Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sotomayor's Medical History Sparks Wider Debate

AOG, Madrid

I agree that a post at the US Supreme Court is a very important post. I understand that service is lifelong. But to use health as criteria is, quite frankly, a form of prejudice.

People with Type 1 Diabetes have as much a right to hold high office as those without Type 1 Diabetes.

What if she developed the disease after being sworn in? No longer useful? Less able or capable because of it? I doubt it.

As a country we should be enlightened enough to take a chance on people whose health may not be 100% since, after all, nobody's health is 100% at any one time.

As a species, we start dying from the minute we are born. I think we should be able to look beyond the physical and concentrate on the intellectual.

Sonia Sotomayor should not be disqualified for suffering from a human condition.

About Barack Obama
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Twitter...Part 1

AOG, Madrid

What is the deal with Twitter? I have no idea. It does seem to be the next cool site right after Facebook.

Personally I haven’t bothered with it until today, when I read a newspiece which stated that Ellen DeGeneres had beaten CNN on it. Link here.

So, what did I do? In a moment of insanity, I thought I would sign up. Yes, it’s a slow afternoon here on financial news universe, Madrid sector.

Well, I should have known better. The site was down.

Now, of course, having regained my sanity momentarily, I am thinking about it twice. Thrice even.

Do I really want to be on Twitter? Well, I don’t know. I know very little about it, but these are the impressions I have of it so far:

You type in where you are and what you are doing.


And then again.

And once more.

Ad infinitum.

And then you die.

So, with this is mind, do I really want to “Twitt”? I don’t really see the point.

But I may change my mind.

This is how Twitter bills itself:

"Twitter is a free service that lets you keep in touch with people through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?"

Still, I am not seduced. All I can say is that while I was ready to join (or at least have a wander) a while back, their technical hiccup has put me off.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Books, Madrid and Spring

AOG, Madrid

pring has arrived in Madrid. Or so it would appear. After many weeks of cold weather, and sunny skies (a local specialty), the past couple of days have been warmer. Last night I walked home from work with my sweater on and arrived blistering hot. I leave the office around 10:30 at night.

I started walking home about two weeks ago. I need the exercise but the walk allows me to gather my thoughts before getting home and it also shows me a different face of Madrid.

I work in a very elegant neighbourhood and I enjoy looking at all the architectural styles the Salamanca quarter of Madrid has to offer. It was built in the XIX century and from the start it has been where rich Spanish and foreign citizens liked to dwell.

Often I look up and see the beautiful juxtaposition of Art Deco, pre Civil War buildings standing next to turn-of-the-century French style buildings, the odd church, private school or Palace -like the amazing Italian embassy, probably Madrid’s most beautiful embassy building, also known as the Amboage palace.

Last night, as had happened all throughout the day, I could see pollen wafting around the air. I did not notice this last year. I’ve read is plantain pollen. It is fluffy and rather big.

The other sign that Spring has arrived is the opening of Madrid’s Old Books Fair, on Castellana Boulevard.

About 30 stands display their wares and I cant help myself from being naturally drawn to them.

I like to walk around and peruse the remnants of Spain’s literary past. But not only Spain. Often you can find American, French and British novels, Franco-era guides and political documents, old Spanish Stocks and bonds, German art tomes, modern reproductions of XVI century maps of Madrid, as well as a myriad of worn, heavy and probably priceless leather bound books. For me, the covers alone make would be reason enough to buy them.

The first time I went, (last week), there was a gentleman who went from stand to stand asking if they had anything on the Philippines. As long as he hovered around me, nobody did. I wanted to ask him if he was a historian, or, at least, why the interest in that country.

The Philippines, although a one-time colony of Spain, does not really get a lot of airtime in Spain these days. It could be the fact that, unlike the other colonies, it lost the ability to speak Spanish after it was lost to the US in 1898.

Last Sunday I went there again. I saw a book on the Canadian Perception of the American Civil War, written in the 1970s. It looked very interesting and thought about purchasing it. But I didn’t.

Today I had 30 minutes to kill, and couldn’t wait for the stands to open- which they do at 11 am. The book was still there. Four Euros later, it was mine. I find it fascinating. One never reads much on US-Canadian relations.

I also bought a couple of old National Geographics…three for five Euros. One of them had an article on Mexico; the other on the Panama Canal; and the last one on Rio de Janeiro. There was another on Air Safety and West Germany, but I went with a Hispanic theme.

I also saw a beautiful book on Mexico, printed by Mexico’s Italian Institute back in

the 1930s. The photographs were something else. As was the 200 Euros price. But there were more.

I love cartography and maps. I saw two gigantic Atlases of Spain circa 1980s, the price of which I was too afraid to ask. I also spotted art book after luxurious art book on Madrid’s Prado museum. About one per decade since 1900. At one point I was Prado’d out. There are other museums in Spain, though, true, none as important, invaluable or famous.

I will be leaving my desk in a little while. I look forward to seeing something new tonight as I stroll home.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Miss California Vs. Gay Marriage

AOG, Madrid

This all started with Carrie Prejean, Miss California, giving her personal views to a question regarding gay marriage posed by Perez Hilton, one of the Miss America judges. Her reply meandered around political correctness for a bit before falling into religious convictions and prejudice.
-one of the

Her views were incipiently homophobic. Since then, many people, in many forums, have defended these views. Others have derided them. Others still have applauded her for "sticking to her views" and "being true to herself", regardless of the fact that they are prejudiced.

I have always been amazed at how we can applaud ignorance and bigotry just because the individual in question is being "true" to themselves and only following religious morals when being homophobic.

We somehow manage not to do the same when they are being racist, although the Bible was used not long ago as a source for justifying racism. I guess that, to many, it is still ok to hate gay people because the Bible says so.

As if that were not enough, this woman has decided to fully oppose gay marriage and protect "traditional" marriage.

The US has the highest divorce rate on Earth. I don"t think this is because of gay marriages. This is just another ploy to further repress gay people under the guise of respectability and tradition.

She and her advisors should be ashamed of themselves. Now more than ever I'm glad this homophobic beauty queen did not win Miss America. How long before she becomes yesterday"s news?

About Video
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