Cuba Libre

Two items in the news about Cuba (optional soundtrack below):

As Balloon Juice commenter Lamh35 pointed out in the bitchfest thread, it’s probably unwise for Marco Rubio to try to turn Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s trip to Cuba into Benghazi II: The Castro-ation. It’s dumb for several reasons:

1) Castro is a doddering, toothless old fart whose utility as a wingnut bogeyman is receding faster than his gum line.

2) Beyoncé may be more widely worshipped than Jesus at this point, so Rubio will piss off her millions of fans, and for what? The Cuban exile vote can’t even swing an election in Florida anymore, much less the US.

3) The only reason our absurd Cuba policy continues is because, a) most Americans don’t know / don’t give a shit about it, and b) numbers 1 and 2 above haven’t quite sunk in yet with the political-media industrial complex.

Rubio released a statement on Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s trip, saying, “U.S. law clearly bans tourism to Cuba by American citizens because it provides money to a cruel, repressive and murderous regime.”

Well, yeah, but Saudi Arabia is a medieval dictatorship that openly enslaves half of its population and beheads people for fucking sorcery, and yet I’m allowed to travel there as an American citizen. If I had to be parachuted into either Cuba or Saudi Arabia, I’d damn well go where the cigars and mojitos are.

Second news item out of Cuba:

The parents who kidnapped their own children from the kids’ grandmother and sailed out of Tampa Bay earlier this week have turned up in Cuba. Several things about this story smell fishier than Hemingway’s tackle box:

1) The parents, whom the media characterize as “anti-government protesters,” were busted last June in Louisiana for pot and firearms after a disturbance at a hotel. The cops allege they made bizarre references to Armageddon, prompting the court to put the kids in foster care. The father later confronted the foster parents, waving a gun around and demanding his children before running off before the cops arrived.

2) This supposedly prompted the authorities to terminate parental rights and pass custody of the kids to the grandmother in Florida. Practically everyone in Louisiana and Florida is “anti-government” and skulks around with pot and guns mumbling about Armageddon. And from what friends in CPS tell me, terminating parental rights is REALLY, REALLY hard, even for people who have a documented history of thrashing their kids half to death. And yet these people’s parental rights were terminated in less than a year for guns, pot and Armageddon talk?

3) Wingnuts at Big Dirt Nap and the Fonzie of Freedom Institute for Leather Jackets and Dagny Taggart Fappery have seized on the “anti-government protester” angle to claim that the parents are merely libertarians and/or tea partiers being persecuted by the Kenyan Administration.

But now the government of Cuba says it’s going to hand them over to the US, apparently without even pausing to wring any anti-US propaganda mileage out of them. Even if the parents are bona fide, bug-eyed loons and / or the most annoying Paultroons in the universe, that’s unusual. There’s more here than meets the eye.

[X-posted at Rumproast]

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91 replies
  1. 1
    David Koch says:

    Jay-Z has 99 problems but a Rubio aint’ one.

    And if you do, I feel sorry for ya, son.

  2. 2
    Violet says:

    Rubio seems kind of stupid to me. The SOTU rebuttal didn’t help him any. This sort of thing is amateur hour. Seems like he’s only doing it to keep up the Cuban street cred. Probably figures it’ll blow over pretty quickly and he’s probably right.

  3. 3
    Trollhattan says:

    Whenever I’m done chasing kidzRepublicans offa mah lawn and have time to contemplate life the universe, etc. my thoughts wander to Mr and Ms Z roughly precisely zero percent of the time.

    I can’t give fk-all what they do or where, Cuba included. If this has traction, then it’s a dead end I’m happy to have the wingers drive down–do you have any idea how hard it is to u-turn a crew cab eff two-fiddy?.

    Thank you for reading my newsletter.

  4. 4
    Cermet says:

    Well, one good thing about the policy is that the Cuban reef’s remain pristine since no massive coastal building, which would occur if US tourist starting flocking there … then again, $$$ would help a lot of poor people in Cuba …yeah, right; who am I kidding – the day the poor ever get more than crumbs in any part of this world is the day a christian somewhere in the US would act christian.

  5. 5
    Todd says:

    The kids thing bugged me – termination seemed a little quick, if you ask me.

  6. 6

    The vast majority of child kidnappings are by family members disputing custody rights somehow. This doesn’t sound particularly unusual, other than fleeing to another country. Usually they just go hide in another state.

