Saturday, September 15, 2018

Hurricane Florence & The Canary Chorus

Commentators and anchors on CNN and MSNBC seem determined to somehow blame Hurricane Florence on President Trump and his climate denying cohorts. It would serve the American public so much more if at least one or two of the commentators would take a bit of time to digest a bit of the science put out on the subject. Like much of reality that does not translated well to sound bites, the consensus is shades of grey.

There does not appear to be a consensus that global warming will (or has) increased the number of hurricanes but there does appear to be a consensus that global warming will (and does) increase in the  rainfall in each storm.

The objection that many of us have to President Trump's policies on lifting all environmental regulations are that those regulations were put in place to protect the public and the removal of those regulations only results in economic benefit to a particular industry. While it is that complying with regulations may indeed cost jobs, such compliance also creates jobs. The net effect over time has been seen to be nil.

The GOP (Republican or Grand Old Party) has taken a stand that all or at least most regulations on industry are bad and should be eliminated. Take a look at the regulations which this administration has rolled back here.

The effects of this can be seen here in #Florida where Governor Rick Scott cut back by 30% on the water monitoring stations which measure the pollution outflow in and out of our central Lake Okeechobee. Not that such monitoring would have eliminated the toxins in the lake, but they should would have altered us sooner to the impending danger, allowing perhaps for more water to be released from the lake earlier.

There is now a toxic red tide closing the beaches on the west coast of Florida. While red tide is a natural occurring phenomenon, pollution from agricultural and residential run-off makes it worse. There is now also an ugly spill of blue green slime on both the east and west coast coming out of the mouth of the rivers from the lake on both sides of the peninsula. This algae is now rated 10x too toxic to touch.

Big Sugar, federally subsidized, is primarily in the hands of the Fanjul family who also own the bulk of the sugar production of the Dominican Republic. They has repeatedly blocked efforts by the State to move forward in the acquisition of land south of the lake to restore the Everglades. While the sugar cane industry in Florida is primarily mechanized, that is not true for that in Dominican Republic. There the practice is to use Haitians either brought in annually or kept for years near the plantations. Father Christopher Hartley helped those workers for years as seen in this film about the neighboring plantations owned by the Vincinis.  (yes, that is Paul Newman narrating).

Opening up the land south of the lake is on the books. Plans proceed very slowly. There is an offer to buy up some of the land from US Sugar. But that is another story.

For now we deal with the fact of the storms. Not that there will be more of them. But that they will be wetter. And with wetter storms there will be more floods. And with more floods come more toxic run-off. From hog farms in North Carolina. From increasingly polluted lakes and rivers.

For many of us who support environmental regulations, who decry the "Climate Change Deniers", to roll back the environmental protection regulations is to cut off one's nose to spite one's face.

But the Fanjuls, like President Trump, live on the Atlantic side of the waterway and do not have to see the green slime.

And the coal mine owners do not go down in the shafts.

Where the canaries are singing in chorus.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday for Parkland

On his Sunday morning show this week George Stephanopoulos had Andrew Young as a guest. Both men reminded me that it was 50 years ago  that Dr. King was assassinated.  I was sitting in a car on the edge of Harlem at the time - with an older worker from the Northern Student Movement, which helped tenants run rent strikes against negligent landlords.

Seems like I have been marching or standing in silence holding up a sign or signing a petition or crossing into a bombing range or getting arrested for 50 years.

Well - That is just about the truth of it.

It was an easy segue from the Civil Rights marches to the Anti War marches - just a change of buttons, really. Same folk singers, same vigils, same marchers. Got so that the weekend buses from NYC to DC clogged the Jersey turnpike the way Shore traffic does in summer. Everyone knew all the songs down to the 6th verse.

I remember how very, very tired we were. My husband in grad school, me in night school and working - both getting on the bus about every other week-end - thinking it would somehow help End the War which was being broadcast in horrible black and white into our living room every night over supper. We did not know if would. But we had friends over there and we thought the war was wrong.

We had to Do Something.

Til the day when my eldest brother - 15 years older, settled in a brownstone, 4 kids, told me that he and his wife were taking the bus to DC that weekend.

I called out to my husband- "Honey, We don't have to go to DC anymore,  the flame has taken hold. David is going."

