What would it take for Russia to be #1?
Posted 13 July 2003 - 09:05 PM
Maybe we need to see it throughout the world...
Ferocious, and funny too
The groundbreaking Mexican political satire "Herod's Law" shines.
By Kenneth Turan, Times Staff Writer
It's probably an exaggeration to say that the celebrated Mexican film "Herod's Law" brought down a government and shook up a political system that had been in place for decades, but if it is hyperbole it's not that far from the truth.
A savvy and savage political satire, "Herod" was the first film to attack Mexico's ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) by name. After having its release nearly sabotaged by the government, the picture was a major hit just months before the landmark 2000 election that removed the PRI from power for the first time in more than 70 years.
Though "Herod's Law" didn't say anything about the PRI that most Mexicans didn't already assume, the energetic and very pointed nature of its satire is hard to resist, as are the zesty performances of its accomplished ensemble cast.
Directed and co-written by Luis Estrada, the film won 10 Ariels, Mexico's Oscars, including director, screenplay and best actor for star Dami?n Alc?zar, and it didn't take those because of its political positions. This is a confident, high-spirited film that knows it's on to something and is determined to make the most of it.
The film takes its title from an aphorism said to rule political life, a profane version of a maxim that can be summarized in a sanitized way as "Do unto others before they have a chance to do the same thing unto you."
Set for safety's sake back in 1949, "Herod" opens with a minor PRI crisis. The tiny hamlet of San Pedro de los Saguaros is temporarily without a mayor, the incumbent having so enraged the long-suffering townspeople that they lopped off his head with a machete. He is the third mayor to have been killed in five years.
Political boss L?pez (the veteran Pedro Armend?riz) needs to find a not-too-bright time-server who will just keep things quiet for the few months until the next election. When he comes across junkyard custodian Juan Vargas (Alc?zar), he is sure he's found his man.
Perpetually in need of a shave, with a wide mustache over a happy-go-lucky grin, Vargas and his wife, Gloria (Leticia Huijara), can't believe his luck at his promotion -- until they actually arrive at San Pedro.
A tiny backwater where the largely Indian population has not learned Spanish because a previous mayor sold everything in the school except the walls (no one wanted those), San Pedro has a priest (Guillermo Gil) who demands on-the-spot payment for blessings. And it has only one thriving business: a brothel run by a feisty madam named Do?a Lupe (Isela Vega).
A true bumpkin who actually believes the PRI's propaganda about its revolutionary heritage and its mantra of bringing "modernity and social justice" to the hinterlands, Vargas initially tries to reform his new community.
But faced with a political and social system that is rife with avarice and gluttonous from top to bottom, Vargas slides into mendacity, almost imperceptibly at first but then with a vengeance that shows him to be the most apt of pupils. Armed with a revolver and a copy of Mexico's laws, described by a superior as a license to mint money, he embraces PRI-sanctioned corruption with an avidity that is breathtaking.
Knowing exactly what he wants out of his capable cast (including director Alex Cox as a thieving American), director Estrada -- who produced and edited in addition to co-writing -- manages to mix comedy with a fierce attack on the price that institutional corruption has extorted from Mexico. A bombshell in its home country, "Herod's Law" is made with the kind of flair that ensures a following everywhere politicians are venal and voters hope against hope for deliverance.
Posted 13 July 2003 - 09:19 PM
Even in what's now the DRVN they complain the party members have more.
In America we know it is true and we don't even bother to complain. That's the next step.
We are ready for step 3 here.
Meanwhile there are windmills to attack.
Posted 13 July 2003 - 09:35 PM
Are you sure Numero Uno is what you seek?
Your worker sees his shoe untied and can take care of the problem before his next break?
You must correct this to become Numero Uno!
How bad do you really want it?
Posted 13 July 2003 - 09:36 PM
That's why we must take that into account and propose *practical solutions* as much as ideas. For example, if we speak about Curitiba, Brazil, either you do what they are doing or you don't. They are doing things in transportation, and tree planting, and having the homeless work in recycling. No BS, no "democracy" or "socialism"...
<Meanwhile there are windmills to attack.>
HOW CERVANTES WAS FOOLED
One day the Lie, which inhabits in the most unbelievable places such as the government and the pulpit, decided that such Don Quixote was a very dangerous enemy because many others could follow his example... This way in the famous occasion when the noble knight was about to attack the Bad Giants, the Lie revealed himself to Cervantes as windmills...
And that's how from then on more than one revolutionary was frustrated for fear of being called crazy...
Posted 13 July 2003 - 10:09 PM
Oh, the 'spaghetti revolution'... that's what we want, something that we can eat or drink or something, not words.
<Are you sure Numero Uno is what you seek?>
Yeap, the Numero Uno spaghetti in the world. Or do we have a better symbol for Russia? What's the most popular dish, drink in Russia?
<How bad do you really want it?>
Well, the little people want something they can eat and taste and smell...
We only need the 'juice' to go with the 'sauce' now.
The Guarapo Revolution...
Posted 13 July 2003 - 10:38 PM
I'd give the following society a 7, the poor countries a 1, America a 3, and Europe a 5. What not aim for a 10 though?
PS: Where's Mach?
An equal society?