  7. 7
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    I seriously would’ve thought Rubio was smarter than to jump into Jay-n-Bey’s Cuba trip. Which ones again proves that you shouldn’t give wingnuts the benefit of the doubt when it comes to smarts.

  8. 8
    lamh35 says:

    I’m really just trying to understand what’s Rubio’s game on this, especially since he has more than just local ambitions.

    Andy believe you me, I’ve got Beyonce-stans (that’s what the hip kids call em…lol) in my family and THEY ARE HARD CORE!

    For anyone who cares, just google Keyshia Cole, Beyonce and twitter and they Bey-stans were relentless.

    This ain’t fight Rubio wants believe me…LOL

  9. 9
    Baud says:

    I hope Rubio subpoenas Beyoncé and Jay-Z for a Senate hearing. That would be epic.

  10. 10

    Don’t fret. Here’s some blackconservasplaining from one of the stars of Clueless on twitter to set the libtards straight:

    Stacey Dash ‏@REALStaceyDash Do you care that The Jay Z”s have taken the capital you have given them and funded a communist oppressive regime?

  11. 11
    Redshirt says:

    I’m just asking, but really, how do you explain the vacation to Cuba? Legally, that is.

  12. 12
    lamh35 says:

    @ranchandsyrup: yep, I saw that. If Stacey Dash thought Obama-“fans” were tough, she ain’t seen nothing yet when it comes to Bey-stans.

    Again, google Keyshia Cole and Beyonce twitter and you’ll see how the Bey-stans role…lol

  13. 13
    scav says:

    The youth vote is indeed all about Cuba. Admire the Reach.

    Is calling it The Thousand Year (Out)Reach that critical step too far?

  14. 14
    lamh35 says:

    @Redshirt: Jay-Z and Bey are NOT the first people to go to Cuba despite the embargo. As I understand it, there are many “legal” ways to go to Cuba.

    What this is about is big time Obama backers and world-wide power couple (plus I sure the GOP blame Jay and Bey for Obama keeping the youth vote on his side) doing what others have done, but you get free publicity and it keeps his Cuban constituents (older not younger) in his pocket.

    I expected more outcry over Rodman’s bro-mance with Kim Jeung Un.

    but nothing heard from this crowd about it?

  15. 15
    Suffern ACE says:

    @scav: yep. And anger that entertainment celebrities lead privileged lives.

  16. 16
    dance around in your bones says:

    I played the heck out of the Buena Vista Social Club for years, and Chan Chan was one of my favorites.

    I have nothing else of substance to say.

  17. 17
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    Wow! Is this an example of the kind of stuff you get off of the “Florida Man” twitter feed? Awesome!

  18. 18
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @lamh35:

    “Beyonce stans”–no hyphen. The “stan” is a reference to the Eminem song “Stan” about a deranged fan.

    [/grammar and slang nitpickery]

  19. 19
    gogol's wife says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    Same here! Compay Segundo and Ibrahim Ferrer RIP. And Ruben Gonzalez.

  20. 20
    Liquid says:

    I know it’s all bullshit to hit “The Butcher of Benghazi” on anything but, come on!

    So the sniveling the public is expected to believe is:

    -A group of people fled their country and an oppressive/murderous/crazed/ dictator.
    -Said group now resides in the U.S.
    -No one (except perhaps members of the group) can visit said locale anymore for any reason.

    Well that kind of closes off a number of countries. There’s a few big ones in there, one of which I’ve visited. But it’s ok because my ‘group,’ as it were, came from there. Maybe the catch is the dictator must be dead first.

    I know, I know, oversimplified and sarcastic.

  21. 21
    Violet says:

    @Redshirt: I think they got a cultural or arts pass to visit Cuba. It’s not that hard to get to Cuba–just need an approved reason.

  22. 22
    scav says:

    @lamh35: I was just thinking about the Rodman Korea – Vatican jaunt myself. Is this just of the latest gimmick to get into the news a.k.a. celebrity hobby du jour?

  23. 23
    mike with a mic says:

    Rodman was not a major Obama backer and bundler. This is the same sort of pay to play shit that gets me mad at Republicans and I get mad when my side engages with it as well. This nonsense and it honestly is rotten to the fucking core, and shows that this admin is just as pay to play as the Bush admin was.