And now -

I get to really retire

Because the Flame has Taken Hold

And those kids from #Parkland

Are going to Do Something

Many Thanks to All of You
Who have Kept the Flame Going

Thursday, October 26, 2017

To Russia with Love

Since I observed that my last post on #PuertoRico got such a broad reception from inside Russia - with more than 47% of the hits coming from there - I wanted to send out a shout out to all my cosmonaut friends over there and give you something for your listening pleasure tonight.

As you know, you have been really very important to us lately - what with all the dossiers and the meetings at #TrumpTower and we have become extremely interested in your dear leader #VladamirPutin and what, exactly, his intentions are towards us - and what we might expect from him and - of course - you - his loyal - or perhaps not so loyal - bots.

I wanted to share with you a most interesting podcast that I listened to this evening. Now it comes out over iTunes from NYC - but I am sure that you have perhaps heard it? - no - I suspect that you have not - since it was only last night - and you guys who are assigned to my blog are on the #PuertoRico desk. But obviously - you are fluent in English.

And - obviously - you can figure out how to download the itunes app? because that format ought to be available to you even if you using a home built computer.

Tonite's podcast is with a man named Preet Bhajara - you are free to google him - or GIFY - (google it for yourself) He has become pretty famous since Mr Trump fired him. It is a good road to fame here now.

His guest is a man named #BillBrowder - which may not actually mean anything to you "bots" (I do not mean that to be a demeaning term - I know that there are humans who are reading this - but 458 hits in one day from INSIDE of Russia?) - but certainly the name of Sergei Magnitsky rings bells in Moscow - or wherever you are.

Here is the BBC report - ( I do not know how censored your news is - I suspect it is deeply censored)

And here is the intro to tonight's podcast -- you ought to follow on Twitter ..

Tonight's guest is Bill Browder - who has - indeed written a book...

but this podcast will do nicely

Try to stay warm. I just turned the heat on here in Florida for the first time this year. The temperature dropped to below 70 degrees! But I am a tropical bird now. At 70 degrees F - I put on a sweater.

Moscow must be very -very cold.

Bill Browder will be a great deal more trouble to you dead than alive -- I can assure you of that.

Trust me on that one, Vlad.

Friday, October 20, 2017


Will the Rains Never End?

It has been RAINING here - in the Northern Caribbean - in South Florida - since IRMA hit us with the 90 MPH winds. Huge Rains. Sheets. Torrents. Low Ceilings.

For myself - I am on MARIA watch for Puerto Rico, as my closest living relative is there strung out between the southwest tip of Cabo Rojo and San Juan - hungry, in search of water, without much money, without access to water, without electricity, frightened, alone.

Walmarts - he reports - is out of water.
The limit to buy is one bag of ice
Three cans of Chef Boyardee for one person.
There is running water but the reports are that it is not safe to drink.
Without electricity there is no stove, no way to heat food or boil water.

I send him again the formula - three drops of chloro to one litre of water - drink a half glass - if he does not vomit - it is safe.

The winds of IRMA hit here at 90 mph. They were the strongest I had ever experienced. When they hit him, the winds of MARIA were at 185 mph. !*!$$%# 185 mph is more that my mind can grasp.  Like money over one million dollars.. my mind can not absorb.... how terrified he must have been
with the
his house
in the campo

Now he has gone to San Juan
he reports that
that the CONDADO


which looks like MIAMI BEACH!!


I know
Puerto Rico

And I know the Puerto Ricans

And I know that Puerto Rico Se Levanta

I weep

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Aim of Aid is not really to Help"

I took some time off to move - making an arc from 196 miles from Port au Prince to 742 miles away, back in Florida but surrounded somehow still with Haitians.... Kreyole on the radio,, Kreyole in the Walmart aisle, Kreyole wafting in from my neighbor's house.

"Did you read the news about the more than 200 Haitians found starving in a cave?" my chiropractor asked as he sought to distract me from cracking my back into some semblance of upright biped so that I could walk again without pain. How I had injured it was a mystery.

"They were singing. That is how the aid workers found them. They had nothing to eat. Months after the hurricane. Just google it, You will see. I do not understand it. They should be able to grow food there."

"I have blog" I responded. "Lots of information on that."

My doctor is from Toronto, moved here years ago for the weather. Many of his patients are Haitians. He picks at my mind, seeking to understand. His receptionist calls herself Haitian, although born here, child of the elite, speaks Kreyole, speaks of her country with contempt. As does the branch manager at the local Chase branch. "Haiti will never change." "Haiti could not have been expected to prosper after having to pay reparations." "No, I have never been" "No we rarely go back now, although my family owns several properties around St Marc."

