Thursday, November 30, 2006

Oaxaca Update

highwayscribery wanted to translate and rely the dispatch of correspondents of Mexico City's left-wing "La Jornada," on the breaking of the rebellion in Oaxaca.

Starting two days ago the federal government sent police into the capital city to do away with the rebellion of indigenous people, a teachers union, and other grass roots groupings hoping to oust the state's crooked governor, Ulises Ruiz.

Signs of what is to come under President-Elect Felipe Calderon's rule began surfacing with his appointment of Francisco Ramirez Acuna as Secretary of Internal Security. Acuna, "La Jornada" says, represents, "the hard hand, the forces of order, and institutionalized violence."

The government of outgoing President Vicente Fox announced two days ago that the time of tolerance had ended in Oaxaca.

As highwayscribery's treatment("Mexico: A Shabby Dialectic," Nov. 27)of a piece by Enrique Krauze made clear, the respectable people were calling for the imposition of order by violence as a sign Calderon meant business.

The federal government proceeded to step up patrols of paramilitary police units who have been arresting advocates of the Assembly of Popular Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), the prime political force behind this fascinating Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ) that, by all means, must be broken by the forces of order.

Those arrested are being shipped to other parts of the country and the radio station at the Autonomous University Benito Juarez of Oaxaca, the informational pulse of the takeover, has already been emptied of dreamers.

The last significant barricade, at Cinco Senores, has been dismantled and the folks who led the six-month rebellion are running for their lives.

In the Congressional chamber in Mexico City, deputies from the leading parties of right and left are camped out on the podium where Calderon is to be annointed tomorrow, with blankets and pillows, singing a capella renditions of classic Mexican songs.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Billy We Hardly Knew Ye

Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist announced that he was junking his plans to run for president.

Frist’s bail-out was a natural by-product of the Nov. 7 Bush-buster election. A senator of little import, the Bushies picked him to run the “sweetest little club in world” according to their usual criteria of loyalty to the family creed and mediocrity.

He couldn’t even deliver on those, pulling the rug out from Bush on stem cell research with an eye to his presidential run, and failing to be even mediocre in steering GOP legislation to the (p)resident’s desk.

Like Dan Quayle’s, Frist’s rise was quirky and unnatural, as the administration dispatched with the party’s organic pecking order in search of someone who looked good on paper (doctor instead of lawyer), but was dull enough not to outshine the guy at the top. Once the guy on top was gone, or in this case de-fanged, each was left hanging in the wind with naught but a fancy title on their resume to show for doing the Kennedybunkport shuffle.

Frist will not be missed, because we hardly knew he was there. Bush stands a better chance of getting something out of the Democrats whom, however many their flaws, come prepared to govern rather than to obstruct and de-fund.

During his tenure Frist oscillated between absent and demagogic. His shameful rush to the stage in the GOP production of the “Terry Schiavo Story” helped seal his fate and that of the party as a bunch who shot first and let God sort it out.

The American people were more patient and deliberate in coming to judgement. Frist’s drop from the presidential sweepstakes is evidence of their final verdict.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Washington Post GlobalChat

Today we invite you to click on the talking heads and go over to Washington Post GlobalChat.

The question Tuesday was: From where you write, who's gaining power in the world, who's losing it, and who is coming in fast from the outside?
- David Ignatius and Fareed Zakaria

the highway scribe's answer: Working concentrically outward, highwayscribery reports that in-close, the whole arc of artists and café lifestyle types are feeling pretty chipper. “Looney left” in opposition to the war, right on almost every score, a lot of people owe them an apology. Folks the world over, meanwhile, thank them – whether it’s a resolution in the European Parliament or the headline of a cheeky British daily – for six years of activism, anger, desperate filibustering, and opposition to the prophets of shock and awe.

Not too sure whether to place a resurgent China next to a sinking U.S., because the boundaries and borders mean very little. Both propose economic schemes based on old paradigms of perpetual expansion and devoured resources. Rather than different, Red Capital and Wall St., represent a kind of hermaphrodite juicing the same seamy system. China rises only with the help of the wanton profiteering from its ostensible “enemy.”

The left-wing. Why not? You won’t read it in “The Economist”, but Berlusconi’s out, Pelosi’s in, British Labor is holding fast, and Zapatero is quietly revolutionizing Spain. In Latin America, Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua (sort of), Brazil, and now they tell us, Ecuador have all turned to the sinister hand. The loser here is globalization, that strange configuration the people of the world were told was inevitable, and which has left them more insecure economically, but blessed with a variety of consumer choices they can’t really afford.

Moises Naim’s request for thought on the role of microplayers, “from Al-Qaeda to You Tube” seems a bit widely cast, but we think big media’s losing out, even as it grows, or the highway scribe wouldn’t be sitting here, a benighted GlobalMaven, writing on world affairs in a bathrobe. the scribe doesn’t mean losing profits, because the enemy (bloggers, video-makers, do-it-yourself novelists) aren’t moved so much by those demands (desires?).

What big media may be losing is control over national and international narratives. At lower levels, in boutique niches, and on PostGlobal chat, Kurdish nationalists are taking over the alternative media forms, infusing their passion into a world story that had previously excluded them.

(the bit about the Kurdish nationalists is an inside joke for folks who frequent GlobalChat. They sort of hijacked a discussion a month or so ago).

