ROUTE 66











{April 20, 2009}   THE BOSS

Chavez: "I wanna be your friend boss"

Chavez: "I wanna be your friend boss"

When there is confidence in what the country stands for, when there is a conviction about the role of the country in the world, American presidents don’t run or shy away from showing friends and foes who’s the boss.

Compare to Newt Gingrich’s suggestion that the President should act cool and distant when facing people we don’t like. And what about the hysterical right wing knee jerk reactions still acting as if the rejection of their eight years of terror in 2008 hasn’t settled in yet.

Obama hurts, doesn’t it? But he is the boss now…

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{December 28, 2008}   THE ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSE

This is an unofficial translation of the blog CLARIN BLOG RUTA 66 about Paula Lugones and Maria Arce, two Argentine journalists traveling along Route 66 during the weeks leading to the November 4th Election.

It has been arranged in journal format so it can be read top to bottom in a sequence.


SARAH PALIN

Sarah Heath Palin was born on Feb. 11, 1964 in Sandpoint, Idaho. She received an Associate degree in Sciences from the University of Idaho, and was beauty queen of Wasilla when she moved to that Alaskan city. She worked as a televising sports journalist. Later she became co-owner of a commercial fishing company and president of Alaska’s Commission of Conservation and petroleum and the gas, between 2003 and 2004. A militant member of the Republican party, in 1992 she began her political career as council member of Wasilla, of 8,000 inhabitants and in 1996 she became mayor. He had a great political jump in 2006, when she was elected governor of Alaska was, the first woman to occupy that position. From her position, Palin raised taxes on the oil companies – a risky measurement as seen by some observers – and reached an agreement with a Canadian company for the construction of a yearned for pipeline for natural gas. But her activities have also been put under a meticulous scrutiny: in July 2008 an investigation began to determine if Palin had tried to use her position to get her sister’s ex- husband fired as a member of the state’s Civil Guard. But her importance at the national level came from the hand of John McCain, when surprisingly he chose her as his running mate last August 29. For Palin, mother of five children, the family is a fundamental part of her public image. She is married with Todd Palin, who works in the fishing industry, and has 5 children. Their older son Track, is currently stationed in Irak, whereas their smaller son, Trig Paxson Van, has of Down’s syndrome. Shortly after joining the campaign of McCain, Palin and her husband Todd revealed that her adolescent daughter was five months pregnant. They announced that Bristol intends to have the baby and marry with the father of the child.


JOE BIDEN

Original Spanish posting published HERE on Oct, 5 2008

He was baptized as Joseph Robinette Biden Jr although he’s simply known as Joe. He’s 65 years and the son of Joseph and Jean Biden. He was born in Scranton, Pensilvania on November 20, 1942. He is the older of four brothers. In 1953, the Biden family moved from Pensilvania to Claymont, Delaware. Biden studied in the parochial school of St. Helenás School in Wilmington and the Archmere Academy of Claymont. Public service is part of the Biden family: a great-grandfather of Joe was a senator for the State of Pensilvania. After graduating from the University of Delaware in 1965 and receiving a law degree at the University of Syracuse in 1968, Biden moved to the Wilmington area and founded his own law office and practiced law until 1972. Two years earlier, Biden -then 27 years old- run as a candidate in the elections for the city Council of the County of New Castle and won in an historical republican district. At 29 years, he set out to defeat two term republican senator J. Caleb Boggs. With very little aid and his sister as campaign manager, he defeated Boggs by 3,162 votes. A few weeks after the election, tragedy struck at his door. His wife Neilia and their one year old daughter Naomi died in a traffic accident. In addition, their two young sons were seriously injured. Biden was sworn at his son’s bedside at the hospital and began to commute every day by train to Washington, a custom that he has maintained throughout all his career in the Senate. In 1977, Biden married Jill Jacobs, a PhD in educational and a teacher for more than two decades in the schools of Delaware. Currently, she is a professor at the Delaware Technical Community College. In 1988, he underwent surgery for a brain aneurysm and it was on the verge of dying. He recovered at the beginning of 1989 after two surgeries and he enjoys a good health ever since. In addition to being a senator, Biden is assistant professor at Widener University’s Law School since 1991, where he teaches a seminar on constitutional law. He is the father of three children: Beau, Hunter and Ashley. Beau is General Solicitor of Delaware. A captain at the 261ª Brigade of Signals of the National Guard of Delaware, he’s going to Iraq during October. Ashley is social worker, and Hunter, a lawyer. Senator Biden also has five grandsons: Naomi, Finnegan, Roberta Mabel, Natalie and Robert Hunter


