Monday, March 21, 2016
Cuba Presidential Visit A Waste Of Time
Obama stood beside President Raúl Castro on Monday and declared a "new day" of openness between the United States and Cuba. For America, the trip resolved nothing. For Obama, a feeble effort to build on a nonexistent legacy and for Cuba, a possibility to increase revenue to the island.
Obama, the first sitting U.S. president to visit Cuba in nearly 90 years, is under pressure from critics at home to push Castro's government to allow political dissent and to further open its Soviet-style economy. Some opponents of the visit say he has already given away too much as he improves ties, with too little from Cuba in return.
Old grievances and disputes over human rights marred a groundbreaking meeting and underscored lingering impediments to a historic thaw.
The two men, meeting at the Revolutionary Palace for the first such official contact between their two governments in more than a half-century, engaged in a frank and at times awkward exchange with each other and reporters.
Obama at turns prodded Mr. Castro to submit to questions during an extraordinary 55-minute news conference. Standing at lecterns in a cavernous granite-walled hall in front of Cuban and American flags, the two leaders traded criticism of each other’s countries even as both said they were committed to continuing on the path to normalizing relations.
Castro said, "Give me a list of the political prisoners and I will release them immediately," when asked by a reporter about dissidents his government has arrested. Castro continued, "Just mention the list. What political prisoners?"
Human rights groups quickly produced rosters, distributed over email and social media, of people they said had been imprisoned in Cuba for demonstrating against or otherwise challenging Mr. Castro’s government.
Mr. Castro sought to turn the human rights criticism on the United States, arguing that countries that do not provide universal health care, education and equal pay are in no position to lecture Cuba. He also said Guantánamo should be returned to Cuba.
Obama said he had pressed the Cuban president in their meeting over Cuba’s treatment of dissidents and reaffirmed that he would meet with some dissidents privately on Tuesday. But he also assured Mr. Castro that the United States had no intention of dictating his country’s future.
Obama said, "I affirm that Cuba’s destiny will not be decided by the United States or any other nation. Cuba is sovereign and rightly has great pride and the future of Cuba will be decided by Cubans, not by anybody else.”
Obama went a step further, in comments likely to be seized upon by critics of his push to pursue an opening with Cuba, conceding that the United States must face up to the criticisms Mr. Castro unleashed.
Obama said, "I actually welcome President Castro commenting on some of the areas where he feels that we’re falling short, because I think we should not be."
Scorecard? Cuba 10, America 2, Obama...... a zero!
The News As I See It: The president of CNN rejected claims that the network has given Donald Trump too much attention, and said he feels no responsibility for the rise of Donald Trump. Makes sense. Just because someone mentions Trump a lot on TV doesn't mean they're responsible for what he does if he's president.
Speaking of trump, he recently said that if he becomes president he'll force Apple to start making its products in the United States. It's great news for anyone who wants to pay $5,000 for an iPhone.
This Date In History: 1556; The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, was burned at the stake as a heretic. 1804; The French civil code, the Code Napoleon, was officially put forth. 1871; Journalist Henry M. Stanley began his trek to find the missionary and explorer David Livingstone.
1960; Police fired on demonstrators in Sharpeville, South Africa, after which the African National Congress was banned. 25 years later, a march marking the anniversary was also disrupted by police fire. 1963; Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay, a harsh maximum security jail which once housed gangster Al Capone, closed.
Picture Of The Day: The "Troops In Review" picture. Can we say an antiquated custom?
Printable Things I Never Told You: 1) Please do not wear flip-flops if your feet look like they could swoop out of the sky and snatch dinner from a lake. 2) Life is better when you can share it with a friend who's just as sick and twisted as you. 3) Next week's clairvoyants meeting has been canceled due to unforeseen events. 4) The seminar on time travel will be held two weeks ago. 5) My friend's goal this year was to learn Spanish. I asked him how long he's been at it and he said, "dos weekos"......and that's five !
