Stateside with Rosalea: Taking My Brain For A Spin
Taking My Brain For A Spin
*Girlie-men rule, OK!*
I don't know why people got their thongs in a knot when the governor of California called the Democratic legislators in Sacramento girlie-men for not standing up to special interest groups. He was paying them a compliment by acknowledging that when they grow up they'll be like those other girlie-men, now wo-men, who also made news that week when they stood up to two of the world's scariest special interest groups, Israel and the United States.
First there was Helen, who dared to say, "Halt! Who goes there?" and when she didn't like the answer that came back demanded an apology from Israel for having sullied the sovereign soil of New Zealand and the integrity of its citizens.
Then there was Gloria, who said that in the Philippines "the life of every person is important" and that the country had the right to act on the values of its society even if it meant risking a friendship that it nonetheless also valued. I happened to watch the hour-long special report of the captive's release on TV Patrol -- the Tagalog-language ABS-CBN news broadcast that airs nightly on one of the community stations here in the Bay Area -- and it seemed to me the person whose life was saved by the intervention of his government was a very simple person indeed.
*Business as usual*
The same news bulletin reported that, after entertaining the leader of Singapore, the leader of Iran said that his country would rather trade with the East than the West. I'm not sure if that visit came before or after the Bush declaration that Iran aids al-Qaeda. Nor am I sure if the ayatollah's observation that the rash of kidnappings in Iraq was being carried out by US and Israeli special agents, also reported in that bulletin, came before or after that same Bush declaration.
*Bravest person of the week award*
That has to go to the young woman I saw at the train station a day or two after PETA's chicken-stomping video aired here. She was wearing a jacket with a Petaluma Poultry Processors logo emblazoned prominently on it. Not that that's the same company as the one back East where the video was made, but you couldn't help but look at her and wonder if she was a decent human being. I guess that's how people in occupied countries must look at all the uniformed representatives of the occupying nation after learning of the lack of decency some of them display.
*Don't touch that condiment!*
Ever since that train-cafe encounter with someone from the US corn belt, I've been developing a new theory of why there is an obesity epidemic in the Western world. It's all because of corn syrup, an ingredient in practically everything you buy. Can we guarantee that the corn used to make the syrup isn't the same corn - or has cross-pollinated with the same corn - that has been genetically engineered as a feed crop for faster fattening of cattle? After all, they're grown side by side and their seeds are treated in the same huge industrial plants.
Not that there is any relationship beyond a coincidence of numbers, but chromosome 1 in cattle and chromosome 11 in sheep are identical, and researchers have discovered what they think is a connection between chromosomes 1 and 11 in the Yuma Indians of the Southwest and their predisposition to obesity. Yuma also have a 70 percent rate of diabetes type 2. They were traditionally agrarians, who grew corn as their mainstay. No doubt, over countless generations, their body's metabolism adapted to that.
A recent current affairs program on TV showed the nun at a school the Yuma children attend making the kids throw their bags down and run from the bus to the school room every morning to get their metabolism moving. Watching it, I could hear Ralph Nader's words echoing in my ear: "They're laughing at us." The "they" he was referring to is Big Business. Companies like Monsanto - which incidentally has just received FDA approval for its GE wheat, and has also suddenly decided to put its research findings on the web and open it up to contributions from other biotech companies. Nothing like farming out the blame.
*The United States of Boston*
Back when California was part of Mexico, and no-one had come overland to it from that far-distant shore where the United States was then situated, the Californios' only contact with the States was through the trading ships that came around the Horn. Most of the captains of those boats were from Boston, and so the United States were then known in California as the United States of Boston.
My, how times haven't changed! This week the Democratic presidential nominating convention will get underway in Boston, featuring a pre-ordained nominee from that very state of Massachusetts. As I travel by bus to work through first the Spanish, then the Vietnamese, then the African American sections of this city - the only white person on the bus, more often than not - I cannot see any relationship whatsoever between the people who are running for president and vice president and the population of California.
*Coming to a TV set near you*
Apparently a new group of chest-thumping terrorists has emerged, prompting unprecedented security in Boston this week. Known as CPR, the Couch Potato Revolutionaries have vowed to breathe new life into the Democratic Convention by using shock tactics designed to get the media to take notice of them.
The group was originally started by a fan of Normal Programming who demanded that it be returned to the people to whom it rightfully belonged, but was soon infiltrated by left-wing extremists who made the wholly unreasonable demand that the "public service" requirement that was the supposed payoff for networks' getting the airwaves for free was not being productively fulfilled just by showing the Republican and Democratic Conventions.
In this, CPR were wholly supported by the followers of a diverse range of smaller parties who said that, in effect, the two main parties were simply getting hours and hours of free advertising at the taxpayers' expense. Anxious to distance themselves from "those losers," as one Republocrat-registered CPR member called the Small Party faction, the focus of the Revolutionaries shifted instead to the usurpation of the party members' right to choose the presidential and vice presidential candidate using the caucus and primary systems.
On condition of remaining anonymous, and wearing a rubber dental dam over her or his face, CPR's chief spokesperson said in a muffled sort of way that "the Democratic Party Machine - aka the Democratic Poultry Processing Committee - has stomped on everybody in its path by front-loading the selection process. Bring back the old days, when the blood and guts on the floor came from legitimate battles instead of from trampling on the grassroots membership's rights, and those battles took place where they should take place - at the convention - between legitimate factions in the party."
(Stay tuned for Convention Watch later in the week!)