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mexico: A Shabby Dialectic

Today we engage in two of highwayscribery’s favorite pastimes: the first, interspersing the highway scribe’s musings with those of a more accomplished and renowned thinker/writer, in this case Mexico’s Enrique Krauze; and second, indulging the topic of Mexico, which is covered with regularity on this Web log.

Just scroll and click around for a while and you’ll see analyses of Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) promising and progressive candidacy , the
tension-filled presidential election this summer, and on through the rebellion in Oaxaca.

Krauze’s piece ran in the “Washington Post” the other day (okay, let’s check), Nov. 25, and although the scribe has pithy stuff to say for everything that came before it, he’s in complete agreement with Enrique Krauze’s concluding paragraph, which explains why we spend so much time on Mexico around here.

“The United States would do well,” he writes, “to remember that there is a country, not on the Persian Gulf but on the Gulf of Mexico, that has taken a giant step toward political maturity in the space of just one generation – and has done so practically without historical experience. And it would do well to find tangible, direct ways to support Mexico’s economy, just as the European Union supported Spain.”

The article, “What’s at stake in Mexico City,” takes on AMLO’s declaration of himself as the legitimate president of Mexico.

Held on the anniversary of the Mexican revolution, the event represented, “an alliance between the pre-modern and the anti-modern in a postmodern spectacle” that is going to lead to ALL HELL BREAKING LOSE IN MEXICO!

At this point, says Krauze, AMLO has lost a lot of support among original backers, but has a lot of love from “public employee unions, black market peddlers, unofficial taxi drivers, and hundreds of radical groups.”

His tone suggests this panorama is repugnant to the respectable people of Mexico who lord it over this angry army, but from an anarcho-syndicalist perspective, it represents something of a natural historical progression in the organization of human society.

the scribe likes this article for the way it dissects López Obrador’s movement. Krauze writes that this rabble is paid by the Mexico City municipal administration, run by López Obrador’s political organization, the Partido Democrático Revolucionario (PRD), which sort of says it all.

This may be abhorrent to Krauze and to people who run stock markets and live from them -- even to the humble merchants on the streets AMLO’s army acts to ostensibly protect -- but it is supremely democratic in that it places government at the behest of those who are oppressed by the big people.

Government, if you have to have it, should serve as a counterbalance to the lords of the manner.

The movement’s goal, Krauze says, is nothing short of forcing the resignation of the guy who beat AMLO out for the presidency in the dark days of July, Presidente-elegido, Felipe Calderón.

The way these “soft” revolutionaries (Krauze’s word) plan to achieve this, is by using these rebels-at-the-public-trough to shut down important parts of Mexico City and the country in general.

highwayscribery sees naught but more legitimate, if nettlesome, democratic action (Situationists Unite!). Krauze, a better burgher, sees the rule of law’s subversion, which is a nice riff if there were any kind of rule of law in Mexico.

James Cooper’s article in the “San Diego Union-Tribune,” Nov. 27, "Slow Road to Legal Reforms in Mexico," describes a legal system, that is not a system at all, and the deserved object of subversion.

The ongoing obstruction of Calderon’s efforts at governance, “might try to replicate what’s been happening over the past six months in Oaxaca, where a revolutionary group of teachers, infiltrated by the residual guerilla forces that have always existed in the mountains of southeastern Mexico, has been reenacting on a small scale the scripts of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution.”

Krauze, author of “Mexico: Biography of Power” and editor of the famous “Letras Libres” literary review, is smarter than the scribe, but may be offline in this characterization.

highwayscribery, finally attuned to such things, sees a classic syndical maneuver marrying union structures and civic organizations, impossible without consent of the grass-roots governed, in a not-unwarranted expression of action by a people tired of waiting.

Krauze thinks Calderón should apply a “restricted, legitimate use of force,” (whatever that means), but fears the student massacre of 1968 makes such a solution a sticky proposition.

As such, Calderón’s resignation at the hands of the mob is not likely, “but not impossible.”

That’s why repression doesn’t pay, rather passes the bill along. And that bill’s due in old Méjico.

Krauze has little truck for why these crazies all over the country exist, and portrays López Obrador as a kind of head without body, declaiming his own messianism without the benefit of loyal multitudes he produces hither and thither.

Of course, if they all went home, AMLO would have to go home, too. Krauze has no solution for sending them home except to place Mexico’s burden on them, as if they didn’t have enough to worry about.

Having been screwed out of an election and had its deputies beaten by federal police outside the Congress, the PRD should now suck it up for the GOOD OF MEXICO.

“In this regard,” Krause writes, “the left bears the greatest responsibility, especially that part of the left with ties to the PRD in the Federal District government and various state governments, the representatives and senators of Congress, and a multitude of journalists, academics, and intellectuals. These people need to distance themselves from the caudillo and modernize their ideological platform along the line of European democracy.”

Or what?

The forced resignation of Calderón and the assumption of power by proclamation, “that ritual out of the Mexican past.”

The very recent past.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Liquid Life (installment four)


The next Sunday I have Elendele over for dinner. Mine is a romance strategy and she figures it, and avoids it, as I hand her a blue rose for which I have sullied certain dearly held values to obtain.

"Cherish it as you do the bitter wines in your many empty cellars of love."

"Speaking of wines," she bounces back, "I am in a drinking mood tonight."

Had I known her better then, it would not have struck me as so strange at how she was nonplussed at my table set for two on the rooftop with candles and cocaine on a cracked mirror that was once my grandmother’s.