  24. 24

    @lamh35: Stacey’s cousin is Damon Dash, right? Jay Z’s label founder? Weird.

  25. 25
    dance around in your bones says:

    @gogol’s wife: Ay, si!

    I was living in Mexico when Buena Vista Social Club came out, and while I quite like all varieties of Mexican music (particularly Norteño, corridos, Danzón, not so much banda – that’s the oompa oompa stuff) I just really appreciated the sophistication of Cuban music.

    eta: In various styles of Mexican music, you often get enthusiastic untrained voices singing enthusiastically, which is charming in it’s own way. Anybody can do it!

  26. 26
    max says:

    it’s probably unwise for Marco Rubio to try to turn Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s trip to Cuba into Benghazi II: The Castro-ation. It’s dumb for several reasons:

    Well, it’s dumb for Rubio to go all in on immigration reform and then backpedal the whole way (particularly if he goes hard in on the ‘no citizenship’ angle). He’s either pissing off the relatives of hundreds of thousands of South Florida voters, or he’s his pissing off millions of future voters AND their South Florida relatives. While, of course, making the Tea Party nervous about his dedication to white supremacy. (The phrase ‘tio Tomás’ is wandering across my mind.)

    He’s up again in 2016, in which instance the odds seems good that he’s either running against Hillary (assuming he can get nominated) or he’s running for Senate again – against Hillary, basically.

    Pissing of South Florida Beyonce fans seems like an extra bonus coffin nail.

    Not a very intelligent fellow, I am beginning to gather.

    max
    [‘You know, the Mall (in DC) seems to have an inordinate number of clueless feebs in the immediate vicinity. I’m not talking about the tourists.’]

  27. 27
    RepubAnon says:

    Beyonce in Cuba = special privileges for “those people” because of their skin color … hear the dog whistle now?

    On a side note: if you’re being persecuted by a Kenyan Socialist, why would you flee to a socialist country for asylum?

    Double-bonus question: We embargo Cuba, but have close relations with China – and Vietnam. Call me silly, but where’s the Cuban War Memorial in DC? I know there’s one for the Vietnam War, but we’re friends with Vietnam now. Other than aging Bautista groupies that happen to be registered to vote in Florida, why the embargo? Did more US troops die in Cuba than in Vietnam, and it just didn’t make the news? Did the Cubans embarrass us more than the Vietnamese did? Or is United Fruit still upset that their sugar plantations got nationalized?

  28. 28
    Violet says:

    @dance around in your bones: @gogol’s wife: Saw the Buena Vista Social Club crew when they were on tour in the US about a decade ago or so. Maybe longer. Seats were on a row close to the stage, but on the side. Then, the people in the middle of our row didn’t show and we all moved down. I think we were like fourth row center. Amazing!

    The show was every bit as fantastic as you could have hoped. They played a ton of encores and Ruben Gonzales absolutely could not get himself to leave the stage. Shook the hands of everyone on the front row. Took a million bows. We didn’t want him to leave either. Magical night!

  29. 29
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Perhaps I am being obtuse but it appears to me that all “freedumb” loving Amercuns would be quite miffed should their ebil tyranical gubmint tell them where they could or could not go on vacation.

  30. 30
    WereBear says:

    If I had to be parachuted into either Cuba or Saudi Arabia, I’d damn well go where the cigars and mojitos are.

    Got that right.

    And gee, every Cuban gets free health care. That’s where Michael Moore took his sick First Responders.

  31. 31
  32. 32
    Suffern ACE says:

    @mike with a mic: yes. This is unprecedented. http://m.ew.com/article-detail.rbml?guid=0,,282749,00&revUrl=http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,282749,00.html

  33. 33
    Yutsano says:

    @lamh35: When I was dating the Canadian defenceman, we had a discussion about travelling to Cuba for a vacation. According to him, even with an American passport, all you need to do is leave from a Canadian airport AND prove you spent no money on the island. Since he was willing to front the whole costs, that part was dastardly easy. I have to admit, I wanted to go, but work had other plans dammit lol.

  34. 34
    raven says:

    @Suffern ACE: what the fuck is this supposed to be?

  35. 35
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @Yutsano:

    Yeah, I know several people who’ve gone to Cuba without any problems or special passes. It’s been several years since I got any of them to recount how they made it happen, but I seem to recall the dominant theme was that you just fly to some other country first (preferably a Central American one), then hop on over to Cuba, and unless the border agent is a real hardass, your American passport will merit nary a second glance.

