Hilton/Conan/Havana

“With both cameras and listening devices most people have no idea they are being watched while they are in Cuba. But their personal activities are filmed under orders from Castro himself—famous Americans are the priority objectives of Castro’s intelligence.” Humberto Fontova

Paris Hilton and Conan do Havana

Humberto Fontova, FrontPageMagazine, March 4, 2015

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Along with an estimated 637,000 people from the U.S. recently, Paris Hilton and Conan O’Brien somehow squeaked through the cracks of the diabolical U.S. “blockade” of Cuba for a visit to Havana. (Btw, in the 1950’s when Cuba was a “U.S. tourist playground” an average 200,000 Americans visited Cuba annually.)

From the Associated Press this week:

Having seen a long-ago tape of (Jack Paar’s) historic visit just months into the regime of Fidel Castro, (Conan) O’Brien said, “We’ve got to go – right away!”

“It wasn’t as complicated as I thought it would be,” said Conan executive producer Jeff Ross, who reached a production liaison in Havana. “He said, ‘Just come. We’ll get you an invitation from the Cuban government. You’ll have the run of the place.’”

The 10-member troupe went in mid-February and spent several days in the Cuban capital.

“I was shocked,” said O’Brien, “by how much we were left completely alone.”

Oh! To be a fly on the wall of Castro’s secret police headquarters—with ear-protection of course, otherwise the roar of laughter and snorting, the cackling and gasping, the convulsed midriffs could easily be distracting.

“My job was to bug their hotel rooms,” revealed high-ranking Cuban intelligence defector Delfin Fernandez.

With both cameras and listening devices. Most people have no idea they are being watched while they are in Cuba. But their personal activities are filmed under orders from Castro himself….famous Americans are the priority objectives of Castro’s intelligence. 

“The Castro regime assigns 20 security agents to follow and monitor every foreign journalist.” (Vicente Botin, who reported for Madrid’s El Pais from Cuba for years.) Continue reading

Flight from Family

“All around the world today, pre-existing family patterns are being upended by a revolutionary new force: the seemingly unstoppable quest for convenience by adults demanding ever-greater autonomy.” Nicholas Eberstadt

The Global Flight From the Family

It’s not only in the West or prosperous nations—the decline in marriage and drop in birth rates is rampant, with potentially dire fallout.

Nicholas Eberstadt, The Wall Street Journal, February 21-22, 2015, p. A 11

Broken

‘They’re getting divorced, and they’ll do anything NOT to get custody of the kids.” So reads the promotional poster, in French, for a new movie, “Papa ou Maman” (“Daddy or Mommy”), plastered all over Paris during my recent visit there. The movie sounds like quintessential French comedy, but its plot touches on a deep and serious reality—and one not particular to France.

All around the world today, pre-existing family patterns are being upended by a revolutionary new force: the seemingly unstoppable quest for convenience by adults demanding ever-greater autonomy. We can think of this as another triumph of consumer sovereignty, which has at last brought rational choice and elective affinities into a bastion heretofore governed by traditions and duties—many of them onerous. Thanks to this revolution, it is perhaps easier than ever before to free oneself from the burdens that would otherwise be imposed by spouses, children, relatives or significant others with whom one shares a hearth.

Yet in infancy and childhood and then again much later, in feebleness or senescence, people need more from others. Whatever else we may be, we are all manifestly inconvenient at the start and end of life. Thus the recasting of the family puts it on a collision course with the inescapable inconvenience of the human condition itself—portending outcomes and risks we have scarcely begun to consider.

To evaluate the world-wide flight from the family, we can start in the U.S. Remarkably enough, we do not actually know the probabilities of getting married and staying married in America today, because the government doesn’t collect the information needed to make an estimate. We do know that both marriage and in situ parenting are increasingly regarded as optional for child-rearing. Continue reading

Higher Education?

imagesDartmouth College has suspended most of the 64 students it has accused of cheating in a class on sports ethics. Attended mostly by varsity athletes, ‘Sports, Ethics, and Religion’ had the largest enrollment, 272, of any course at the college last semester. The class’s lessons don’t seem to be taking.” National Review, February 9, 2015, p. 12

“Mount Holyoke College is for women only, but they’re not super strict about the gender thing. According to official guidelines, you don’t need to have the usual anatomical features to be considered female; a student can apply for admission if he or she is ‘biologically born male; identifies as woman’ or even ‘biologically born male; identifies as other/they/ze and when ‘other/they’ identity includes woman.’ So basically, if you’ve ever thought about getting a mani-pedi, you’re in. This protranssexual policy is intended to make Mount Holyoke hospitable to all women, no matter how tenuous their gender identity, and now it has resulted in the additional benefit of getting The Vagina Monologues removed from campus.” Ibid

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