"This skyline," she says, "bores me. It’s nothing like the neon heaven in the desert of Dallas." She keeps avoiding contact with the juice nuances moored on the harbors of my eyes. She end-runs the issue of love many times with an absurd discourse on the ramifications of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.

Investigation into her past was revealing little. She said she was an actress although that was not her main area of focus. In fact, she didn’t have one. She had tried to squeeze some unemployment insurance when she first came to town by claiming to be thespian of choice for a Spanish director named Tierno Galvan, whom nobody had ever heard of.

She wanted into that world, but her skills and training gleaned from roots in a radical family kept her employed as an activist for justices, both large and small. Things taught her to be correct by teachers both inside and out of the classroom.

She made much of her being a poet. Her work wasn’t great, but a brief sampling given then revealed that she read certain of them very well. There was one delicate and trembling thing, written about an old someone who’d cut her from here-to-here, something about them having taken her to his highs and lows she’s forever been trying to get back to, finding success only with the latter. She could recite it without even looking at the paper.

She painted for me the portrait of an Elendele born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the army brat of an army brat, "with an emphasis on ‘brat’." The formative years were smothered in prayer at a Catholic girls school, in a decadent district of Seville, behind crumbling castle walls.

"There," she remarked, "I learned of the coming crisis in social values everywhere."
Then she does the cocaine with a certain degree of enthusiasm. Most of it. Quickly.

"Then I escape," she silly-ed up.

"To where?"

"To Mars."

So I asked, to throw her off, what color it was when she got there, but she was perfectly apace. She was so soft and cooed at me, "I didn’t look at the colors. Just the people, and I liked them. They weren’t selfish and they cared a little about each other. I mean, they were materialistic, they liked to have nice things around, but they were okay. There weren’t selfish, like I said. And then I left and came to this place, which makes it harder to forget."

Trevor was right about the drug choice. "Try coke on her," he’d said. "That’ll bring out the mother in her. That’ll get her milky to ya."

I get a little milky, too. We stare at each other and sniffle our noses and smile sort of giggly. Elendele, it seems to me, is getting hot and spicy. It looks like she rubs her sopping self against the table leg. I "hmmm" her under my breath and she "hmmms" me back with a smile. I shudder at this crosstable connection.

As she looks away at a rusty rooftop antennae, some quick, sad film runs cross her eyes. She’s having an earthquake no Richter scale’s gong to measure. Sudden she lightens brightly, "Look. This has got to stop before it even gets going. You’re a nice guy," she accuses – an ugly twisting of her drunken lippy mouth ensuing. "I’m unclaimed.."

Yeah. This word play must be her way in and it heats me up. She can see this and continues with earnest thrust.

"Did I mention I’m addicted to Maria? That she’s my lady lover?"

She tries to out-shallow me, but I confess to my only interest being her little shadow face, that we are not talking about futures here.

Moved by my sprightliness she flares her nostrils and bares down harder. "My kisses do nothing but damage. And I don’t say that proudly."

"Damage me."

"They’re a death sentence and you’ve committed no crime against me, yet, Dominique."

She was declaiming again. "Don’t do the obvious thing. Trust me, I have nothing to offer you that Dante hasn’t written about. You really can’t imagine what I mean, but trust me."

"My imagination may be more vivid than you imagine."

My head is wine-soaked and full of hellfire now. "I supposed you want to be friends.

That cursed title bestowed upon the eunuchs and masculine housemaids of all history. Forget it Elendele."

Now I’m blinded by sudden blood thumpings from my heart outward to anatomical locations still uncharted on the arrogant map of science. Lust in the realm of the possible.

"Forget it," I charge again, "I’m no part-timer. I sign a full-term contract and I collect my fringe benefits, or I walk. Your friendship…you friendship is not worth the air it sails away on."

She slaps me with the hand of a frost maiden and an icicle drips from one corner of one eye. "Then walk," she hisses, sidewinding her way down the stairs, to lose herself in her lostness, along some street with a flower for a name.

No job, no certified date of birth, I could have offered her things. I could’ve told her that. I could have tried harder, but simply sat surmising that the drive to screw up her life was stronger than my own same urge.

Afterward, trying to relieve my despondency, friends told me to find someone new. I couldn’t explain how there was nothing newer.


That very next Tuesday, Elendele tracks me down and tells me over the phone she misses me. She’s an open invitation to come over and have some fun.

"This is my step-sister," sizzles lavender from her tongue, upon my late arrival to the salon – which is what she insists it be called. There’s incense in the air, sen-sen on the step-sister’s breath.

"Hello Dominique," says the step-sister who has the same kind of whiskey drunk whore voice Elendele has, but duller at the edges. And her features are less sharp, and she weighs more, but in a healthy way. She smells like Indian tiger and orchids mixed together and she turns my ordered universe a jungle. Sets me free of my reason tree.

Elendele stakes her claim then. Brings my face to face with hers. Tells me she’d had a good time when were last together.

(Well you little…)

She gives my eyes a good read. Tones the hue of her down to the video girl look and insinuate right back at me, "Yes I am your little, ever-loving, beloved bitch. Your beloved love dove bitch," and she tingles me, gives me her neck of an arrogant , semi-chocolate swan to kiss, and then pulls away to hide behind her curls.

"Hey you guys" softs the step-sister. She is honeycombed, full of syrup inside her and ready to spread it around with a kiss. I am prepared, back-stiffened, but she kisses Elendele for a long time, instead. The camera click of their parted lips flicked and left me shuddered for a long half-minute.

