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Friday, July 31, 2009

Thank You, Candice Miller (R-MI)

She was against the Economic Stimulus Plan before she was for one (or more) part(s) of it..... Yes, thank you, U.S. Representative Candice Miller (R-10th District, Michigan) for supporting EXTENDING the extremely popular "Cash for Clunkers" program that exists because the Democrats in Congress passed the stimulus package and President Obama signed it into law.

Candice Miller's voting record may be found here.

Now, Candy, about health care reform? Will you support the people of Michigan or the shareholders and executives in the insurance industry? How much money have you accepted from the health care industry?
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Mock the Republican Party


H/T to The Daily Dish --- Andrew Sullivan's post is here.

The GOP has become a regional party. And, all this "Birther" BS has nothing to do with racism...... riiiight.

Notice where the Birthers live.

Your Moment of Zen

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Future of BiPartisan Healthcare Reform

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

A film montage from The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Everybody Knows

Original Version by Leonard Cohen

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows that the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight is fixed
the poor stay poor and the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows that the boat is sinking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody's got this broken feeling
Like their Momma or there dog just died
Everybody's hands are in their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
and a long stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows
Everybody knows
that's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows
Everybody knows
that's the way it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that its now or never
Everybody knows that its me or you
Everybody knows that you live forever
When you had a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old black Joe still pickin' cotton
for ribbons and bows
Everybody knows you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you been faithful
Give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you been discrete
So many people you had to meet
without your clothes
and Everybody knows

Everybody knows
Everybody knows
that's the way it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows
Everybody knows
that's how it goes
and Everybody knows

Share It With A Neighbor

(that's Neighbour, Mel)

They Broke It: Mock the GOP

The Deathers Theory Part 2

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Deathers Theory

We have the Birthers, now we have the Deathers, like North Carolina's U.S. Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC). Yes, there is now a secret plot to kill old people. Rachel Maddow referred to these newest whackjobs as promoting the Deathers Theory. Note the lies about health care in this ad:


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An Important Revelation

Jon Stewart from The Daily Show got uber conservative William "I got Iraq all wrong" Kristol to admit that the United States Government offers the best health care that money can buy for the U.S. military. He also honestly admits that the rest of the citizens in the U.S. are not worthy of the best health care.

This is class warfare Republican Party style. The poor and the middle class do not deserve the best --- only the very rich and those that serve in the military.

That is what this whole debate about health care boils down to --- money and power...........

Asshole.

Please read what John Amato wrote for his blog Crooks & Liars.

And, watch for yourself:


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Mock the Republicans

United States Representative Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina) is a Republican whack-job.  Does she really represent her district in North Carolina?  Are they all as nutty as she seems to be?

Yes, Virginia, STFU.



Rep. Foxx Says Health Care Reform Will Cause Seniors To Be "Put To Death By Their Government"



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Friday, July 24, 2009

End Of Lecture Part 2

According to the AFP:

"Anti-gay Singapore prof cancels NYU stint after uproar"

A Singaporean law professor has pulled out of a teaching stint at New York University after her hardline anti-gay views triggered a backlash on campus, school officials said.

Richard Revesz, dean of New York University's law school, said Thio Li-ann had informed him she would not be teaching during the fall semester because of "controversy surrounding her views regarding homosexuality and gay rights."

"She explained that she was disappointed by what she called the atmosphere of hostility by some members of our community towards her views and by the low enrolments in her classes," he said in a statement seen Friday.



My thoughts here and here and here.......



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Your Moment of Zen

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Salt Lake City Kiss

The arrest of a gay couple for a kiss in what had been a public park in Salt Lake City, Utah has invoked enormous response. A third protest "kiss-in" was scheduled for tonight. I've not mentioned this story. After seeing this cartoon I had to publish it and say something.

Those Christianists and Republicans that believe gay marriage will lead to other disasters and un-Godly acts take notice. LMFAO

For a full story and review here. H/T to Joe.My.God.
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Go Out With Me

Down Under in "The Lucky Country" ---



H/T to Joe.My.God.
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R.I.P. Gidget



The famous actor, Gidget, known best for her role in Taco Bell commercials and Legally Blond 2 has died.  She was 15.  People magazine has a story.