  36. 36
    Josie says:

    I find it really difficult to care where the J-Z’s go on vacation and equally unimportant who goes or doesn’t go to Cuba. The whole policy on Cuba is so idiotic and old hat. I can’t believe Rubio is so stupid to think it matters. Oh, wait, it’s Rubio…….

  37. 37
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @RepubAnon:

    where’s the Cuban War Memorial in DC?

    Remember the Maine!
    Oh, wait…

  38. 38
    Violet says:

    @Yutsano: Yeah, you can fly to Cuba from Guatemala. That’s another way to get there. Apparently Cuba will stamp a piece of paper in your passport instead of the passport itself so there isn’t a record of your trip. Might be a bit harder to do now that social media records your every step. Lots of American traveling through Latin America used to go to Cuba illegally every year. A friend of mine wanted to do it but I had to go back to work and she had to go back to school so we didn’t try.

    It would be much harder for global superstars like Jay and Bey to do something like that, though.

  39. 39
    dance around in your bones says:

    @Violet: Oh, Violet – lucky you! I’ve only heard the album and seen the movie.

    Thanks, Ry Cooder and Nick Gold and whoever else! for bringing these wonderful musicians back into the spotlight.

  40. 40
    Suffern ACE says:

    @raven: hmm. A link that won’t work. An article from 1998 that listed the celebrities who had gone to Cuba on arts visas. Leonardo do Caprio, Matt Damon, Christopher Walken, Robert Di Neron, alanus morisette, and so on and so on. Clearly this must be because there is pay to play going on for bundlers.

  41. 41
    Yutsano says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: The only issue you have when you get back to the US is they’ll ask if you spent any money while in Cuba. You just say no and dare them to prove otherwise. If you keep all your transactions cash then the trail is nigh impossible to follow. Easy Peasy!

    @Violet: I keep my social media footprint relatively light, so if need be I can go under the radar for a Cuba trip.

  42. 42
    scav says:

    I’ll toss in some more music — for a while my dad was all over the Tres ( or Quatro, or armadillo-thing or any of the great Mando-family . . . ). Wish I had more of his CDs sounds right

  43. 43
    David Koch says:

    Are we sure Beyonce went to Cuba? Maybe she just lip-synced her visit

  44. 44
    Violet says:

    @dance around in your bones: Yeah, I really do feel lucky to have seen them. It was a wonderful night. What really sticks with me is how joyous the musicians were. They were so, so happy to be playing. Just loved being there, playing together, getting to do what they loved doing and finally, after all those years, getting the accolades and reception they had probably only dreamed of. We (the audience) fed off their energy and sent it right back to them. The audience was totally in love with them–lots of Cubans in the audience as far as I could tell, all shouting out to the musicians. Just felt like a gigantic celebratory concert. Wonderful experience.

  45. 45
    muddy says:

    @Yutsano: This is my social media. :)

  46. 46
    Yutsano says:

    @muddy: SCHWEET!!

  47. 47
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Violet: Pretty sure there’s a non-stop direct flight from Montreal. I know people who have gone, and the Cubans indeed are knowledgeable and gracious enough not to stamp your passport, so nobody’s the wiser.

    Cubans apparently love Americans. I know Vietnamese do, even in the north, which seemed a little odd to me. But even former NVA soldiers were nice and gracious. I guess you can be that way if you win.

  48. 48
    scav says:

    armadillo-thing = Charango

  49. 49
    Baud says:

    What if Obama sent Jay-Z and Beyoncé to Cuba on a secret mission to rescue Elian Gonzalez? What would Rubio say then?

  50. 50
    muddy says:

    Ha! What a conundrum. I visualize smoke, sparks etc coming out the ears.

  51. 51
    Violet says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Yeah, when I was going to go with an education permit, we were going to go to Canada and then down to Cuba. Things changed and I didn’t get to go, but that was how it was organized. I was all excited to get to go to Cuba and disappointed I didn’t get to go, but in the process I learned just how easy it is to get the permit and also to go without one. People who had friends or relatives who had gone came out of the woodwork. I never knew so many people had been to Cuba!