In Norway we today in a rich and smoothly functioning society where few people fall outside the safety net of national insurance and pension schemes when they find they are unable to provide for themselves. Thanks to pension schemes, sickness benefits and national insurance benefits very few people live in dire poverty today. And we have rights in the workplace that many people in other countries no doubt envy, with respect to protection against dismissal, the opportunity to take care of our children and the opportunity to divide the workload between men and women.
We also live in a culture where women have a prominent position and where the general attitude is that nothing that is possible for a man is impossible for a woman. Other cultures may even find Norwegian women somewhat mannish due to their open and direct way of dealing with others.
At the same time our enlightened and equalized society has a flip-side, and that is that even though women have broken every barrier and entered every male bastion, the work women do is on the whole not valued as highly as the man's. Our highly regulated society has not been completely successful in creating a framework in which the care-giving tasks traditionally carried out by women alone are equally divided between women and men or provided by professions in a completely satisfactory manner.
It has been said that as long as men do not and are not expected to participate as much on the home front as women are now doing in public life, we will not have real quality in Norwegian society. We could add that as long as it is more difficult for a women than for a man to get a top job, then Norway is not making full use of its human resources.
But if we compare ourselves with other countries,it's easy to see that we've come a long way.
Posted 13 July 2003 - 10:49 PM
I call him the first 'entrepreneur' of the Americas. They found a paradise but they only had eyes for gold. The conquistadores provided the sword and the Church obliged with the cross.
The biggest lie in the history of mankind.
It must have been beautiful indeed to see those indians in their natural habitat--not only because they were naked:)--but because they were free.
Posted 13 July 2003 - 10:56 PM
The Hispanic lions only.
"Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress" - Chapter 1
from Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States : 1492 - Present, Revised and Updated Edition, (New York: HarperCollins, 1995) - by permission
Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island's beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:
They...brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned...They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features....They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane...They would make fine servants....With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.
These Arawaks of the Bahama Islands were much like Indians on the mainland, who were remarkable (European observers were to say again and again) for their hospitality, their belief in sharing. These traits did not stand out in the Europe of the Renaissance, dominated as it was by the religion of popes, the government of kings, the frenzy for money that maked Western civilization and its first messenger to the Americas, Christopher Columbus.
As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts.
The information that Columbus wanted most was: Where is the gold? He had persuaded the king and queen of Spain to finance an expedition to the lands, the wealth, he expected would be on the other side of the Atlantic - the Indies and Asia, gold and spices.
Posted 13 July 2003 - 11:06 PM
What it typically does is punish the present and future for wrongs of the past which none of them had a thing to do with!
Women are now moving up here but it is hard to respect their accomplishment when a government that doesn't even do it itself says it must happen.
Posted 13 July 2003 - 11:13 PM
I noticed the utter BS on your DOL webpage. Nice that you showed the 5% or so who would gain from Bush's 'war on America' and failed to note the 95% who would lose.
Nice $400 tax decrease. Do you fkn people think we are that stupid??
Equals $5-10,000 in lost overtime?
What is your salary dear?
Posted 13 July 2003 - 11:18 PM
True. These are however the "problems" women are faced with in Norway...
Cash benefits versus day care centres
The family of every one and two-year old who does not attend a day care centre receives a sum of 36,000 NOK (approx. euro 4,700) - per year . The sum is rather less if the child attends a centre with shorter hours, which thus is not so subsidized. The aim is to give the parents of young children the possibility, both economically and practically, to take care of their children themselves - rather than sending them to a day care centre.
Women's organisations, the more radical political parties and parts of the trade union movement protested vehemently when the then government of Christian Democrats and Conservatives introduced the scheme. They claimed that it would tear down much of what the fight for equality had achieved during the last 30 years and make it impossible to fulfil the goal of day care centres for all cgildren by the turn of the century.
And what has happened? Analyses made so far show that three out of four children in the relevant age group receive a cash benefit. However, the parents are not working much less. One in five working mothers is now on shorter hours and a third of this number have become full time mothers. Only 4 per cent of those receiving cash benefits are men. Of the 95,000 who work full day in the home, only 2,000 are men.
An unintentional effect of the new scheme is that families with one- and two-year-olds can use the cash benefit to pay au pairs or childminders to take care of the children while both parents continue to work. Whether very small children are better off with a childminder than in a properly regulated day nursery is a matter of opinion. One of the goals of the previous Labour Government was to shrink the market for unauthorized childminders who work for wages that go largely unreported. The authorities are also working to regulate private childcare providers by facilitating the opening of small publicly subsidized day nurseries in private homes.
Nevertheless, the goal of providing every child with a place in a day nursery has by no means been achieved. At the turn of the millennium only 77 per cent of 3-7 year olds and 37 per cent of 1-2 year olds had places in day nurseries.
QUESTION: By what year Republicans--or Democrats--will provide this?
Posted 13 July 2003 - 11:25 PM
The problems arise when a system brought forth by a particular government doesn't bear much fruit, even when used to its fullest. The nationalization of the Banks in Mexico in the 80s is one such example. It didn't stop the outflow of dollars across the border, as the government said it would, and eventually helped bring down the PRI party.
Nixon's try at price fixing in the early 70s was another example of a system that was basically fruitless, and thus abandoned soon thereafter.
Posted 13 July 2003 - 11:40 PM
I think most goverments are caught in a rut. They are hesitant to implement policies, and to take them back.
Look at this interesting article. Women got a problem for lack of day nurseries, but the goverments keep pouring money on the elderly--because they vote? Only Scandinavia seems to have it right.
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