Last updateFri, 29 Apr 2016 3pm

Brainy Mexican generation: Ambitiously educated young people, electronically nimble, hazy on cautionary history

Feliz año, and best wishes for running into at least a few revelatory, unintentional encounters as this new year gets underway. Experientially edifying moments. Some people talk about experiences because they were fun. It makes them happy, and that’s good. But often unforeseen experiences change our lives, teaching us things that change us, sometimes in large ways, sometimes in small.

New World Christians and Christ’s birth: Uncertain, arrogant, applying inappropriate old habits to a baffling, different world

Christian colonists in the New World were often hostile to celebrating Christ’s birth. In North America and in Nueva España – Spain’s Latin American conquests – some didn’t like the idea at all. There were divisions in their own ranks. Sometimes it was a rejection of established Christian dogma, sometimes of widely accepted Christian practices. Sometimes liturgical history.

Security requires stubborn optimism, wise compromise and persistence, plus both ingenuity and imagination

This busy past week at Lake Chapala offered numerous proposals to help tackle currently-noted local dilemmas, meaning, the well-attended public security meeting at Ajijic’s Hotel Real December 7, and the community-centered conversation it has stimulated. Hopefully, the most effective, not merely the most dramatic, of these proposals can become permanent community-wide behavior and thought.

Alabama comes to Mexico as that state’s economy falters under the stigma of adopting Arizona’s harsh immigration

Alabama in Mexico? More Mexicans than you’d expect are aware of the fallout of Alabama’s radical new immigration law. They have family members or friends working there, or fleeing work there. The severe immigration law copied the law drafted by former Arizona state Senator Russell Pearce, who was recalled November 8. Pearce was a favorite of the Tea Party. Both were aimed, said supporters in both states, to make life so uncomfortable for illegal immigrants that they would leave. Alabama’s new law appears to be wreaking more economic havoc than its extremist conservative leaders expected.

Jobless debate: Lazy or soft? ask US farmers of unemployed, cash-strapped workers, and get an unexpected answer

“We spend our workdays behind desks or counters, exercising our minds and fine (if limited) motor skills,” writes Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, of the Institute for American Values. But what’s forgotten, she notes, is that America was built on muscle-stretching, back-wrenching, physical work crossed with alert survival instincts. If you didn’t have both, you died, or failed and turned back.

Mexico’s Revolution: A testing ground for powerful nations sharpening new strategies for future efforts at empire building

Mexico, 1910-1929. Days of a “good” Revolution, boast governments that have come afterwards, all saying it ended in 1921. That’s reassuring fakery. There was the nearly successful 1923 rebellion coordinated by commandantes (governors) of Jalisco, Oaxaca, Veracruz and other states; the “uprising of the generals” in 1929, lead by General Gonzalo Escobar, put down only with the aid of the United States.

Vet’s Day addendum: The military life is not for all – shocking, demoralizing, even misleading many who ardently join its ranks

Summer, early 1950s. Three companies of bootcamp draftees are on a firing range to live-fire for the first time an Army Colt .45 caliber pistol. Instructors patrol their charges, giving instructions as a bullhorn in a tower snaps commands. Everything is done “by the numbers”: each step clearly defined to be exactly performed. After hours of sighting, aiming and dry-firing, young men aim their weapons at targets that seem far away. As the noncoms repeat the tower’s commands, they aim the heavy pistols. Precisely on command, they fire their first .45 round down range. All except one who, also precisely on command, shoots himself in the temple, spattering two recruits on his left with blood, barely missing them with the bullet. The Korean War is raging. Some of the training cadre are back from seeing hastily called-up reservists get slaughtered because they’re out of shape, poorly trained. New draftees find hard Korea-era basic training dismaying.