Trains running again

THE VAGABOND sound of passing trains has returned.

We live just one block from the rail line, so it’s long been a part of our daily lives. But the sound vanished for more than a week till the day before yesterday.

Rail traffic had stopped due to a blockade just up the highway, “teachers” unhappy with a reform of the educational system recently implemented in Mexico.

The unhappy “teachers” had set up an encampment, blocking the rails with rocks and logs.

The economic loss was reportedly vast.

“Teachers” down in Oaxaca and Chiapas have been blocking highways now for weeks, causing economic and other forms of chaos. These are “teacher” unions.

The educational reform, like the energy reform, is something new in Mexico, something good. The energy reform is opening the energy sector to foreign competition. We will have options for gas stations like in the United States.

For decades, there has been just one gas station in Mexico, the government’s omnipresent Pemex.

Left-wingers, of whom we have many in Mexico due to the high percentage of ignoramuses, oppose the energy reform because they oppose choice and the free market.

Plus plenty of xenophobia.

And no group is more left-wing than “teachers” who have a number of unions. They also have their “teacher colleges” where “teachers” are made. These schools are communist indoctrination centers that sport murals of Ché Guevara.

No joke.

“Teachers” in Mexico are the most disruptive element in the nation, constantly causing problems.

What has their Red panties in a twist about the educational reform? A number of things, but my favorites are that they will have to take exams to show competence.

Oh, my goodness! Imagine that.

starAnd they will lose the right to hand their jobs over to a friend or relative when they retire.

The “teachers” are so numerous and have so much support among the lamebrain population that the government is afraid to take action against the protesters. Its tactic often is wait-and-see. This has worked in the past.

And example of this wait-and-see took place a few years ago in Mexico City when electric service was taken from the hands of a union and handed over to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) that runs service outside the capital.

The union went berserk and set up blockades outside the CFE high-rise downtown. After a few months, they wearied and went home. Electric service in Mexico City is run now by CFE, and it’s immeasurably better than before.

Even an old lefty like Franklin D. Roosevelt said unions have no place in the public sector. A union fussing with its private-sector employer is one thing. Interrupting services like police, firemen, education, electricity, etc., is quite different.

It should be illegal.

In the meantime, trains are passing the Hacienda, but how this education reform ends up is yet to be seen. Will we modernize, or we will continue swimming in seas of corruption?

Will the government buckle?

The energy reform is being phased in with more success, and we’re already seeing gas stations in some areas that do not fly the once ubiquitous green colors of Pemex.

There is also a legal reform that will lead to open courts. Left-wingers haven’t tried to block that yet.

They’ve been too busy blocking highways and railroads.

These “progressives.”

* * * *

(And meanwhile.)

Death by Democrats

BILL WHITTLE  knocks it out of the park again.

Newspaper days: San Juan

san juan

A PACK OF mangy dogs always loitered about the front door because a kind-hearted employee threw them scraps of food every day.

That front door took you into the lobby of The San Juan Star where I worked in the early 1970s. The newspaper in that time was like the French Foreign Legion of the newspaper trade, and it was really fun, the only journalism job I ever actually enjoyed.

The small newsroom was up a flight of stairs. It was nothing like the monster newsrooms of Houston and New Orleans, places where I also toiled both before and after San Juan. The Star newsroom was kind of cozy, and the people were very nice.

I worked, as always everywhere, on the copydesk, and my boss at the Star was a handsome coal-black news editor named Teddy who was from the island of St. Kitts. Teddy spoke with a lilting Caribbean accent, and he started out being very suspicious of me since I had arrived from Louisiana, and Teddy knew all Southerners were Klansmen who hang black men from trees.

He’d never been in the United States, and much of the news staff were New Yorkers.

But after a couple of weeks, Teddy realized I did not fit his stereotype, and we got along just great.

Handsome Teddy was a bachelor and a womanizer. He was particularly smitten with the Lifestyle editor, a tall, good-looking black woman with big boobs and behind who sashayed regularly through the newsroom on high heels, leaving Teddy with his eyes open wide and a silly grin on his face.

She was married, but I doubt Teddy cared much about that.

The composing room was just off the newsroom, and they played music there which often seeped out into our space. My favorite was Eres Tu by Mocedades. I still love it.

A pack of proofreaders sat in another adjoining room. Though they spoke little or no English, they were employed to correct errors in the English copy proofs. Made no sense whatsoever.

They were unionized.