Step-sisters, you see.

"Oh, thank you Elendele. He’s perfect."

"Clean too!" says the blue poet. "He’s Catholic, undersexed, and fresh."

Fresh indeed, were the moments following that lesson on the virtues and manifold uses of blueberry butter given me by the two shameless charlatans, ambassadors from some vast land without conscience.

Fresh, too was the bolero. Husky were its clarinets that afternoon to which the sun was not invited. Fresh was the incest that floated the surface water of the tub we three shared.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

South of the Border Again

Maybe the highway scribe was wrong to sign off after the Mexican elections, backing off on his prediction that ALL HELL WAS GOING TO BREAK LOOSE IN MEXICO.

It was hard to visualize how the losing left-wing guy, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) was going to make good on his promise to declare himself legitimate president of Mexico and get enough lunatics to show up and cheer him on.

But there you have the pictures and also a nice “L.A. Times” article about how he’s held onto his supporters and juiced them with this latest bit of political theater.

And not only that, it's not so crazy at seems because, according to the piece, because others have done so in Mexico before.

the scribe suspects AMLO's job of making Mexico ungovernable is going to be a lot easier than presidente-elegido Felipe Calderon’s task, which is just the opposite.

And here’s an article picked up by the “San Diego Union-Tribune,” about how...well ALL HELL IS GOING TO BREAK LOOSE IN MEXICO.

highwayscribery never found a way to link what was going on in Oaxaca to the larger question of the election, although while down in San Diego two weeks ago, some protestors camped out on the Mexican consul’s doorstep told him so.

It was a question of how to propose the piece, of its place in highwayscribery’s overall coverage.

None of which you care about.

But S. Lynne Walker of Copley News Service cornered one academic who said, “Oaxaca is the price for winning the elections.”

the scribe crazy, but if there was a price to pay for taking power, doesn’t that imply something must have gone wrong during the voting and tallying?

Walker was permitted unusual latitude in the Copley story, calling the election rife with “so many irregularities” when, during Lopez Obrador’s occupation of central Mexico City, it was considered by many to be the “cleanest election in generations.”

Maybe international capital is having buyer’s remorse; realizing Obrador’s succession to power was a natural step in the country’s civic development and that repressing it has made Mexico a less worthwhile place to invest.

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

the scribe wrote Walker and protested her having referred to the slain Brad Will as a “reporter-activist,” which seemed to us a disqualifier as much as a qualifier.

Brad was a reporter, like all reporters, and was activist to the extent the profession is activist.

She never answered and if we weren’t in such a good mood about the most recent review of “Vedette” (see post below), we’d rain the full thunder and fury of highwayscribery down upon her.

The rebellion in Oaxaca is covered well in her piece and the violence of Mexican drug lords is given equal weight, suggesting Calderon may have bought a pig in a poke staked, as he will be, to the lowly job of restoring order and rule of law to a country in short supply of both.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A New Review of "Vedette"

The Historical Novel Society just published its review of the highway scribe's novel "Vedette or Conversations with the Flamenco Shadows."

Vedette: or Conversations with the Flamenco Shadows
Stephen Siciliano, iUniverse, Inc., 2004, $21.95, pb, 369pp, 0595315119

On the surface, Vedette is the tale of a girl who grows and matures through the tumultuous times of the Spanish Revolution. The novel follows Vedette from her humble peasant origins to flamenco singer and dancer and ultimately to being the sole survivor of an idealistic, but doomed, revolutionary movement.

Vedette is more than a protagonist. She is a metaphor of all the ideals of Andalusia and embodies the diversity of cultures, the music, the contradictions, and the simmering passion that characterizes the region. She moves in the story as a muse and a catalyst of events far beyond the reaches of a normal woman.

The author has made this more of an immersive experience than a simple novel. The book includes hand-drawn illustrations of objects in the story, poetry, song lyrics, Spanish idioms, and a musical CD which was included with the review copy. The author uses the dreamy hallucinatory imagery of magical realism against the harsh and gruesome realities of revolution to create a captivating dynamic that will jar and interest readers. The novel remains apolitical for the most part, telling the tale of a revolution through sensual experience instead of political discourse.

Masterfully, the author weaves together a vibrant world that touches on the fantastic around the experiences of Vedette. The metaphors are tight and well constructed throughout the novel, though the imagery and pacing are a little slow on occasion. Overall the story is engrossing, and in the end, haunting, as it addresses history and the passage of time.

Amanda Yesilbas


Also... Vedette has changed the music on her My Space Page to Omar Torrez and the scribe's "Marfil's Furious Salsa." (p. 275 in your book).

Four More

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Ontario Soldier

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Sgt. 1st Class Rudy A. Salcido of Ontario, CA:

"Losing members of our nation's armed forces is a painful reminder of the sacrifices made for our freedoms. Maria and I wish to express our deepest sympathies to Rudy's family, friends and fellow soldiers. He died with honor and we will remember his service with gratitude."

Salcido, 31, died Nov. 9 as a result of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his convoy vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 1114th Transportation Company, Bakersfield, CA.

In honor of Sgt. 1st Class Salcido, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Pacoima Soldier

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Sgt. Angel De Jesus Lucio Ramirez of Pacoima, CA:

"As a proud member of the United States armed forces, Sgt. Ramirez set an example of courage and determination that all Californians can admire. Maria and I offer our deepest condolences to Angel's loved ones during their time of mourning. His courageous example will live on in our hearts."

