Monthly Archives: April 2008

Food Shortages and Subsidies


With the increase in demand from China for things like meat, milk and rice, we are seeing food prices skyrocket and even food shortages. It’s funny to think that there can be food shortages when governments in Europe and the U.S. heavily subsidize agriculture. In the past twelve months in Spain, for example, the price of milk has increased 30%. Something like 40% of the total EU budget goes to agriculture — that means that consumers are paying twice (first through taxes and second at the cash register).

Nevertheless, there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. If the wealthy nations don’t react quickly and change their agricultural policies, China may just be the opportunity that developing nations in Africa and Latin America have been waiting for to finally be able to compete in a global market.


Filed under Essays

April in Montmartre

One year a later, I spent another April in Paris and also without rain! That’s a real surprise because for the past year, traveling to Paris at least once a month, I think I haven’t had to fortune to live through a single rainless weekend.

But not this weekend. We had a beautiful weekend of sunshine. I tried to capture — unsuccessfully — the wonderful day in Montmartre with another low budget video. This time with Thelonious Monk playing “April in Paris“.


Filed under Digressions, Jazz

I Need a little Break


I think I need to take a short break from the campaign trail. Something is happening, and I am not quite sure exactly why, but it doesn’t sit well in my stomach. It has to do with the turn that the election spin is taking. I am not saying that Hillary is now in the lead or has a real chance of winning. She still has the same chance that she had two months ago — she can only destroy Obama for the general election and that’s about it. But it’s the destruction that seems so unhealthy and astounding — even coming from the Clintons. It also feels hurtful to the nation, and the press is just loving it.


Filed under Essays, Obama 08

Intensity In Crescendo

Last night I went to the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid to see (and hear) my friend, Philippe Raskin, play. Although I had heard him play once before in a quartet setting, this was the first time I got to experience him live on solo piano. The experience blew me away. It was by far the best concert I have ever been to. I wish I had more time now to describe the performance in depth. Unfortunately I don’t, so I’ll be brief. Continue reading

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Filed under Digressions, Friends / Family

Inmate Count in U.S. Dwarfs Other Nations’

Eloy Muñoz Carabanchel

The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population. But it has almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.

Enough said? Read more. (Photo of the abandoned Carabanchel prison by my co-worker, Eloy Muñoz).


Filed under Digressions

Obliteration as Genocide


I am not the only one who has commented on Hillary’s outrageous “obliteration” comments. Robert Scheer has just written an article to the same effect. Continue reading

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Filed under Essays

Déjà Vu All Over Again


You can’t call this a Comeback either. Hillary still can’t win. What is amazing is just how predictable voters are. Each state since Super Tuesday has behaved exactly as the polls and demographics anticipated, with the sole exception that in each state that Hillary was likely to win, Obama cut her lead. Regardless of what it might look like from the photo, it’s not “just like starting over”.

If you’re an Obama-maniac, then you probably feel a little disappointed this morning. But who are you kidding? Things happened as planned. There were really no suprises, even if the press tried to play it like it would be very close (Obama was only able to reduce Hillary’s 25 point lead to a 10 point lead). So if you wonder why Obama can’t close the deal, it’s because Hillary has pledged to stay in the race even if she can’t win. Remember, this race has been dead since March.

Interestingly enough, after all the ugliness in Pennsylvania, the New York Times today published an editorial, “The Low Road to Victory“, essentially un-endorsing Hillary. Maybe her victory today wasn’t so great after all. Continue reading

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Filed under Essays, Obama 08