Hey folks! Just wanted to leave a link here to my new (as yet unnamed) blog at karinastenquist.wordpress.com ! In case anyone actually still checks this blog that’s where I’ll be from now on, documenting my year in DC getting my master’s in Journalism and Public Affairs at AU. Hope to see and hear from everyone, and I look forward to comments, criticism, encouragement and everything else!!

Besos a todos!!

PS – totally open to name suggestions, I haven’t come across one I like yet, so it’ll keep changing until I do 🙂


Things are not going as planned.

I have accumulated a giant ridiculous list of links I’ve wanted to blog about but it turns out that trying to sort of the moving of 6 years of life by March 4 takes up a lot of time (what with all the partying , er packing, that needs to be done).

I really don’t see how I’m going to get my ass on a plane on March 4 in any sort of orderly manner. It feels like the recent chaos is getting bigger not smaller. Instead of solving problems, or getting things done, I’m really just eliminating things from my list altogether like “well, its not essential so I guess I just won’t do that.”

And I had envisioned some cool blog about the whole process – I wanted to have a series of posts under the categories “Things I’ll Miss About Madrid”, “Things I Won’t Miss About Madrid”, “Things To Do Before I Leave”, etc…

No, not really happening, would require much too much time to sit, and contemplate what is happening. Once again, I have not been able to take my most intense personal experiences here (like when I was doing my long tortured application for residency) and turn it into a blog. I guess I just need distance or something.

Todays list of things to do:

  • Teach three English classes I have no desire to teach but I so desperately need every penny that I have to do it.
  • Do a second sorting through of my books, to see really, I mean really, which I can leave and which I must must must take with me even though it will cost a fortune to send them.
  • Start sorting through my clothes, eliminating all but the most essential/ practical (big lacy red party dress stays, sniffle).
  • Have a little cry as I go through all the things I will be leaving behind.
  • Feel guilty about my materialism and try  to lecture myself  about being a little more Zen about the whole situation, object are only objects, etc….
  • Give up, have a glass of wine, eat cheese and quietly panic.

…the governator, Arnold Swarzenegger has brain-farted out the idea of outsourcing our inmates to cheaper, Mexican, prisons.

But do Mexicans think Arnie is "Numero Uno"? Lo dudo.

From SFGate, via Foreign Policy’s Passport blog:

“We pay them to build the prisons down in Mexico and then we have those undocumented immigrants be down there in a prison. … And all this, it would be half the cost to build the prisons and half the cost to run the prisons,” Schwarzenegger said, predicting it would save the state $1 billion that could be spent on higher education.

About 19,000 of the state’s 171,000 prisoners are illegal immigrants, according to the most recent statistics available online. The state spends more than $8 billion a year on the prison system.

Aaron McLear, spokesman for the governor, said later that Schwarzenegger’s comments did not represent a concrete proposal, but “a concept somebody mentioned to him” and he could not say where the governor came up with the $1 billion figure.

Who let him go off script?! Silly handlers, I bet their kickin’ themselves over this.

This is quite relevant to the thoughts I’ve been mulling over recently about globalization, particularly while I was reading Zygmunt Bauman’s Wasted Lives (finished now, btw, and it was awesome).

The reason people get upset about globalization, is cuz only the crappy stuff gets globalized (i.e. exported from rich countries to poor countries): slave wage level jobs, low labor standards, pollution, garbage, corruption, and, now, if the governator has his way, prison populations.

Why don’t we just go ahead and ship all our difficult things to Mexico?  Let’s ship our elderly, and mentally disabled to Mexico too, I’m sure there they could be cared for for cheaper. (They could certainly get their meds for cheaper).

Just as its crappy to send our garbage to China or Bangladesh (which we do a lot of), or to burden other countries with the pressure to produce all our goods on the cheap (quashing labor rights if need be), or to force other nations to open their economies to imports so we can thrive (oh, just read the Shock Doctrine), it’s immoral to outsource any other problem that is produced within our society.

And no, I don’t care if he’s talking about outsourcing “illegal” immigrant offenders. The criminal trials took place here, and we are responsible for them.

(And btw, the sfgate journo mentions that 19,000 of the 171,000 prisoners are illegal immigrants, but it would be helpful to know how many are Mexican illegal immigrants, unless the Schwarz is planning on shipping Guatemalans, Vietnamese, Russians, and whoever else to Mexico too.)

Hi there, just in case anyone is reading and has info, I thought I’d ask: What’s the cheapest way to ship my things from Spain to DC? I have a lot of books and this is causing me some anxiety. I don’t want to leave or sell them, but damn, they’re heavy. I don’t care if it takes a long time to get to the states either. I just want to find the cheapest way to ship a few heavy boxes. Any advice appreciated!!!