BARACK OBAMA

Original Spanish posting published HERE on Oct, 5 2008

Barack Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. His name is the same as his father’s who was born and he grew up in a small village in Kenya raising goats next to the grandfather of today’s presidential candidate. Barack’s mother, Ana Dunham, grew up in a small town in Kansas, the third state crossed by Route 66 on its way towards the West coast. The paternal grandfather of Obama worked in an oil drilling rig during the depression, and later he joined the Army during World War II, after the attack to Pearl Harbor. He fought under the orders of famous general Patton. During the conflict, his wife worked at bomber’s factory. After the war, Barack’s grandparents were able to go to college thanks to special governmental program and bought a house with the aid of the Federal Housing Administration and they moved west, to Hawaii. It was there, at the University of Hawaii, where the parents of Barack met. His father had obtained a scholarship that allowed him to leave Kenya and follow its dreams in the United States. But after a while the man decided to return to his country and Obama grew up in the care of his mother between Hawaii and Indonesia, another of the places in which they lived. With time he moved to New York, where he graduated with a degree in International Relations at the University of Columbia in 1983. By 1985 he had relocated to Chicago, where he headed a group -sponsored by his church- to improve the living conditions in the districts affected by delinquency and the high level of unemployment. The group obtained some goals, but Barack felt that he needed still more to change people’s life. He enrolled in Harvard and studied law. He became a lawyer in 1991. Shortly after he returned to Chicago to practice civil law and to teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago. His work as activist led it to run for state senator in Illinois, and later for senator of the State of Illinois where he’s currently serving. On November 4 he may become the first black president in the history of the country


JOHN McCAIN

Original Spanish posting published HERE on Oct, 5 2008

He was baptized as John Sidney McCain III. He was born in Coco Solo, in the Panama Channel Zone, on August 29, 1936. He was elected for the first time a representative for the State of Arizona in 1982. Almost twenty-five years earlier he had graduated from the US Naval academy as an aviator. He trained as an aircraft carrier fighter bomber pilot. He fought during the Vietnam War and he almost was killed in the fire of the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal in 1967. That was not a good year. While he was flying a bombing mission in the North of Vietnam he plane was shot down. He was seriously wounded and was captured by the Vietnameses. They released him in 1973. He was tortured and his war wounds left him with permanent physical limitations. For the Americans he is a military hero. He retired from the Navy in 1981. By then he had reached the rank of captain. He moved to Arizona and his military credentials helped him to enter politics. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1982. He served for two periods, until he was elected to the US Senate in 1986. He was reelected by large majorities in 1992, 1998, and 2004. A conservative in almost all his positions, he has surprised the Republican party in more than an occasion with disagreements in key subjects. He was involved in a political scandal known as the “Keating Five”. Five senators (Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, John Glenn, Donald W. Riegle and John McCain) were accused of corruption for giving inapropriate aid to Charles H. Keating, Jr, head of truncated Lincoln Savings and Loan Association during the 1980 and 1990. The crisis of the savings and loans, as it’s known, brought down 747 financial associations in the U.S.A. and it cost to the taxpayers 160 billion dollars. McCain was investigated and, for many, exonerated. The candidate to the presidency is also known it by his efforts ton establish diplomatic relations with Vietnam in the decade of 1990 and by his opposition to the political lobbying, position that he has defended from his position as president of the Committee of Commerce of the Senate. It is not the first time that he aspires to occupy the White House. He had already tried it in the year 2000, but George W. Bush won the primary nomination and he truncated McCain’s dream, a dream that may become reality on November 4. He is married in second nuptials with Cindy McCain. He has seven children and four grandsons. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona



{December 28, 2008}   DEEP AMERICA HERE WE COME
Original Spanish posting published HERE on Oct, 5 2008

MILE 0. On the left lamppost is the sign that marks the beginning of Route 66

This will be our travel log. At first you will think that we are a bit crazy, and the truth is, you may be a little right. Who’d think of driving almost 4,000 kilometers on that dusty and at time ghostly road? Two women in the middle of nowhere, in the desert, surrounded by cactus, cowboys and motels from the movies? Yes, ladies and gentlemen. There we go, against all prejudices and in search of what we know how to do: to tell stories.

The Rute 66 idea was born for years ago, during a journey almost eventful through the heart of the country covering the elections won by George Bush. How to show, in real time, all the facets this country and its 300 million inhabitants have ahead of the most dramatic elections in their history.