Ramirez, 22, died Nov. 11 as a result of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 16th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Giessen, Germany.

In honor of Sgt. Ramirez, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of La Puente Marine

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Lance Cpl. Mario D. Gonzalez of La Puente, CA:

"Lance Cpl. Gonzalez stood proudly beside his fellow Marines and served his country with courage and honor. Maria and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to Mario's family and friends. His contributions are the embodiment of selfless service and California is forever indebted."

Gonzalez, 21, died Nov. 14 as a result of injuries sustained while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

In honor of Lance Cpl. Gonzalez, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Placentia Soldier

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Pfc. Jang H. Kim of Placentia, CA:

"Pfc. Kim risked his life to protect the freedoms of millions of Americans. Jang's loved ones have lost a devoted family member and our country has lost a valiant soldier. Maria and I send our thoughts and prayers to his family during this painful time."

Kim, 20, died Nov. 13 as a result of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations in Baghdad, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Schweinfurt, Germany.

In honor of Pfc. Kim, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

"The Liquid Life" (third installment)

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At work the next day, Danny Deagon, a co-worker and buddy of mine, tells me he saw me with a girl at the Viet Nam flick.

“You should have come up and talked with me. I wasn’t having the greatest time anyway.”

“I know,” he concurs. “Those movies are getting to be tired; to be all the same. Not for nothing,” he observes anew, “but there was something about that girl with you. I can’t solve her puzzle. I’m not prejudiced or anything, but what do you know about that girl? There’s something dirty about that girl. Something cathouse. I just can’t figure it.”

He upfluffed my fire with his careless, stinking gas. I swept up the walls, then burned back down. I crackled.

“I don’t know about you Mr. Clean, but I have been some places in my life I am glad there were no cameras. I’d imagine you’re no altar boy either,” and cleared out of there without myself.

The next day he was all apologies and compromise.

“Listen Dominique, what I said yesterday was half jealousy. That girl’s beautiful man; beautiful beyond the concept of mass production.”

“Thanks,” I said, unsure if that was a compliment or not, “but don’t make up any other stuff. It’s me who should be sorry.”


At the strangest, yet most correct times it seems she will come to see me; not demanding to own or be owned. She will come to me when no one will dance with me no matter how sexy. When I step up all grimy and tired, but unable to sleep. My mind full of distractions and lying dreams fading oh-so-fast. When I step up from the basements and warehouses and hidden dirty places all closed and without anymore dancing. Or the next endless night of good fortune and perfect spontaneity that none of us can ever count on or plan correctly.

They happen when they happen and she will tell me so, drawing the curtain of my mind closed to smooth my forehead full of solutions to all the world’s big problems. And then…and then…she will tell me with a mouth my own quivers to meet…. “Aspire to be a God.”

A God! I despair and sink in her chest while the sun, all orange and full of history we want to know rises before us. Two hopeless aspiring deities on a filthy balcony of cacophony and scattered cat whiskers.

“Yes! A God!” she will say to me. “One with strong abdomen filled with bile and jealousy for me, only me. What else is there for you to be?” she takes a crack a reason. Any indecision on our part will be the double undoing she cautions, because, “One can only be special for a moment, and you have to snatch that moment for yourself in a vicious way before the cancers that kill everyone makes us modern and kill us, too.” That I must move quickly. “Please!” she screams so full of real fear as to shake coyotes out from their musty hillside lairs…

“Aspire to be a God. Not a student. Not a philosopher. Not an owner of boats, beach houses, or bookcases filled with news of May Days or plays that are better acted out to be understood than simply being red in bed.”

Or when I come up again and alone from those same sewers and basements she is only understanding and whispers in confidence, “Don’t worry. Whoever she was, she loved you. How could it be otherwise?”

What I mean to say is, she gave easily.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Corporal Powell and Lance Corporal Brown

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Camp Pendleton Marine

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Cpl. Jose A. Galvan of San Antonio, TX:

"Serving in our nation's armed forces is a dangerous yet noble cause. Cpl. Galvan committed himself to protecting the United States and made the ultimate sacrifice for our safety. Maria and I will keep Jose's family in our prayers as they grieve this terrible loss."

Galvan, 22, died Nov. 5 as a result of injuries sustained while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, CA.

In honor of Cpl. Galvan, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Sacramento Marine

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Lance Cpl. Timothy W. Brown of Sacramento, CA:

"California has lost a valiant service member. Lance Cpl. Brown lost his life while serving our country abroad. Maria and I send our deepest condolences to Timothy's family, friends and fellow Marines that served alongside him."

Brown, 21, died Nov. 14 as a result of injuries sustained while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.

In honor of Lance Cpl. Brown, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Camp Pendleton Marine

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Cpl. Kyle W. Powell of Colorado Springs, CO:

"Cpl. Powell, who died in the defense of freedom, deserves our gratitude for his patriotic service and ultimate sacrifice. Maria and I send our condolences to Kyle's family. We must never forget the vigilance required to defend our freedoms at home and abroad."

Powell, 21, died Nov. 4 as a result of injuries sustained while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, CA.

In honor of Cpl. Powell, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

New Stuff to Cover!

The press is in a wrist flapping dither over its new plaything Nancy Pelosi, and they aren't playing very nice. Here's Bob Novak with a predicatable trashing.

