Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Honduras Blogs the Coup

Maybe Mel deserved it. Maybe it was a near perfect expression of the will of the people. Maybe Zelaya was a disaster of a president and will always be remembered primarily as a man living in the shadow of his own mustache. But yanking your president out of bed and exiting him from the country is a coup anyway you shake it.

Here's what bloggers in Honduras have to say about the coup. Their opinions are their own.


On kidnapping Mel Zelaya in his PJs and whisking him off to Costa Rica

Honduran politics can be a real hornet's nest of high-caliber telenovela drama and intrigue. I don't pretend to understand it. My political commentary is limited to an occasional piece of mustache analysis. One thing I can say: it's odd to watch the international news media comment confidently about a situation they clearly do not understand. The big time news outlets are much more fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants than one would imagine.

Here's a long piece by someone smart I snatched off Andrew Sullivan's website. It says everything I would say if I had the patience to write something balanced and smart-sounding about the president of my son's home country being midnight hijacked and zipped off to Costa Rica in his pajamas.

"I have seen a couple of the links and emails you have posted about the coup in Honduras and I think one major aspect has not been underlined enough. What is truly tragic and worrisome about this is that both sides acted against the rule of law and with blatant disregard towards the established democratic institutions of the country.

Those making Zelaya out to be a political innocent, a martyr of the 'right wing oligarchy' are imposing their own sympathies (or perhaps their Cold War ideologies) on the situation. For the last few weeks it has been clear to those who believe in democracy and more specifically the importance of democratic institutions that Zelaya was doing everything both legally and not legally in his power to ignore the decisions of the Supreme Court, the Congress, his own political party and everyone who has a constitutional say in how the country is governed and when elections or constitutional referendums are called. Again to be clear: he wanted another term and was willing to do everything in his power to stay President despite a legal prohibition against it. When all his legal avenues were exhausted instead of accepting this he put together a mob and broke into an army base to 'free' the ballots for the referendum which he was going to run on his own. A restoration of Zelaya to the presidency should take place only if he agrees to obey the constitution, otherwise we are exchanging one set of unconstitutional players for another.

Those excusing the coup do so because they were rightly worried about Zelaya's own unconstitutional power grab, but the ends do *not* justify the means. Congress was legally moving to impeach Zelaya and should have stuck to that course when confronted with the likelihood of Zelaya breaking the law on Sunday. Instead they pulled a move out of the 1970s and 1980s book and called the army in to lend a helping hand. To oust Zelaya this way only lost them credibility and, sincerely for those in the region worried about the deeper issue of institutional stability and democracy, sent a signal that institutions are only useful to them when the results are to their liking.

Because both sides have shown zero respect for the institutions that make a democracy a democracy both Zelaya's cry me river martyr act and those whitewashing of the coup as somehow legal are not credible. It is crucial that a solution be found that sends a clear signal that in Latin America coups are not winked at or accepted as the method to solve a constitutional dispute. It is also crucial that the solution does not condone the actions of Zelaya previous to the coup. Both sides who broke institutional norms should be dealt with so no precedent is set that any President in the region can just walk over the institutions of democracy when it pleases him and be rewarded for it (this already happens too much under the guise of true institutional change--see Alvaro Uribe and Hugo Chavez for good examples. and note this is not a right or left wing issue, it is a problem with political leadership and the lack of limits on executive power). Also the armies of the region should know too that their arbitration/intervention when a question regarding the rule of law takes place is no longer welcomed, sought or condoned.

It is a depressing show seeing usually keen political observers fall back into facile but totally useless Cold War ideologies to cheer on their preferred political outcome in this crisis--those on the right excusing the coup as quasi-legal and the only optimal solution and those on the left cheering Zelaya's martyrdom and excusing his unconstitutional power grab as justified.

Even more depressing though is that neither side took a minute to reflect on what the coup really meant--finally after many years a question political scientists and analysts have had since the 'thrid wave' of democratization happened in Latin America has been answered. In Latin American democracies the military, when confronted with a constitutional crisis, once again intervened. Not healthy and not a good augur."