  52. 52
    dance around in your bones says:

    @scav:

    That was a nice version. Lyrics:

    Tula’s Bedroom

    In the Cachimba neighborhood there is chaos
    The firemen went there with their bells and sirens
    The firemen went there with their bells and sirens
    Oh, my, what happened, Oh, my, what happened?

    Tula’s bedroom caught on fire
    She fell asleep, and didn’t put out the candle.

    Ibrahim Ferrer must be called, the firemen must be called
    That I think what Tula wants is to have the fire put out
    Oh, there comes Eliades, dashing
    He comes to observe Tula’s bedroom, which has caught on fire
    Carlos and Marcos are watching the fire
    If it is not put out now, it’ll go out later, fire
    Puntillita (name), go and find Marcos, so he can search for Sierra Maestra (name)
    Tell them to come quickly, that Tula, she caught on fire.
    Hey, Marcos, hurry up and take the small bucket, and don’t remain out there
    Fill it up with water, come and put out the fire in Tula’s bedroom
    Tula is on fire call the firemen
    You are fire, tune the drums
    Fire, guys
    He became insane, Barbarito (name), he must be admitted

    ¡En el cuarto de Tula, apagó la vela!

  53. 53
    lamh35 says:

    @mike with a mic:except what you said is bullshit.

    there is NO evidence that Bey and Jay’s “trip” was sanctioned by the Obama administration.

    Like I said, Jay and Bey ain’t the first wealthy Americans to go to Cuba. They are however the biggest power couple out their and Black and young and “Urban”.

    That is ALL this is.

    Unless evidence to the contrary comes up, can we let the GOP write their own propaganda please

  54. 54
    Roger Moore says:

    @Yutsano:

    I have to admit, I wanted to go, but work had other plans dammit lol.

    It might leave a black mark in your personnel folder with your current employer, also, too.

  55. 55
    dance around in your bones says:

    @scav: Gosh, that was beautiful.

  56. 56
    Felanius Kootea says:

    My friend was able to visit Cuba for a conference using an education exception. I think there’s also a waiver for artists.

  57. 57
    scav says:

    @dance around in your bones: Oh, I love it even more. thanks. The firemen with their bells, they must be called!

  58. 58
    gogol's wife says:

    @Violet:

    That sounds so great!

  59. 59
    Mike in NC says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Actually, one of the masts from the USS Maine can be seen at Arlington National Cemetery.

  60. 60
    Joel says:

    @lamh35: pretty simple here:

    1) win republican primary
    2) hope for democratic fuck ups
    3) win presidency

    conceivable, if improbable.

  61. 61
    Mike in NC says:

    I spent a few miserable weeks at Gitmo back in the 80s on active duty. Insanely hot and humid. Give it back!

  62. 62
    dance around in your bones says:

    @scav: Those lyrics are kinda mas o menos (more or less)….basically, Tula fell asleep in her room and forgot to put out her candle, which fell over and then….you know the rest!

  63. 63
    Roger Moore says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I know Vietnamese do, even in the north, which seemed a little odd to me. But even former NVA soldiers were nice and gracious. I guess you can be that way if you win.

    It’s important to realize that the Vietnamese perception of history is a bit different from ours. As long as our participation in the Vietnam war was, theirs was longer. We were just the middle part of a series of wars that also included fighting against France and China, and they have good reasons for hating the other guys more than us- France as the former colonial overlord who oppressed them for a long time before their war of liberation, and China as a nearby threat who they may reasonably suspect of still having designs on their country.

  64. 64
    dance around in your bones says:

    Here’s another version of El Cuarto de Tula by Barbarito Torres – check out the laud playing! It’s like Jimi on the electric guitar.

  65. 65
    AxelFoley says:

    @mike with a mic:

    Rodman was not a major Obama backer and bundler. This is the same sort of pay to play shit that gets me mad at Republicans and I get mad when my side engages with it as well. This nonsense and it honestly is rotten to the fucking core, and shows that this admin is just as pay to play as the Bush admin was.

    LOL, you need to turn your mic off, son.

  66. 66
    JGabriel says:

    Outside of the GOP base and right-wing Cubans, does anyone give a fuck about Castro anymore?

    I mean, the guy’s a tin-pot dictator. Castro never posed a threat to the US. I’ll pass on opining whether the embargo had any hope of success in the 60’s or 70’s, but I know damn well it should have ended two or three decades ago, at least. If we can engage with China on the theory that engagement opens markets and more successfully brings about change than opposition, then we can certainly engage with Cuba. And should.