The other day I saw this Glen Beck tirade on crooksandliars.com. Now, I could spend years on what is wrong with it but I’m gonna focus on one thing in particular. The part where he starts to characterize progressives as a disease.

The same day I saw this clip, by happy coincidence, I was reading Antony Beevor’s Battle of Spain. I’m getting to the end. Its the sad part. (I’m almost finished! only taken 7 months!) And in talking about the massacres perpetrated on the populace after the nationalists took power Beevor writes the following:

Another paradoxical parallel between Franquism and Stalinist Russia was the obsessive fear of ideological contagion. While most of the senior Soviet advisers from Spain were being forced to confess by the NKVD to treasonous contacts abroad and then shot, in nationalist Spain the rhetoric called for drastic surgery of the body politic. The Bishop of Vic called for a ‘scalpel to drain the pus from Spain’s entrails’. Franco’s press attache, the Count de Alba y Yeltes, said during the war to one Englishman that they had to rid Spain of the virus of bolshevism, if necessary by eliminating a third of the male population of Spain. Now that the nationalists had almost all the republican prisoners in their power, they could embark on their thorough cleansing. [emphasis mine]

Eerily similar to the rhetoric Beck is employing now. From the vid above, starting around 1:15:


So, what are you all reading these days? I’m reading…well…too many things at once, as usual. But one book I feel merits particular mention is this one by Zygmunt Bauman.

I first read Zygmunt Bauman at university. We read his Modernity and the Holocaust, which I would still highly recommend to anyone. Really. Anyone. It has dense moments, but ultimately it was a real mind-opener, for me at least, in terms of how I will forever think about the Holocaust’s meaning.

In this little volume, Bauman tackles the subject of those who do not thrive in our current societies. Those who are outcasts, considered unimportant, expendable, like garbage – human waste, or wasted humans, as he calls them.

This includes refugees, the poor, the unemployed, the economic migrants, and the asylum seekers. He attempts to explain that their existence is, in a tiny nutshell, a direct consequence of the modernizing drive (much as he explained the occurence of the Holocaust – please, read that book!).

There are 4 parts or chapters to the book:

  • The Waste of Order Building (order building being the way we structure our societies, so the waste inherent in our social structures)
  • The Waste of Economic Progress (the chapter I’ve just finished, which gets less abstract than the first, thankfully, and addresses the humans that end up as waste because of our economic system.)
  • The Waste of Globalization
  • The Culture of Waste

I’ve only just finished the second part, but I find it really exciting the way he articulates so clearly the way we have historically used and are currently using immigration in our economic systems.

He also has a very good discussion of overpopulation, which, for all the angry articles I’ve read about why population control schemes are “racist” or “culturally biased” actually has the bet argument for questioning the motivation of population control plans that I’ve read anywhere. (but that’s another post entirely).

He also includes in this chapter a beautiful discussion on fear and it’s interactions with religion, capitalism, and ignorance (particularly trenchant observations when applied to the US where all three are promoted with fervor).

Here’s a great line, giving much food for thought when applied to recent political events in the US (ie – the underpants bomber)

Human vulnerability and uncertainty are the principal raison d’etre of all political power; and all political power must attend to a regular renewal of its credentials.

Ironic no? You think the government is there to keep you safe, that’s they’re job. But if you ever actually were entirely safe (impossible to begin with) you would see no reason for the government. Therefore, to continue existing, the government, whose job is to protect you, has to constantly convince you that you are in danger and that they are therefore needed. What a beautifully and concisely worded insight.

Therefore, at the same time that the political establishment probably sincerely wants to protect citizens from men with exploding y-fronts, they also feel compelled to use this episode to justify their particular actions (money spent on defense, escalation of wars, starting of new wars perhaps, preventing unions in the TSA, etc…) and their very existence.

I linked this in the last post and then was like “Hey! I haven’t read this since 10th grade history class. Maybe I’ll echarlo un vistazo” (i think in Spanglish). So here’s the text for anyone else who is curious.

And don’t get me started on the no rights of women to be seen thing. That’s another post for another day.

Approved by the National Assembly of France, August 26, 1789

The representatives of the French people, organized as a National Assembly, believing that the ignorance, neglect, or contempt of the rights of man are the sole cause of public calamities and of the corruption of governments, have determined to set forth in a solemn declaration the natural, unalienable, and sacred rights of man, in order that this declaration, being constantly before all the members of the Social body, shall remind them continually of their rights and duties; in order that the acts of the legislative power, as well as those of the executive power, may be compared at any moment with the objects and purposes of all political institutions and may thus be more respected, and, lastly, in order that the grievances of the citizens, based hereafter upon simple and incontestable principles, shall tend to the maintenance of the constitution and redound to the happiness of all. Therefore the National Assembly recognizes and proclaims, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following rights of man and of the citizen:


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