Another in the "New York Times" has one Republican legislator saying they're all (what's left of them) just giddy over the Dems' "self-destructing."

Republicans see an election and call it self-destruction, except in Iraq, where it truly is.

The press can be forgiven for playing the GOP's tune on this one, it's been a long time since they've covered anything as open and sloppy and exciting as a Democratic party hashing out its leadership.

It's been six long years of pre-fab events with pre-chosen attendants stage-managed by a party that sleeps with its boys and orders everybody to pray.

The Dems, progressives in general, are an open bunch and the fact an election for leadership was "hotly" contested does not make them less of a political party than that dysfunctional family sans facade across the aisle.

Yes Pelosi lost a vote.

Therein the two contrary impulses to American political life represented by one party that follows its leader off a cliff, and the other, which spanks its leader up front and out in the open.

(the scribe borrowed that "wrist flapping dither" line from Jody Powell, former press secretary for President Carter, who was employed as syndicated Op-ed writer in better days for the newspaper business)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Get Together

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Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Placentia Soldier

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Pvt. Michael P. Bridges of Placentia, CA:

"Pvt. Bridge's sacrifice is an example of the bravery and determination that makes our armed forces strong. Maria and I will keep Michael's family in our thoughts and prayers. We join with all Californians in expressing our deepest condolences to this fallen soldier's loved ones."

Bridges, 23, died Nov. 2 as a result of non-combat related incident in Taji, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, TX.

In honor of Pvt. Bridges, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Modesto Soldier

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Staff Sgt. Joseph A. Gage of Modesto, CA:

"Serving in the armed forces is a noble calling with grave risks. Staff Sgt. Gage courageously assumed those risks and gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Maria and I wish to send our sympathies to Joseph's family, friends and fellow soldiers as they mourn his loss."

Gage, 28, died Nov. 2 as a result of injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle in Baghdad, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, KY.

In honor of Staff Sgt. Gage, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of San Diego Soldier

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Staff Sgt. Richwell A. Doria of San Diego, CA:

"Maria and I have the strongest admiration for the men and women of our armed forces as they put their lives on the line to defend democracy and freedom. Staff Sgt. Doria's loss is a painful reminder of the important work our soldiers do at home and abroad. Our hearts go out to Richwell's family as they suffer the extraordinary loss of their loved one."

Doria, 25, died Nov. 7 as a result of injuries sustained from small arms fire during an air assault mission in Kirkuk, Iraq. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Regiment, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.

In honor of Staff Sgt. Doria, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

In honor of these people the scribe links you to The Youngbloods' "Come Together".

It's in the hopeful spirit engendered by the recent elections and in the spirit of the coming season.

Love is but a song we sing
and fear's the way we die,
You can make the mountains ring
or make the angels cry.
Tho' the bird is on the wing
and you may not know why.

C'mon people, now
smile on your brother,
everybody get together
try to love one another right now.

Some will come and some will go
and we shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
returns for us at last
We are but a moment's sunlight
fading in the grass.

C'mon people, now
smile on your brother,
everybody get together,
try to love one another right now.

If you hear the song I sing
you will understand
You hold the key to love and fear
in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them, both,
it's there at your command.

C'mon people now
smile on your brother
everybody get together
try to love one another.

Monday, November 13, 2006

"Washington Post" Global Chat

We did not run an installation of "The Liquid Life" over the weekend because the scribe wanted to be sure his post on the past elections was not missed by visitors to highwayscribery. The novela will return on Friday with a double dollop.

We open the week with the scribe's contribution to the "Washington Post" GlobalChat forum. The morning question was:

After the decisive Democratic election victory, should the U.S. begin withdrawing troops from Iraq now?

By way of background, the GlobalChat folks (David Ignatius, Fareed Zakaria and the always courteous Amar) welcome their "Blogger Advance Team" (in which we are inscribed) to propose potential questions. Six days before the election, the highway scribe proposed, "What message should the world take from the fact American voters put the Democrats in control of both houses of Congrees?"

(toot, toot).

Anyway, here's the answer to their question this morning, in which the scribe eschewed rhetoric for meter.

Cuttin' n' runnin'
cuttin' n' runnin'.
Spend the money here
for a little more funnin'.

We did what we could.
We gave a lot.
It doesn't matter now,
if we stay or not.

The country is broke
the voters have spoke,
"We're not gonna listen
anymore to this dope."

(Do we have to ask this question?)

Click on the talking heads at left to read more of what is shaping up to be a rather one-sided discussion.


Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of San Bernardino Soldier

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Pfc. Alex Oceguera of San Bernardino, CA:

"The loss of Pfc. Oceguera is a reminder of the tremendous sacrifices made for our freedom by the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. He courageously fought to ensure the safety of our great nation. During this time of mourning, Maria and I join all Californians in sending our deepest condolences to Alex's family. His valor is an example to us all."

Oceguera, 19, died Oct. 31 as a result of injuries sustained when and IED detonated near his vehicle in Wygal Valley, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, NY.

In honor of Pfc. Oceguera, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Corona Marine

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Pfc. Jason Franco of Corona, CA:

"Maria and I are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Pfc. Franco. He was a committed and brave Marine defending the freedoms we hold dear. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest gratitude are with Franco's family during this difficult time.

Franco, 18, died Oct. 31 as a result of injuries from a non-hostile incident in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 11, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Miramar, CA.

