Sunday, December 27, 2009

Miami Babylon: Crime, Wealth, and Power-- A Dispatch From the Beach

Crime, Wealth, and Power — A Dispatch From the Beach
By Gerald Posner
Illustrated. 454 pp. Simon & Schuster. $27

"One has two thoughts upon picking up Gerald Posner’s new book, “Miami Babylon.” One: The title is redundant. There are those, after all, who might argue that with the exception of Las Vegas, there is no American city as deeply silly as Miami — silliness as measured in tales of corruption, cocaine, bouncing bikinis, pastel pawnshops and breakneck hedonism. Washington has the cool President Obama, New York the technocratic Mayor Bloomberg and media barons like Rupert Murdoch. Who personifies Miami? Tony Montana? Crockett and Tubbs?

"A second thought is that Posner, the respected author of “Case Closed,” the book that (just about) put an end to Kennedy assassination theories, is slumming a bit here, which is fine. Everyone deserves a weekend in South Beach from time to time, and as it turns out, Posner is an able chronicler of the slummier side of South Florida. What interests him most is the story — and it’s a pretty good one — of how South Beach rose from the wreckage that was 1970s-era Miami Beach.

"The book begins in 1980 with a concise..."


Friday, December 25, 2009

Christianity and Paganism

"We're so pagan and don't know it.

"I write this essay close to the December holidays, a time that most of us celebrate what we call Christmas, a holiday that to some is infused with meaning and symbolism, and for others it is nothing more than a nice secular holiday season. This time of the year, though, is one of the most venerated and cherished times ever. It is a time when the days grow shorter and when we become very nostalgic. It is also a time when we like to be at our most magnanimous; engaging in benevolence; shunning avarice, hypocrisy, and egotism-- at least for the time being. Never mind that's how we like to think of ourselves, even if we go back to our old selves come January.

"But there's more to this sense of altruism than meets the eye.What drives us all to this feeling of goodness is, perhaps, that this is one of the oldest and most ritualized times celebrated by many, many cultures as far back as civilization, much farthest back than our own Christian belief in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. "


Friday, December 11, 2009

Uganda's Anti-Homosexual Bill of 2009

by Jorge Reyes

"No discussion is veiled in more hypocrisy but virulent attacks than the issue of gay-rights. By “gay” I also include lesbians and transgendered people. The attacks are usually more virulent if it is faulted for societal problems, such as the cause of a high divorce rate, pedophilia or bestiality even. Never mind that gay men and women can lead happy, long-lasting and healthy relationships and partnerships. Never mind that a sicko can be either straight or gay.

"Which brings me to the African state of Uganda, where an imperialistic war of religious values is taking place.

"Here's the scoop. "