  67. 67
    JGabriel says:

    Via ranchandsyrup:

    Stacey Dash ‏@REALStaceyDash: Do you care that The Jay Z”s have taken the capital you have given them and funded a communist oppressive regime?

    I thought the GOP was all about oppressing communists?

    I swear to god, wingnut grammar is almost as bad as wingnut policy.

  68. 68
    Chris says:

    @RepubAnon:

    The Cuba obsession is fucking ridiculous. Look, I’m sorry, but on a global scale as dictatorships go, it’s downright mild. Even if you’re limiting yourself to communist governments it’s probably the least bad out there – I definitely don’t recall the kind of mass starvations and mass purges in Cuba that you had in Russia, China, Camdobia or North Korea. We obsess on them purely because of U.S. politics.

  69. 69
    Chris says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I know Vietnamese do, even in the north, which seemed a little odd to me. But even former NVA soldiers were nice and gracious

    Oddly it makes sense to me. The North has no memories of American occupation and American puppets, even if it has memories of war. The South would remember Diem and the procession of American puppets that followed him, they would remember any occupying troops being obnoxious assholes, etc. More contact = more opportunity for bad memories.

  70. 70
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mike with a mic:

    Rodman was not a major Obama backer and bundler. This is the same sort of pay to play shit that gets me mad at Republicans and I get mad when my side engages with it as well. This nonsense and it honestly is rotten to the fucking core, and shows that this admin is just as pay to play as the Bush admin was.

    Quoi?

  71. 71
    gvg says:

    I find it easy to believe parental rights were terminated for waving guns around and threatening people such as foster parents and grandma. I’m a foster mom here in Florida and while terminating parental rights IS difficult, that would get it done pretty fast. I’ve actually had a call and turned down taking in a couple of kids whose dad went to school with a gun and made local news. case workers decided kids were getting to much negative attention due to dad’s threats and they were moved well away poor things.
    Typically relatives that can pass background checks will get a chance to adopt the kids. Florida likes actual adoptions not temporary custody as it tends to be more stable for kids.
    Family that hasn’t messed up as bad as this has a year to prove themselves before the state starts termination proceedings. Due to privacy there can be a lot more we don’t know but I think the gun waving, threats that seem serious and KIDNAPPING are sufficient to terminate rights plus parents will probably go to jail. That’s another thing, if parents are going to jail for quite awhile and have no family to take children, the state will terminate rights and put them up for adoption. Lots of studies say long term foster care is bad for children, also decades of records.
    These are not minor offences. They are behavior and bad judgement that are a danger to children too. The dad with a gun at school threatening teachers was big shocking news around here.

  72. 72
    gogol's wife says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    I was trying to think of the other great version of that that’s in my collection somewhere — this is it. Barbarito is so great.

  73. 73
    PaulW says:

    there are rumors Bey and Z were in Cuba to arrange the arrest of the at-large crazy ‘rents.

  74. 74
    Tonal Crow says:

    Please, whatever you Republicans do, don’t make Castro a fixture of your campaigns! It’ll just KILL us with Latinos!

  75. 75
    raven says:

    @scav: I have a friend that made a documentary about the charango.

  76. 76
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Violet:

    Rubio seems kind of stupid to me. The SOTU rebuttal didn’t help him any. This sort of thing is amateur hour. Seems like he’s only doing it to keep up the Cuban street cred. Probably figures it’ll blow over pretty quickly and he’s probably right.

    It plays very well among the Republican base. It plays to “Huh?” from everyone else.

  77. 77
    Nicole says:

    After googling around and reading a few articles about the family, I think it’s perfectly plausible that the reasons given are the real reasons they lost custody. From what I could gather, smoking pot in the presence of children is considered child endangerment in many states, and removing the kids from the parents, at least briefly, is pretty standard. In addition, the family was in a hotel, with a gun and talking about taking a trip to Armageddon. I could see a police officer concluding that the parents were planning to harm the kids.

    And then the father showing up at the foster home a week later waving a gun didn’t exactly help his image as a responsible parent.

    EDIT: And the really awful thing is now I’ve got that goddamn Def Leppard song “Armageddon It” stuck in my head.