Someone still collects the rents, I think. Someone made those folks poor.

I get angry easily on this topic and want to BLAME someone.

Except Bill and Hillary Clinton- I seem the only one who does NOT want to blame them. I think about the earthquake and Bill Clinton and his office in Harlem. Read Notes from the Last Testament by Michael Diebert  for the deep background on Bill Clinton and Haiti and Aristide.... But I was in Santo Domingo during the earthquake and saw how quickly Bill Clinton responded how often he came down .. how deeply -- he really does indeed care about Haiti.

No good deed goes unpunished.

I google the article on the cave dwellers. Both the Herald and the Sun Sentinel have the same article. It is a puff piece written for Food for the Poor. I know it well.

"Starving Haitians Found.. SEND MONEY"

How could they even bother to print this mess? Found in a cave? With no water? honestly? really? no water? eating toxic plants?

One does not survive without water.. a HUMAN cannot survive without water...

Miami Herald 

I have a lot of respect for Jaqueline Charles..

Who is a fine journalist..

but note - the same story .. here 

 but it would be relief to ALSO hear ABOUT

the ABUSE..

ABOUT the SCAM of the Lords of Poverty

and some reflection on
how it must look -- those "mission trips" - on the air conditioned buses - going down for three days at the cost of about $400 a day (air fare not included) to "SEE THE POVERTY"


who has spent more than 2 weeks on the ground in Haiti knows this is \

Wouldn't it be a RELIEF
exposed for the SCAM artists that they are?

Fortunately... there are REPORTS

So Bravo to Dr Schwartz --

The irony of what I’m saying here is that it’s a viscous cycle. If Haitians could not leave the country. If 90% of medical school graduates and 98% of the children of the rural elite did not emigrate to the US as soon as they are college aged, those people would be the ones to change the system. They have the smarts and the connections to make the system work. And 50 years ago they did have an impact. But emigration gives them and their parents a much easier option. They don’t have to risk fighting. It’s just stupid not to go to the US, Canada or France. Why on earth would someone stay.  Think about it: send your kid to one of these developed country with limitless possibilities and good healthcare, or have them stay in poorest country in the western hemisphere with pathetic future for all but the super-rich and horrendous healthcare. No man, you get your kids the hell out.
And so in Haiti the human capital is gone. The only people who are left are the super- rich, the super poor, drug dealers, and people living on remittances. What that means is that the only people left in Haiti either don’t want change, don’t need it, or can’t do anything to effect it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


For those who might wish to donate to #HaitiRelief
From my 13 years as a journalist here, I can recommend
any of these organizations-
Based on the following criteria:
All are in Haiti, led by Haitians, and do not have foreign offices
All are non sectarian
All are dedicated to uplifting the lives of the small farmers
All have been recommended to me by more than two Haitians who are very involved in development and whose opinions I value
One may suit one's personal values more than another

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Back to the Line of Fire

Charlotte, NC erupted into rioting after another police shooting of a Black man who was either 1) peacefully sitting in his car, reading a book, waiting for his son to come home for work or 2) exiting his car for the second time, brandishing a gun and threatening the police.

Police say they found a gun. His family says he did not have one. Police say he has a record for armed assault. Two stories and we are never going to know the truth since the officer involved was not wearing a body cam.

A story appeared on my FB feed that it required more training to become a hairdresser than it does to become a police officer.

No.. REALLY? Could that be true. Police officers must have amazing training I thought. They are paid $42.5 in Charlotte, as a starting salary and have amazing benefits. True, it is dangerous work. There have been 30 work related deaths on the force since 1892. This number of 30 Charlotte police officers killed  over  124 years stands in contrast to the 62 persons who were killed by police so far in 2016.

Some of those who were killed by police might have been white.Some might have been armed. Some might have actually posed a direct and immanent threat to the police officers who were confronting them.

But do our police not have better ways to bring down suspects?

Is 'he had a gun' now going to be the standard of all the police need to shoot down someone on the street.

So I checked again about whether perhaps we would be better off putting the hairdressers in the squad cars and sending the cops back to school.


That is true.

In North Carolina, for instance, it takes only 640 hours of class training to become eligible to be a police officer. You must complete the Basic Law Enforcement Training and pass the test with 70%.

