Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Mixed Bag

IN THE NEWS - didi-didit,da dit dit dit............

Israelis still prefer McCain

In this piece from "Politico" - it appears that someone polled 499 Israelis as to who they favored for US President. McCain overwhelmed Obama with a whopping 38% approval over Obama's flaccid 31%. What they did not say was who got the other 31%. But sources nearby in some van at the Ben Gurion Int'l Airport faxed me that the rest of the respondents stated they wished for Golda Meir to be the US president. That she has been dead for 30 years apparently did not matter to them. As one of them put it, "A dead Israeli could run that country better than a live gentile any day." So far, no comment from Ms Meir has surfaced.

Well I don't know about that. But I guess after what we have had these last 7 plus years, I could see them making that assumption.

What I find interesting is that somehow these 499 Israelis and their opinion even rate a mention. But I guess the influence of 499 Israelis has more impact than 100,000 Germans. It certainly gave me a moment of pause until I realized it was just gas. The moment passed.

Plant Drops Labor Day For Muslim Holiday

A Tyson poultry processing plant has dropped Labor Day as a holiday and replaced it with Eid al-Fitr, which falls on Oct. 1 this year. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. This change was made as part of a union contract negotiation with the plant workers, a majority of whom are Muslims from Ethiopia. Also part of the contract agreement was installation of a prayer room inside the plant so the Muslim faithful could do their thing twice a day.

I find this situation to be well, I cannot really describe how I feel I guess. On one level it saddens me that certain institutions of our country are being nibbled away at. But on the other, it also represents in a microcosm the essence of what this country is about. Majority rule. It points up that this country of immigrants will never be able to settle down to any long run of stable and predictable interactions. The unfortunate or as some would see it fortunate aspect of all this, is our basic rulebook (The Constitution) ensures that we will always being testing ourselves and changing ourselves as times dictate. We have no national identity that has roots going back thousands of years. Our roots change as each wave of newcomers settle in and become part of us. And those of us who claim first fart status have no choice but to whine and complain or deal with it.

A 24 Hour Race Teaser

Pictured here is yours truly pedaling towards the awards tent after last year's 24 hour race in Great Glen, New Hampshire. Barely awake, I am concentrating all the energy I have left on where I am going. Obviously I had given every bit of myself to the team effort. Keith on the other hand has enough energy to smile for the camera. He obviously did not lay it all on the line last year. I will have have to speak to him about it. This year I will insist that no fun will be had by any of us. This is serious business. This racing a mountain bike in the woods for 24 hours. World events hinge on the outcome.

Blue Job on Monday

We expected rain. After what seemed like 6 or 7 days straight of torrential rain, who could blame us. But Lis and I decided to ride Blue Job (Blue J-oh-b) anyway. Screw the rain. Getting wet riding mountain bikes is to be expected. Blue Job is maybe Lis' favorite ride. She had not ridden it in a couple of years. Damn Grad School.

So we headed towards New Hampshire, skirted Rochester and headed out Meadorboro Road to the Reservoir. We always park at the Reservoir. We could park right at the park, but we don't. The 4 mile upstroke to the top from there has become a tradition. It starts off gentle like and in a series of steps becomes a lung busting leg rubberin grunt that can make you want to puke sometimes. But ain't that some fun.

I vowed to ride easy this last week before the 24 hour race. I did not want to hurt myself and put my participation in jeopardy. Of course my body had other plans. A slow greasy technical uphill before the final grunt up caused me to go down hard. My shin hitting a root sounded like a baseball bat punching one out of the park. Felt like it too. No lasting effect, but the memory still makes me wince.

It never rained on us. And once we reached the top we saw this in all directions. A beautiful day where we were and scattered storms all around us. Blue Job is about my favorite high spot close by.


GJG said...

I may not agree with you on political issues, but as a blogger your one of the best. Articulate, knows how to use words. You post pics that compliment your blog, and keep us your readers enthrall--So you were biking to the awards tent-----congratulations

Gary (aka old dude)

American Hill BIlly said...

I liked all of your post. It struck it right on the money. We are a nation of immigrants. There is no cultural base. I will go one step further, and say in my perception it is purposely based, and geared at power, and control. Like in the 80's through 90's all the corporations started shifting huge blocks of people all over the country. Yes, a million rational reasons, but the direct effect was it broke up the smaller communities, and turned the tide of local decisions into the mess we have today. Just my opinion.

I like the B model Mack you got. I want one of those really bad.

Peace and Freedom

Demeur said...

I always get a kick when some ancestor of the pilgrams boasts about being related to the first people in the country. Then an indian coworker will chime in and remind him who his ansestors were waving at when the ship was sailing into the harbor.

Dawn on MDI said...

Nice post. Great collection of bits, all wrapped into one. I was getting cranky that you hadn't posted in a while, but this eases the grumpiness. Nice job.

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

I don't know, folks. I have no problem with what that plant did when negotiating paid days off with its union, but I'm more of a "When in Rome..." person. The slope is more slippery than you think, and before long, traditions and institutions change without the approval of the majority.

The United States went through a fairly long period with relatively little immigration (1910 to 1945). Was the USA a nation of immigrants then? Just how far back does one's ancestry have to go in order not to be an immigrant? How much North American Indian ancestry does one require not to be considered an immigrant?

From the outside looking in, I would say that the USA has a very unique cultural base, one that is worth preserving as much as possible in an unchanged state. When a nation minimizes its cultural base or readily puts its identity and values up for grabs, there are consequences - whether they are intended or not. Multiculturalism has its downside. Cohesion and a sense of shared purpose is diminished; peoples separate into enclaves and treat each other with suspicion; and social norms and values are chipped away until they no longer resemble the original deal.

Just my opinion, submitted respectfully. And I agree with Gary that you have a gift with words - keep up the great writing.

Anonymous said...

"What I find interesting is that somehow these 499 Israelis and their opinion even rate a mention. But I guess the influence of 499 Israelis has more impact than 100,000 Germans. It certainly gave me a moment of pause until I realized it was just gas. The moment passed."

That's a gem, Crummy. A gem. Take a fist-bump from me if ya would.

And I hope you realize you're now on the AIPAC watch list.

BBC said...

To hell with all those political monkeys. It's just the big nuts that have worked their way to the top.

Go hiking or biking or camping or whatever. Just stay out of their way.

A Midnight Rider said...

I was very skeptical about the plant story and the Muslim holy day as part of the union negotiatons. Or any other story for that matter that has political implications.

Snopes gives us the rest of the story which basically says
Originally 80% of the union members voted to accept the change in holidays but several days later the company reached a new agreement that reinstated Labor Day and provided workers with a personal holiday that could be taken for an employees birthday or Eid al-Fitr.

Thank God for unions. This could have been a disaster if left in the hands of management.

A Midnight Rider said...

Acturally in this case. Thank Allah.