Conservatives, liberals, hippies, religious, young, old, lovers of the arts and the guns.

Traveling the country from one end to the other on Route 66, one of the greatest icons of the United States will give us the best panorama. To show the Argentinians deep America. We want to invite you to share day by day our voyage, to offer your opinions and suggest places to visit and to stories to tell in this unique coverage. Welcome.



{December 28, 2008}   AN ACCIDENT BEFORE DEPARTURE
Original Spanish posting published HERE on Oct, 6 2008

Michigan Ave. Chicago’s most important avenue

The trip started with an accident that kept us in suspense. Actually it was just the day before leaving Buenos Aires for Chicago where Route 66 begins. Maria’s car was hit by another car that run a red light somewhere on Avenida Cordoba . Not only she suffered some contusions, her car looked like a tuna can -that’s how she described it, I didn’t see it- but the women who left her like a sardine got off her car and hit Maria in the nose. Poor Maria, everybody offered her handkerchiefs to stop the bleeding. Luckily she didn’t suffer any serious injuries, but she had to postpone her trip for a couple of days because she couldn’t move because of the pain. This caused a delay in our departure plans.

I left on schedule to the US and we agreed that Maria take some time to recover before traveling. In the meantime, in Chicago I worked on some articles about the crisis which Argentinians are so interested about. Finally she arrived two days later with a preventive orthopedic collar which she stills wears with pride. I felt very guilty when I went to pick her up at the airport carrying a full agenda of interviews we had to do right away.

But she endured perfectly well, and she gets better every day. Looks like hard work is good for her, and that’s fortunate: this trip on Route 66 is dizzying and there is not enough time for tears



{December 28, 2008}   A BAD BEGINNING
Original Post in Spanish published HERE on Oct, 6 2008

The Cloud Gate, a sculpture by Anish Kapoor, is one CHICAGO’s symbols

Oh yes, we began bad. I was supposed to travel with Paula to the US, but as she told you, last Sunday I was in a car crash on Cordoba and 9 de Julio, and my neck and car were badly shaken. They took me to the hospital Ramos Mejia and I ended up with a neck brace that I to Chicago two days later than the original plan. I could get on the airplane thanks to pain killers and four days of forced rest. The first hours of the flight were terrible. Everything hurt. Even my soul. But I did not think of getting off this trip. The situation was improving as the hours passed and I went to asleep. I did not sleep as badly as I imagined. Airplane food is never a luxury (and much less the portions) but the truth is that the beef stroganoff was pretty good (but never as good as Gra’s). For dessert, dulce de leche mousse (which generally I do not like), and that was it. They woke us up for breakfast at 5 a.m. It’s been eons since I had breakfast that early. The menu? One medialuna and tea. They brought a mini fruit salad, but I only ate the grapes and the oranges. The pineapple was impossible. It pained me. The stewardesses of American Airlines were not of the most amiable variety. The girls were in a really bad mood. I understand them, at 3 a.m. I went to request water to take a medicine and they were wide awake. What a bummer! In addition, they had to deplane a passenger who insulted somebody and almost got into a fistfight. Yes, they took him off the plane because according to their explanation is prohibited to insult any member of the crew. I had a connecting flight in Miami and Paula was awaiting for me at the airport. She took me straight to the Hilton and from there to do several interviews. I did not have time to breathe! I ended up editing videos way late into the night until I fell very tired. I went to sleep in love with Chicago. And I still hadn’t seen much. The next day we drove around the city looking for Obama’s house. And I confirmed my love at first sight. It is a dream. Lots of green, water and asphalt. My perfect combination.



{December 28, 2008}   WHAT ARGENTINIANS ARE MISSING
Original post in Spanish published HERE on October, 7 2008

One of my preferred poscards, entering Chicago. We leave Chicago with the sensation that many Argentineans are not aware of a wonderful city. We’re talking about those Argentineans who having the fortune of being able to travel abroad go from Miami to New York avoiding this beautiful city of imposing, classic and modern, elegant, sophisticated architecture, with magnificent museums, theaters, a world class opera, excellent restaurants and the best thing: the blues. For those who love the landscape and the outdoor life, their parks are great with playgrounds for children. Lake Michigan this time of the year, with a multitude of sailboats rocking in calm waters, is a postcard. It is true that in the long months of winter, it gets cold – temperatures can drop to 20 degrees centigrades below zero but it is worth the pain. Hopefully many will visit more. Do you know Chicago? What do you recommend? Paula.