In honor of Pfc. Franco, Capitol flags will be flown at half staff.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Isis Left

The long reign of error is over.

They are gone; the whole stinking cabal that reared their ugly heads in Nov. 2000.

Jeb is termed out as Florida’s governor. Katherine Harris crashed and burned in her ridiculous run for the Senate, abandoned and betrayed by the brothers Bush.

Richard Pombo, declared enemy of the Endangered Species Act, is gone.

Donald Rumsfeld, for a time the most powerful man in America, is suddenly gone.

A New York congressman named Sweeney who organized the Republican brownshirt battalions that intimidated the Dade County election board in 2000 and prevented a recount, lost his seat.

Tom Delay, of course, was run out of town a while ago, the purest symbol of Republican arrogance in power.

The president swings like a scarecrow hanging from a leafless November tree. The Democrats (if the media has been reticent to cast it in such glorious terms) ran the table, shut them out, stunned the country, seized power in a veritable revolution at the ballot box.

The party has put forth the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives in the history of this country, putting its progressive money where its progressive mouth is, passing real power over and into the feminine sphere.

Isis Left.

It took some time, but the American people came around to the same devalued opinion “looney leftists” had of Bush from the very beginning.

And they owe us an apology (though we're not holding our breath).

It’s all good, very good.

But it must be remembered that the stinking cabal stayed a long time and did many, many things that struck their fancy.

Much of it was noxious to our fragile democracy and much suffering has been borne throughout the world, but that fragile democracy held out and, in fact, turned them out.

In the end, the greatest joy is not in a hopeful yelp for the future, but the deep sigh of relief you can sense from New Zealand to Lapland.

There is much to be done, but more to be undone.

No more votes for torture. No more votes for domestic spying. No more votes for "Christian" judges. No more wars without provocation. No more medieval projects launched with an okay from the man upstairs.

Hell, this damn democracy still works.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Given the hybrid nature of highwayscribery’s mission, as expressed in the tagline “politics, poetry and prose,” we have a standing policy to treat the forays of literary and intellectual figures into the political sphere with the attention such engaged thinkers deserve.

highwayscribery enjoys the literary figures of Latin America and Europe who take to parliament in the name of subtle causes and political shadings unprotected by the big banner names in the game.

But enough about highwayscribery and a little about a party of intellectuals - Ciutadan - Partit de la Ciudadanía - clustered around Barcelona that formed this summer and gained three seats in the new Catalonian autonomous parliament.

We say “autonomous” although Spain recently agreed to, and Catalonian voters approved, an Estatút about which we know little other than that responsibilities formally the domain of Spain’s central government in Madrid have been transferred along with lots of tax revenues and the right of Catalonia to call itself una nación - a nation.

So, actually, we shouldn’t say, “autonomous,” given the new legislative reality.

It is that new reality Ciutadans was formed in response to.

At the party’s launching, dramatist Alberto Boadella, writer and journalist Arcadi Espada (of the daily El Mundo) and other intellectuals let it be known that, “territories do not have rights. Only persons have rights.”

Comprised of some 39 civic organizations in primarily urban Catalonia, Ciutadans was formed in what its members consider the inhospitable environment faced by those who are not Catalonian nationalists in political bent.

The joint communique read, “The nationalist project every political formation save for the Partido Popular [the perennial conservative offering in Spain] is participating in, is leaving aside, without political representation, an important segment of the population. It’s time to put an end the nationalist monopoly of public space.”

Painting the northeast corner of the Iberian peninsula, Catalonia has its own unique and beautiful language, and a typically tortured relationship with the Spanish crowns and/or central government. Repression, subjugation, and submission are part of this history and the resentments run deep as the genuine tribal feeling of this industrious people.

Catalonia is less a homogeneous reality than they would care to accept, filled with Andalusians who came to work in earlier decades, Castillans transplanted for centuries, not to mention any number European cosmopolinauts come to enjoy the rare and anarchic air of the free and open city.

Or should we say “once free and open city?”

It is a peculiar characteristic of Spanish politics that the tiny, cantonal nationalisms (Basque country, Galicia, Valencia etc.) have long been aligned with the united left that took on the fascists in the civil war of the 1930s.

(You can read all about that in the highway scribe’s novel “Vedette.”)

Anyway, that become a problem because progressives were frozen, for a long time, into silence before the extremes of resurgent nationalism after the dictatorship.

Portuguese writer and Nobel Prize Winner Jose Saramago said years ago that progressives needed to rescue the language of nationalism from the right wing.

Ciutadans would appear to be a an attempt at shifting the dynamic in just such a way.

They declared themselves contrary to the new Estatút and proselytize for enlightenment notions like liberty, equality, securalism (as defined through state neutrality in religious questions), bilingualism (Castillan/Catalán) and defense of the (Spanish) constitution.

This dissidence, they declared, “didn’t come out of nowhere and is an old theme in Catalonia.”

Savvy, the intellectuals moved to the head of the class a very handsome former national swim champion named Albert Rivera, whom, just 26, posed naked for the party’s campaign poster to maximum effect.

The metaphor for the naked citizen matched perfectly the party’s slogan, “We’re only interested in people,” and its four principals: “We don’t care where you were born. We don’t care what language you speak. We don’t care what clothes you wear. We care about you.”

Rivera says the party was born “social democrat, liberal, secular and progressive,” and rejects out-of-hand the accusations of old fascist and Catholic influences.

