ex-Presidents and Moon Jockeys

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Thanks to Brother Hrab for forwarding this article about former Guyanese President Janet Jagan, who is a Jewish woman from Chicago. Mrs Jagan is quite the historical figure, having suffered through arrests and harrassment with her late husband, Guyanese hero Cheddi Jagan. In fact, a little known movie titled Thunder In Guyana details her life and political struggles. She continues to wield much political power behind the scenes in Guyana and has in recent years collected as many enemies as admirers. I make no judgements about her politics or machinations, since I’m not sufficiently educated about the details of her political life, and am biased by her association with Cheddi Jagan, a man greatly admired in my family. But she is without a doubt one of the most fascinating women to ever ascend to the office of head of state –in any nation.

Back in 2000, when I was awarded the Guyana Literature Prize (for Best First Work), I had the great honour of meeting Mrs Jagan. She escorted me into the theatre and sat next to me during the reading of nominees, chattering on about her grandchildren in Canada. I had no idea who she was, so caught up was I in my own self-importance and nervousness. (I didn’t have a speech ready and was fretting about what I was going to say in front of this crowd of dignitaries.) When it finally dawned on me who this person really was, I was quite abashed. Here’s a pic of me with former President Jagan:


Now I have to get myself a copy of that movie!

Cousin Ajay sends us this article about lab-grown meat. That’s riight, no animals are killed in the production of this flesh. So will vegetarians take to it? Depends on whether one eschews meat for moral or health or taste reasons. I, for one, look forward to its introduction into the marketplace. Animal slavery is real. Food production from animal sources is cruel and terrible. I love my meat, though, so my moralistic preaching is quite hollow and hypocritical. The advent of lab meat will allow me to preach with a tad more moral authority 😉

It seems a Vienna man is offering to sell his kidney for the purchase price of a condo. The sale of organs is prohibited in many countries to prevent the abuse of the poor and to quash the emergence of an organ-trading black market, as was so presciently predicted in the novels of Larry Niven many decades ago. On the other hand, are we not free to sell whatever we own? And what do we own more undeniably than our own body parts? I argue for the rights of prostitutes to “sell their bodies”, based on the same principle, and for the rights of any individual to inject his body with whatever substance he chooses, so long as the results of such actions do not directly deleteriously affect others; a la J.S. Mills’s treatise that “your rights end where my nose begins.” So what do you think, my droogies, yea or nay for the right to sell your body parts?

Apropos of nothing, I end today with a new story about NASA’s long term plans for a $100 billion return to the moon. I fully support this plan. Yes, it’s costly and the money could be spent doing much good here on Earth. But unlike military, industrial or entertainment-based wastages of money, any country’s space programme has one important characteristic: it represents a first step in a long term enterprise to move large numbers of human beings permanently off the Earth. And, to my way of thinking, nothing is more important to ensure the survival of the human race.