In the meantime, we'll try keep the steady flow of pictures of our little fella in cute outfits current.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Minnesota!

On Friday, we traveled from Denver to Minnesota. Here we'll spend a week reconnecting with friends and family around the Twin Cities and then heading up north for a week at the cabin with Tom's family. Last night, we enjoyed a yummy grilled dinner at the Owatonna Lewandowski house. Tom helped his nieces husk the corn.


This morning we headed out to Breakfast at the Farm. Princess Kay of the Milky Way is from Owatonna this year. Her family was hosting a pancake breakfast out at their family farm.


There, we met some baby farm animals, took a barn tour, and checked out tractors.

Because he learned so much about dairy farming, Zeke begged me for permission to get his very first tattoo.

This farm boy had a blast and so did we!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Denver

We had a lovely surprise visit to Denver to visit Karen and Mark! They've been living out there for a couple of years now and we've finally had the chance to visit them. June 23 was Tom and Karen's joint birthday- 2 siblings, born 3 years apart on the exact same day!


I tried to bake a carrot cake for Karen and a mini chocolate cake for Tom. While it still tasted delicious, I forgot about the high altitude factor when baking the carrot cake. That's why it looks a bit like a bundt cake.

On their birthday, we took a trip out to Pike's Peak to ride the cog train to the summit.

Wow! This train trip led us up through the alpine tundra to the snow capped Rocky Mountains!


We had a wonderful visit and loved hanging out with Karen and Mark.

We were even lucky enough to meet up with Tom's cousin Brian and his family for dinner. Zeke loved meeting his relatives

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Today we celebrate American Father's Day. This needs to be clarified, because we celebrated Honduran Father's Day back in March. Happy Father's Day to my dad, my husband, and all the other special dads out there!
We are lucky to be here in Arkansas where my mom and I made breakfast for my own dad and for Tom. They sat at the "Dad Table" and had a special morning with gifts.

Perhaps the most fun part was when my dad made a tissue paper hat for Zeke.



Zeke asked me to write a special message to his dad:
Hey, Dad! Happy Father's Day! I'm so lucky to have you- you're the best!!!

New Pants Alert

Karine and I got some new pants. We'll post pictures later.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Infinite Jest

I just finished reading Infinite Jest. It was a real wang doozey. I am asking myself how it's possible that no one ever stuck that book in my grill and told me I had to read it. This particular entertainment has been out there in the world for thirteen years. So here is me at least sticking it in your grill and telling you that you have to read it.


You might need to keep an OED handy while you are reading. DFW's lexical gymnastics can be a bit dizzying. Some words fly way over the top of the head. They are great words. You just don't know them and neither does any other normal person. Also, sometimes the OED won't help. Because when DFW feels like he just flat out makes up words.

The book is 1079 pages long. This may deter some readers. The author said that it was a great beach book. Not for reading on the beach. Rather, like, using the book as a source of shade.

Maybe you won't read it. But you should at least give it a physical perusal the next time you are at B&N or Borders or your local favorite bookslinger's.

Also, I feel compelled for some reason I'll keep to myself to post this graphic.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Arkansas Post Card: Zeke

We're having a blast here in Arkansas. Ezekiel is thrilled to have 2 more people to cuddle and play with. So far, we've enjoyed some family time swimming in the pool, lounging in the sun and shade, and shopping in nice stores. Zeke loves all the bright colors and new sounds.

Swimming in the pool with Dad and Papa

Lying in his American hammock

Loving nature in Arkansas

Cuddling with Mom in Arkansas

Arkansas Post Card: Rabbit

Arkansas Video Postcard: Driving to Sonic for Rootbeer Floats

video

This trip to Sonic was made possible in part through a generous and temporary in-kind donation from the Gary and Sharon Nelson Family. Muic by Plies -- "I Got Plenty Money."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Arkansas Video Postcard: Sort of Like a Giant Salad

video

Where in the Wide Wide World of Sports?

We are in Bentonville, Arkansas, U.S.A. Karine is enjoying some afternoon sun poolside and I just cleared a tremendous dump out from Ezekiel's pants. More info to come, including photos (not of the poo).