Under their umbrella gather those who the Catalan national project has left behind.

The article records the comments of Eloísa López, a 60-year old teacher: “Women of my age don’t exist. Worse if you can’t speak Catalán. Where should I ask for work?”

So that’s at an economic level; the doors to Catalonia’s vibrant industries shut to those who have walked through them for decades.

At the cultural level things are much the same. One candidate on the party’s list was an out-of-work actor who said he got involved to, “try and open doors. Those of my profession are closed. I’m not being fatalistic. It’s reality. And when you think that the best Spanish theater was done here, the best movies shot, the vanguard atmosphere, the publishers...that’s all going to Madrid..”

These are the true fruits of discrimination cultural haughtiness: Isolation, a loss of richness, a lack of engagement, and complacency and tribal sense of superiority.

Culture holds many of the keys to saving our world. Our mutual mistakes and triumphs as races and nations have been recorded through culture, and we grasp back in time for them, to save us from loss in the sea of samenesses.

When allowed to influence politics however, it becomes a suffocating thing, our thing, a privileged identity that uses government to forward the interests of special people over those who are not quite that special - the ciutadans.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Liquid Life (installment three)

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Elendele had been right about the union thing. Whitey McEntee became the toast of the poorer parts of town and he didn’t forget her for it.

She hadn’t had the organizer job long and yet she understood how the old cigar boys worked. A pungent blackmail devised over cognac one evening, and squeezed was an enormous “consulting fee” from the Waiters and Dishwashers International Union that she swore would be ploughed back into the cause, the veracity of which could never be confirmed. She used me as an intermediary, or perhaps more to the point, as her pick-up man. Word got around and my reputation as an ethical journalist was bruised and left rotting in the sun.

My nose was sore from her consecutive splittings.

Bloated with money, the tender demon called me up to see if I wanted to go see a movie and was a perfect bitch all night. First she got mad at me for holding the door open so that she might pass through on the way in. Then she called me a cheapskate for not picking up the tab completely.

“I suppose,” she rollercoasted, “that you expect me to make love afterward and take the pill so you won’t have to worry.”

Throughout the whole movie she punctuated changing scenes with authoritative remarks: “Lousy establishing shot…Ridiculous place to cut…Just another in the tired genre of Nam flicks…That stinking rotten war…If I had directed this…”

People in front and behind kept shushing her to shush and she ripped me a “conservative” because I was hunkered low and privatized.

When we leave the theater a flash-and-blue-pearl-girl walks up to us, press-kisses Elendele’s lips, and tongues become intertwined for public consumption. A wine blush has the evening been colored now. Elendele introduces her to me as Gina Night, an aspiring soprano and the daughter of a successful Mafioso she met through her union dealings.

Then…she takes off with her, leaving me alone to drive home thinking about Gina Night swathed in perfect passion, her hours before the mirror, her excessive fashion.

And you Elendele. You too are bad. My desire’s a thrill. I want to meet you in a dusty mist, where our loveless kiss with repose and cool will freeze gray branches, freeze them still.

Friday, November 03, 2006

North Korea redux

Today the highway scribe participated briefly in another "Washington Post" GlobalChat session. Here was the question:

Why did North Korea return to 6-party talks this week? Does this signal China's emergence as regional superpower? Should the world welcome a more active and ambitious China on matters like this?
- David Ignatius & Fareed Zakaria

highwayscribery: Could it be NK like its chances given that the talks' subject will be changed from stopping development of nuclear capacity to abandoning it? Maybe they feel nice and comfy-safe with their bomb. Remember, not everyone views the event of new members joining the nuclear family (he-he) as an implied "threat." Having the power to rearrange someone's topography and diminish their population substantially can truly augment a nation's sense of security. "Sure, you wanna talk? Let's talk!"

Click on the banner with the two talking heads from the "Post" if this topic excites you and enjoy the next installment of "The Liquid Life" this weekend.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Two More

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Covina Soldier

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Spc. Matthew W. Creed of Covina:

"Maria and I are deeply saddened to hear of Spc. Creed's death. Our state and nation has lost a brave soul who was dedicated to preserving freedom and democracy. We join his family and friends in grieving this terrible loss and pray for their comfort."

Creed, 23, died Oct. 22 as a result of injuries sustained when his patrol came in contact with enemy forces in Baghdad, Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, TX.

In honor of Spc. Creed, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Statement on Death of Hemet Sailor

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today released the following statement regarding the death of Seaman Charles O. Sare of Hemet:

"Our heart goes out to Seaman Sare's family as they suffer the extraordinary loss of their loved one. Maria and I express our deepest condolences to Charles' family and will keep them in our prayers. The United States Navy has lost a valiant sailor and Hemet has lost a friend, neighbor and loved one."

Sare, 23, died Oct. 23 as a result of injuries sustained during combat operations in the Al Anbar Province, Iraq. He was assigned to Naval Ambulatory Care Center, Port Hueneme, CA, and was currently serving with Multi-National Corps, Iraq.

In honor of Seaman Sare, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

a poem

Here is a poem for before we publish the names of two more fallen service people:

For Fathers

Some day you
must steal yourself
seek a lower center
of gravity
and gird yourself
Tell your child of
the great sin of
the world that
a person is capable of
and of all the terrible

his eyes of light will
smite you
quietly call you a
liar deconstruct
your idea and lease
your life back
to you
smiling all the
while you cry

More on Oaxaca

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