential bid, he would get my sympathy vote. He not only lost his first wife and daughter in a long-ago auto accident, but a son who survived that accident has now died of a brain tumor. Although he has been fortunate in his political career, nothing can make up for those losses. As a bereaved parent myself, I know.
Deviating from my usual subject matter, I’m sending along this You-Tube link because it’s cool:  It appears that the Rover shed many of its original parts before actually arriving on Mars.
Roberta Jacobson, leading the talks with Cuba about reestablishing embassies in both countries, has now been nominated by President Obama to be ambassador to Mexico.  Since becoming an ambassador is a convoluted process, presumably she will continue working on Cuba meanwhile.
The provision in the FY 2016 Commerce, Justice Appropriations ("CJS Appropriations") bill, supported by more than 30 Democrats, would ensure that no exports to Cuba under President Obama's new "Support for the Cuban People" category can go through entities owned or controlled by officers of Cuba's military ("MINFAR") and security services ("MININT"), or their immediate relatives.

Andres Oppenheimer: Cuba: Very big fuss over very small economy, Miami Herald, May 30, 2015  [A Spanish-language version of the same article appeared the same day] Oppenheimer is right—outside investment in Cuba has considerable risks and virtually any money to be earned there will come from outside sources, such as tourism. Cubans have many needs but no money and they produce very little: a few pharmaceuticals, rum, and cigars.  Visitors and would-be investors are flooding there now out of curiosity and for a paid vacation. 
Here’s another article on US/Cuba relations

Canada (incidentally, where my late father was born) is inexplicably part of my responsibility as volunteer coordinator for the Caribbean for Amnesty International USA. Canada’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission Report on Indigenous People is currently gathering testimony from survivors of residential schools, designed to “take the Indian out of the child,” now considered a form of “cultural genocide” responsible in part for the problems facing First Nation people today.

Here below, another website with graphics on WWII casualties,
I remember rationing and blackouts, victory gardens, etc. we children took it all very seriously. Some friends and I found a dead cat in the street one day and gave it a military funeral complete with taps played on a comb and tissue paper. We didn't think the cat was a fallen soldier, but we played war constantly and we knew what was called for. My father worked for the shipyard in Evansville, IN so never got called up, but I remember the day my favorite uncle came home from North Africa vividly.
 After I was on standby for hours today, I heard from the DR asylum applicant's lawyers that the hearing will be continued, which doesn't particularly thrill me. They are pro bono lawyers, so I appreciate the time and care they are devoting to this case, but the respondent is left in limbo (though he still has a fighting chance). Often in the past when a judge has failed to call me, that's been it, but in this case, the respondent's lawyers want to call and cross examine me to establish my credibility. Of course, I don't know the facts of the case first-hand, only what his lawyers have told me. Obviously, the government's lawyers want him deported.
Finally, I am not a big supporter of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. We don’t live in an age of privacy anymore and who really cares what most of us are doing most of the time? Everyday activities revealed on Facebook get rather repetitious. Mass data collection may discourage as well as discover communication among would-be conspirators, just as traffic stops and police discourage some reckless driving behavior. Furthermore, I suspect that mass data collection may reveal patterns that are important. Of course, we don’t want public officials to have unnecessary power over us, but if we aren’t doing anything wrong, should we be fearful of revelations, even about our private conduct? Does that make me a conservative or is a conservative someone strictly guarding his/her (hir) privacy? I don’t consider myself either a liberal or conservative and, while mostly a faithful Democrat in terms of voting, I’ve voted for an independent for some local offices on occasion. Aren’t we all independent at heart?