Today's Horoscope: Aries - March 21st: Feeding stray cats may seem important to you today in order to get a feeling of self worth and satisfaction. Do be careful of squirrels though, as they have been known to want to nest in your hair. Disregard this warning if you are bald.
Birthdays: Johann Sebastion Bach, German composer and organist 1685, Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier, mathematician and physicist 1768, Benito Juarez, statesman 1806, Modest Mussorgsky, composer 1839, Florenz Ziegfeld, theatrical producer 1869, Phyllis McGinley, poet 1905, Matthew Broderick, actor 1962.
The AREA 51 Retirement Home Bar And Grill: A rather vain woman was sitting in the waiting room for her first appointment with a new dentist. She noticed his DDS diploma on the wall, which bore his full name. Suddenly, she remembered a tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in her high school class some 30-odd years ago. She thought, "Could he be the same guy that i had a secret crush on, way back then?"
Upon seeing him, however, she quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been her classmate. After he examined her teeth, she asked him if he had attended Northmont High School. He gleamed with pride, "Why yes. Yes, I did."
The woman smiled coyly and asked, "When did you graduate?" He answered, "In 1985. Why do you ask?" She said, "You were in my class." He looked at her closely. Then, he asked, "What did you teach?"
Some friends of Murray, a 90-year-old gentleman, decided to get him something special for his birthday. They bought him a hooker. She went to his house and knocked on the door.
Upon opening it. she said "Hi, I am your birthday present." He responded, "What am I supposed to do with you?" She says, "I am yours for super sex." Murray thinks for a second and replies, "I'll take the soup."
The Hits Just Keep On Coming: A pastor was presenting a children's sermon. During the sermon, he asked the children if they knew what the resurrection was. Asking questions during children's sermons is crucial. Asking children questions in front of a congregation can also be very dangerous.
After the sermon, the pastor asked the children if they knew the meaning of the resurrection. A little boy raised his hand. The pastor called on him and the little boy said, "I know that if you have a resurrection that lasts more than four hours you are supposed to call the doctor."
A ragged, old, derelict shuffled into a down and dirty bar. Smelling of whiskey and cigarettes, his hands shook as he took the "Piano Player Wanted" sign from the window, handed it to the bartender and said, "I'd like to apply for the job."
He continued, "I was an F-4 pilot, flying off carriers back in 'Nam, but when they retired the Phantom, all the thrill was gone and soon they cashed me in, as well. I learned to play the piano at Officer's Club happy-hour, so here I am."
The barkeep wasn't too sure about this doubtful looking old guy, but it had been quite a while since he had a piano player and business was falling off. So, why not give him a try?
The seedy fighter-jockey staggered his way over to the piano while several patrons snickered. By the time he was into his third bar of music, every voice was silenced. What followed was a rhapsody of soaring music unlike anything heard in the bar before. When he finished there wasn't a dry eye in the place.
The bartender took the old fighter pilot a beer and asked him the name of the song he had just played. He said, ''It's called 'Drop your Skivvies, Baby, I'm Going Balls To The Wall For You'" After a long drink from the beer, leaving it empty, he added, "I wrote it myself."
The bartender and the crowd winced at the title, but the piano player just went on into a knee-slapping, hand-clapping bit of ragtime that had the place jumping. After he finished, the fighter pilot acknowledged the applause, downed a second proffered mug, and told the crowd the song was called, "Big Boobs Make My Afterburner Light Up."
He then launched into another mesmerizing song and everyone in the room was enthralled. He announced that it was the latest rendition of his song,"Spread 'em Baby, It's Foggy Out Tonight and I Need To See The Centerline", then he excused himself and headed for the bathroom.
When he came out of the bathroom, the bartender went over to him and said, "Hey, fly boy, the job is yours, but do you know your fly is open and your pecker is hanging out?" The old fighter pilot replied, "Know it? Hell, I wrote it!"
That's it for today, my little tootsie rolls. Remember, it may have looked like I was doing crunches but I was just trying to get up.
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More on Wednesday.
Stay Tuned !