My apologies to the eight-hundred people who checked our blog in the last two weeks only to find a slightly hysterical love letter to the Mirado Black Warrior pencil.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mirado Black Warrior Pencil

Permit me please to say a few words about the Mirado Black Warrior Pencil. It is a fine pencil. It is a pencil that I am 100 % proud to endorse. I’m not even a pencil person. Or I thought I wasn’t. I’ve always seen myself as more of a classic Bic round-shaft sort of guy. Everything changes. Maybe I’m just getting old. Maybe the transition from pen preference to pencil preference is like the transition from boxers to whitie-tighties. Maybe we long in our old age for the things that we had in our youth, except we want them plain instead of covered in pictures of Batman.

In any case this pencil bites and glides like a psychotic but strangely graceful Rottweiler on ice-skates. This Mirado Black Warrior has got me feeling feelings I haven’t felt in a long time. For a writing implement.

And the name. Mirado. What does that word feel like? Shouldn’t it be the name of a sleek, high-performance luxury coup? If I were a spy I would wind my Jaguar Mirado up foggy mountain switchbacks to the rendezvous location, a chateau. I would drive fast, wisp-trailed, through silent misted hairpins. Upon arrival would I exit the black Mirado with Karine and Ezekiel. Then something awesome and surprising would happen.

How is a pencil a warrior? Let me take a stab at it. Maybe when you use it to like obliterate the emptiness that is plain white paper free of words and doodles and stuff.

Mirado Black Warrior. This pencil is no joke.

More in-depth info (not kidding) at Pencil Grinders Weblog, and Pencil Revolution.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

4 Months!

Our little boy is already 4 months old! His personality is really starting to show, and we feel like he becomes more of a little person each day. We're crazy about Ezekiel!

Accomplishments: Zeke can now hold his head up while sitting- he's pretty steady. He prefers lying on his back to his stomach. Zeke can roll over from back to front, however since he pretty much hates being on his stomach, he rarely does this. Another accomplishment was surviving his very first 7.3 earthquake by sleeping through it and then talking on the news about it. He was very cute. It's not quite an accomplishment, but Ezekiel has now acquired a birth certificate and a US passport- no small feat!


Favorite activities: Zeke loves holding onto things and putting them in his mouth, reading books, bathtime, and swimming. Any opportunity he has to hang out without clothes on makes him smile. We're borrowing an exersaucer from some friends, and he just started using it this past weekend. He loves it! Besides eating, perhaps Zeke's favorite activity is still watching his dad play the guitar and sing for him.

Favorite friends: This past month, Zeke has spent plenty of time with Mom and Dad- his best friends. He's also enjoyed daytimes with his babysitter, Jessa. Zeke loves looking at Ruby, his dog and he has recently realized that Ruby is another member of our family. Tonight, he reached out and touched her mouth, and Ruby just patiently sat there- so happy to be included. During Carnival in La Ceiba, Zeke had the opportunity to hang out with many of our friends, as well as many strangers that wanted to touch and hold our cute baby. He's a really social guy.

Zeke and his babysitter, Jessa
.
Future plans: Last night, Zeke tried his first bites of rice cereal. It may be a little longer until he figures out how to keep most of the food in his mouth, but he was very excited to try. He's been eyeing our food at mealtimes and grabbing towards plates. In the upcoming months, we hope Zeke will master eating. (Or at least getting food to stay in his mouth)
I had claimed that Zeke was a fantastic sleeper in previous months. He still goes to bed very easily at night, however as he's growing, he's starting to wake up more at night again. In the near future, I hope Ezekiel begins sleeping through most of the night again.


video

Other future plans include a visit later this month to the U.S. to meet many cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends. He can't wait!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dog Rider, Beach Bum

After a very eventful week, we were thankful for a relaxing weekend. Friday was our last day of school with students. We went to bed early on Friday night so that we could enjoy the weekend. On Saturday, we took a family trip to the mall. The mall in La Ceiba is always packed on weekends because it is one of the few free air-conditioned places in town. Lately, the weather has been HOT HOT HOT and humid.

We spent the rest of Saturday around the house.



Sunday we went to the beach.