  78. 78
    scav says:

    @dance around in your bones: O! I assumed the meaning was entirely underneath and in the 7th or 8th unwritten explation of words so mas o manos is mas than enough. And my dad is probably tracking down raven’s friend from beyond. Fair warning, he will be an obsessive, thorough and well-tuned ghost. Knew a few people who’d gone to Cuba to learn how to play the tres, hang around in parks and play a little . . . amazing people would come and show you how to do it better and then feed you.

  79. 79
    Jay C says:

    Well, it looks like the Cubans are going to be returning the Hakken family to the US – I guess it’s just more trouble that they don’t want to deal with… I also wonder: why Cuba?

  80. 80
    JGabriel says:

    Bubblegum Tate:

    I seriously would’ve thought Rubio was smarter than …

    Am I the only one who thinks Rubio is at Sarah Palin / Rick Perry levels of stupid?

    Every time I’ve seen Rubio, he’s come across as the dimmest bulb in a blind man’s garage sale. I don’t know why anyone would think he’s smarter than anything. Did I miss some occasion where Rubio didn’t sound like an out-of-his-depth doofus for five minutes?

  81. 81
    dance around in your bones says:

    @gogol’s wife: That laúd playing is so great.

    @scav: I guess there is something to be said for musicians just hanging around together and playing for the love of their music. Ok, maybe they didn’t make any money, but they played for the love of music.

    Mas o menos is a common expression in Mexico, like when someone asks you how you are? and you’re doing kinda bleh? you say “Ay, mas o menos.”

  82. 82
    gvg says:

    OH the other thing about Florida and the cuban embargo is Big Sugar uses that for subsidies and protection. Sugar cane growing is very profitable but only because Cuba isn’t allowed to sell to us. Their climate is better for cane, I’m sure they’d be cheaper. Big Sugar (a few companies) has a history of political bribes too. They pollute the everglades and abuse the workers. Manipulating the emotions of Cuban emigrants gives them even more power.

  83. 83
    Kyle says:

    “it provides money to a cruel, repressive and murderous regime.”

    So did I, unwillingly, as an American taxpayer from 2001-2009.

  84. 84
    Calouste says:

    @RepubAnon:

    Bingo! A few tens of thousands dead American soldiers is just the cost of doing business, but nationalizing American holdings, or even foreign holdings that Americans happen to have stock in (Anglo-Persian) puts you on the shitlist for the best part of a century.

  85. 85
    Chris says:

    @JGabriel:

    Am I the only one who thinks Rubio is at Sarah Palin / Rick Perry levels of stupid?

    No, I’m with you. Any Latino who thinks he can get anywhere near the White House on a Republican ticket is on some kind of drugs, Cuban or not.

  86. 86
    Chris says:

    @Calouste:

    Didn’t know we had stock in Anglo-Persian… The way I understand it is that Eisenhower backed Churchill’s play in Iran, but his price for doing it was that the Brits agree to end AIOC’s monopoly and open up the market. After the coup, five American companies got to move into the market (along with a French one and a Dutch one, and what was left of Anglo-Persian). Not that that in any way disproves your point; the American oil barons definitely did VERY well out of that one.

  87. 87
    Ruckus says:

    @JGabriel:
    Did I miss some occasion where Rubio didn’t sound like an out-of-his-depth doofus for five minutes?

    Please name me a member of the Party of Death that this doesn’t fit?

  88. 88

    This all rubs a sore spot since the US Dept of State just decided I’m probably not who I say I am… Me and the Prez – a valid DL and original BC aren’t quite enogh it seems. I now wonder just exactly who the hell I am…

  89. 89
    marshall says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    where’s the Cuban War Memorial in DC?
    Remember the Maine!
    Oh, wait…

    That’s in Virginia.

  90. 90
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    @WereBear: And there’s the real sin right there. Cuba puts the lie to health care being properly regarded as a luxury because it costs too much: it’s got a relatively tiny economy and manages to do it just fine, and with better outcomes than the US system.

    It puts the total lie into all the excuses used for why single-payer health care is a bad idea. There’s no way the private insurance industry can afford to permit you to see a well run system in a poor country in action.

  91. 91
    TCG says:

    @mike with a mic: And just what exactly did Jay-Z and Beyonce get from Obama for being bundlers? Raise millions of $$$$ = A trip to Cuba? I don’t think you know what pay to play means. Where is the quid pro quo?

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