Published in ruta-66 on 07 Oct 2008

Petals, candles, soft music, a bit of bubbles and a bottle of champagne. The hair gathered, a rebellious curl that falls smooth, bold, on the shoulder. Somebody that enters slowly and devours with his glance from top to bottom. I am sure that you imagined something like that when you read the title of the post, but no. I’m sorry to put an end to your imagination and the story. Yes, it was a bathroom with a scent of roses and super hot, but because it was a very hot day. I ran into it in Joliet, on Route 66. Yes, at a service station. The kind through which tens of truck drivers and thousands of tourists with their daughters drive by every day. There, almost in the middle of nowhere, I felt, I inhaled, I enjoyed one of the richest aromas that I had encountered. I felt like staying there, sitting down breathing the aroma. But Paula was waiting for me outside, with her hands smelling of gasoline. It was not fair to have her waiting. She had filled Lilly’s tank up. We did not tell you yet? Our light truck, with which we are crossing the US from end to end, is called Lilly. I baptized it that way in Joliet, the first town that still conserves an original section of Route 66. There, Lilly received its fire baptism, but that, is the subject of another posting. Maria
PS: I promise better photos of Lilly, this is a video frame.



{December 28, 2008}   I FELL IN LOVE
Published in Spanish HERE on

In fact, the courtship has been going on for years, from the very moment I began dreaming about this trip. But when I had it in front of me, it was almost love at first sight.
In Joliet, south of Chicago, Route 66 appeared in all its splendor, with its end of the 1920’s original layout. I was very touched and I wanted at first to cruise it really slow, like savoring each meter of asphalt.

Eventually we will know each other better. She will be our companion for a few weeks.
Paula.

María (right) and me, in Joliet, a block away from the Route 66 Museum



{December 28, 2008}   OBAMA CONNECTS
Published in Spanish HERE on 08 October 2008

We left Chicago, the home of Barack Obama and the people who know him well. After interviewing friends and acquaintances –and also tens of people who see him only on television– we were left with the impression that what is more valued about Obama’s personality, is his ability to connect with people. He is described as a a common, simple person, like “the neighbor next door.” Able to engage a person in the neighborhood for hours of conversation . But now we are leaving Illinois, “a liberal” state and we’re entering states where the democrats do not win comfortably, or lose in the polls. In the next days we are going to explore the conservative universe. Route 66 also runs through the land of John McCain, Arizona. There, we will explore – as we did with Obama– what people think about the republican.



LILLY AND SAMANTHA, OUR TRAVELING COMPANIONS

Published in Spanish HERE on 09 October 2008

One is great, robust, impressive. We could say that it has clear eyes. And the other one is tiny, talks a lot and more than once put its leg in its mouth. But they come along with us, they are our inseparable companions: Lilly and Samantha. We introduced Lilly already in a previous post. Its our blue 4×4, that has already logged 1,600 kilometers since we have it, and we are barely in the second state of Route 66, Missouri. What I did not say to them is why we named it Lilly. I’m accustomed to baptize everything that I run into (what would my analyst say!). My car in Buenos Aires is called Tiqui, my key holder with all the Clarin keys (desks, lockers, etc) is called Osvaldo, my money purse is called Joaquin and now, our light SUV is called Lilly. As soon as I saw it I knew that I had to look for something in her that would identify it. For example, Osvaldo is called thus because is sort of large-nosed and it reminds me of an elementary school classmate named that way. And well, Lilly is from Illinois. It says so in his license plate: 6984969. And from Illinois it derived in Lillynois and it settled in Lilly. The name of Samantha has another explanation. It is our GPS. Because not only we travel with 20 kilos of maps that Paula has been buying for years, since she thought of this coverage, but we also have the latest technology. The thing is that Samantha speaks in Spanish and sometimes errs. I already know that you are going to say that the GPS never makes mistakes, that we are a pair of dummies, but it is truth. When we go underneath some bridge or of several freeways it begins “recalculating”, “recalculating” and right then we might end up at the Canadian border. Then, why Samantha? Because a few days ago we were interviewing people in Springfield and ran into someone named Samantha who almost died of an infarct when we asked her whom was she going to vote and saw the video camera. And she began to hesitate to a point that she asked a friend ”whom must I vote for? “. It was too much. And we decided to name our GPS after the hesitant Samantha. So we ride along with them onthe 66. Although sometimes we would like to give thm a couple of “kicks”, especially to Samantha. Maria.

PD: As promised, here are better photos of Lilly

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et cetera