"QUESTION How long does it take to deliver BLET? ANSWER Approximately 16 weeks - attending full time or 40 hours per week - to deliver the entire course. BLET "night" courses usually last 6-7 months. "Night" courses typically take place Monday - Friday (6- 10pm) and on Saturdays, but are mainly taken by persons working other full time jobs."

That will total 640 hours.

Evidently this is pretty standard nationwide.

But to be a HAIRDRESSER??????

YO Mama--girl

you gatta have 1200 hours.. pass the board..DO AN APPRENTICESHIP  keep that license up to date with continuing education courses.. Not kidding.. NOT

It is no wonder that Charlotte is burning

And Tulsa
And Ferguson
And Watts

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The GOP Platform = Beyond the Candidates Right to Life VS War on Women

Let us take a look at the party platform of the Republicans.. the Grand Old Party.. to see what they have planned for the nation should they win the election.

We will take this in small bites.. because,.. well.. it is too much for my stomach to digest all it once. It sticks in my craw.

So just small bites.

Here is the link for the cliff notes version  for you to read through once.. just do it quickly.. once.. and then we will go back over it piece by piece. But in order to get the full 66 page document, there seems to be no link on the GOP page. The only one I found was here linked in the Huff Post - and one has to sign up for Scribd to download it.  That is probably wise since what folks say that they are going to do in public and what they say they are going to do behind closed doors, to their inside friends, are often not the same thing.

So.. Small Bites..

Let us start with one issue that prominent... the Abortion issue.

How are the Republicans going to outlaw abortion and overturn the Supreme Court decision on RoeVWade?  This is part of what those on the Left call the GOPs 'War on Women' and what the Evangelical Right - which represents up to 15% of the Republican base - calls the "Right to Life" Over the last years access to abortions has become more and more difficult in the United States. More than 200 restrictions have been passed on the state level over the last 4 years., Here is the map.

The 2016 Presidential Platform on abortion starts on page 20 of the 66 page platform. The first position is the proposal of a constitutional amendment referred to only as "a human life amendment.". There are various variations on this - see here. Note that while one of these proposals does include the death of the mother aa a reason for an abortion, all of them rescind the woman's right to freely chose to end a pregnancy.

There are currently five countries in the world which will allow a woman to die before they will allow an abortion. I am now living in one of them. I shudder to think that there are people in the United States who seek to turn the United States into one such heartless nation.

There is more very ugly stuff in the Republican platform on abortion but this is all that I can stomach for today.

Do not let all the attention be focused on candidate at the top of the ticket or the inability of his wife to come up with anything original to say in her speech.,

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Zika on its way

I have not been well really since the chikungunya.

 That must be about two years now although it is hard to tell time here for me without the change of seasons. The pains in my joints have not really left me,  just as some had predicted might happen,

 Dona Gloria, my neighbor who has 25 years on me, stops in front of the bars on my ground floor apartment on her way to the market and we rub our respective wrists and complain about our ankles.

 Now there is another virus on the way. One that attacks new bornes. Called Zika. It gives them tiny heads. The women and girls are being told not to get pregnant.

But the Catholic Church, which rules here under the Papal Nuncio, forbids the use of contraceptives (ah yes, you think that they use them? that the machos spend their money on latex? that they take showers with raincoats? think again)

and abortion is prohibited in all cases.. well I think that there has been a bit of flexibiltiy,. perhaps if a ten year old mother is going to die.. something like that.

this is a bitchin hard island.. let me tell you

and if you think this side is hard..


the other side of the place

is really hit hard..

one blow ..

after another
after another

after another

they are trying to have elections

Puerto Rico is sinking - Puerto Ricans are coming HERE to look for work!
Cuba is being sold back to the sugar barons
and the Dominican Republic is sending Haitians back across the border to sit and starve. Pretending that they are white men.

Well,. Actually.. That is a pretty good imitation of a white man.,

They certainly learned from the best of them.

Everyone tries to imitate democracy

because uncle sam says democracy is the way to go.. well used to say that until Cizens United said that plutocracy was better

but now that we have

president trump

barnum bailey


who are we

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Camino de Santiago

The deaf mutes file through churches
along the walled ramparts
on the camino of Santiago de Campostello
listening for the voice of god
At the end
carry signs
"The birds sing to earn their crust"
In Santo Domingo
Long ago
The bells fell silent
Traded to the English for cannon balls
The pope sends
Pedophile Polish priests

Children wail