The cafeteria downstairs that served lunches and dinners also sold beer, which we could buy to sip at the copydesk while working. Even in New Orleans, the booze capital of the world, the newspaper did not offer that perk, something I only did once in San Juan because it wasn’t smart.

Stepping out the front door, down to the right and just around the corner, you’d find a small establishment where you could sit at an eatery bar in dim light to sip black Cuban coffee almost the consistency of good, watery mud. It was tasty.

The San Juan Star was located in an industrial area off the John F. Kennedy Highway nowhere near downtown where I lived, so I traveled, standing, in a sweltering, jam-packed city bus to work every afternoon and bummed a ride back to Old San Juan at midnight with a coworker, or I took a taxi.

That was the routine on my second stint in Puerto Rico. During my first, briefer, stay, I rode a black BSA motorcycle shipped down from New Orleans in the hold of a Sealand freighter.

There were two midnight options. I could drink in a bar, or I could drink at home. At home, a black-haired, freckle-faced Argentine was waiting for me, so that was the more common destination. I had skin in that game. Home was a small penthouse apartment overlooking the sea.

mdI never got a haircut in Puerto Rico. I only cut my hair once, and I did it in St. Thomas in the nearby U.S. Virgin Islands where I flew on a couple of occasions as a passenger in a Goose seaplane. Mostly, however, I stayed pretty hairy. It was the 1970s.

I doubt The San Juan Star was ever much of a money-maker. It was owned by Scripps Howard, and it had won a Pulitzer. It was the sole English newspaper in Puerto Rico, catering to the American community and, of course, tourists. Union activity was a constant problem that finally ran the publication into the ground in 2008, long after I had departed. Such a shame.

It was reinvented the following year by different owners as the San Juan Daily Star. I don’t know where it’s located now, and I doubt that a pack of homeless dogs sprawls at the front door or that beer is served in the cafeteria. And God knows where Teddy is.

On name-calling

THE UNSEEN MOON prides itself on decorum, a characteristic that slides further into disuse on a daily basis, not here, of course, but in the society at large.

The Moon soldiers on, however, in the old-fashioned way.

A commenter on the previous post cited name-calling and finger-pointing. It was a little vague, unclear as to whether I was the name-caller and finger-pointer or if the other commenters were the culprits.

Perhaps a bit of both.

callI confess to finger-pointing, which is to say: Lookee there! He (or she) is causing the problem. This is being judgmental, an admirable trait, especially when the judgments are the same as mine.

But I never name-call. Again, one man’s meat, as they say, is another man’s poison, so the nomenclature seen regularly here might possibly by considered name-calling by some folks.

Let’s look at three examples, my favorites:

1. Barry.  This is President Barack Hussein Obama, the lame-duck president. Barry was, perhaps still is, a nickname he used. I use it for only one purpose: to trivialize him. So sue me. I’m not a fan.

BarryOthers who dislike Barry refer to him as Hussein, or use his full name, including Hussein, because they want to give the impression that’s he’s a Mohammedan (more on Mohammedans down the line). I don’t think Barry is a Mohammedan, and I am pretty sure he was born in Hawaii.

He’s a lousy president.

2. Collectivists.  These are left-wingers, fans of Barry. Collectivism has its place, mostly when lots of people with ponytails join together to purchase organic foods at cheaper prices. Applying collectivism to government is a colossally bad idea. See Soviet Union, Red China and Cuba.

Those three communist despotisms are collectivism writ large, and you don’t want to even start down that road. Government should be small, not big. A side issue are labor unions which have, at times, a valuable place in this world. But only unions in the private sector. Government unions should be verboten, always.

3. Mohammedans. These are the followers of Mohammed, of course. Call it what you will. Islam. Muslim. I prefer Mohammedans for the same reason I favor Barry. There is a disparagement implied. I am not a fan of Mohammedanism, and you should not be either.

IslamWe are currently engaged in a 21st century religious war, and only one side fully understands — the Mohammedans. If you think otherwise, you are proving my point that only one side fully understands. Barry does not understand. Or collectivists in general. They live in a rainbow fog.

All Mohammedans are not terrorists, you say. That is true, but the vast majority either support the terrorists or are cowed into silence and submission. The “Arab street” exploded in jubilation on 9/11.

* * * *

Those terms are the usual extent of my name-calling. If you want something far nastier, go to Huffpost and leave a conservative comment on a story (any story, pick one), and you will get severe blowback. Collectivists have name-calling down to an everyday art. They simply curse a lot. I long for a kinder world.

Have a nice day.