The bitch will be sadly missed.



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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Health Care in America

The latest issue facing the citizens of the United States that is stoking the fires of my hypomania is health care.  The 2008 Election is past and the issue of gay rights continues, but on a less enthusiastic level for me.  So, keeping my mind racing are the stupid out-of-touch politicians, the health care industry that puts profits before people, and the main stream media that long ago forgot what journalism was all about.  Millionaire politicians haven't a clue about the day to day struggles of the middle class and the poor.  The health care industry complicates matters by paying off the politicians and lying to the public about everything to do with health care reform.  The talking heads on TV are simply lame and ignorant.  I'm trying my best to not slip from hypomania to depression though a trigger is just around the corner.  Some idiot in Michigan would like to "reform" the insurance coverage that public employee retirees currently have -- that is, make our health care costs go up while the State of Michigan "saves" money...... That's depressing.

No one seems to dispute that Americans pay more out of pocket for heath care.  No one disputes that the United States ranks below three dozen other countries in the delivery of health care.  So, why the heck is health care better in France, Canada, and the United Kingdom?  Why is it that health care costs in Mexico are cheaper than the U.S.?  Our experiences with buying prescription medications at a fraction of their U.S. costs should demonstrate that there is something rotten in D.C.  The rot begins with health care being a for-profit business and that not one politician is brave enough to call them out for taking huge profits while dumping needy folks from their rolls.  The Congress that passed the historic Medicare Prescription Coverage legislation were so beholding to their pharma and health insurance masters that the law prevented Medicare from negotiating for better drug prices.  And, that donut hole in coverage is a travesty.

Republicans talk big about competition -- free market -- and other such hypocritical nonsense.  Where is the competition amongst the pharmaceutical companies?  There is none.  And, unless there is competition between health insurers and a real honest-to-God public insurance plan we will never see sanity in health care costs.  The Republicans want to block any reform.  That is clearly evident by their failure to propose alternatives to the legislation being championed by Democrats.  Delay.  Delay.  And, kill reform is their mission.  Their reward will be more money for their re-election campaigns and a special place in hell.

Every day I read the horror stories of families saddled with enormous debt to pay for care that is needed or care that has been delivered.  No one should have to hold a bake sale, pancake breakfast, or spaghetti dinner to pay for life saving medical treatment.  When I think about the many many donation jars that I saw on store and restaurant counters in my hometown in Michigan I become saddened and then angry.  What is wrong with those people that believe in the philosophy of sink or swim?  If you don't have insurance, generous family and friends, or are unwilling to go deep into debt, than die.

The poor among us are the one's hit hardest by the economic troubles in the U.S. and the rest of the world.  If you don't have insurance you delay treatment that may end up being more costly in the end, that is, if you don't just die before your medical problem sends you to an emergency room.  If you don't have health insurance you no doubt lack dental care coverage.  So, the poor have more dental problems that eventually lead to more health problems.  And, no one seems to care.

I have to sing a familiar refrain here --- Where are the Christianists in the current health care debate?  They have so much money to throw at birther boobs, anti-abortion activists, and anti-civil rights retreads and they seem to have nothing to support the poor, the sick, and the homeless.  "Love Your Neighbor As Yourself" seems to only apply to their fellow Christiainist crazies and not to the world that Christ begged them to serve.  The Bible thumpers need to re-read Matthew 5.  Jesus Christ had a bit more to say about Christian conduct than the famous Beatitudes.

Matthew 5 verses 43 - 48:

"43"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor[h] and hate your enemy.' 44But I tell you: Love your enemies[i] and pray for those who persecute you, 45that
you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on
the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the
unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Yep.  We are but a nation of mealy mouth hypocrites if we claim to love the Lord and we serve Him not......



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These Folks Are Nuts Part 2!!

At a meeting with Representative Mike Castle (R-DE)...........



H/T to Firedoglake
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These Folks Are Nuts!!

These "Birthers" do not except anyone's evidence of the FACT that President Obama was born in Hawaii.


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Were Adultery Laws Overturned by Activist Judges or Horny Lawmakers?

Nevada Senator Ensign (R)--- adulterer --- refuses to resign because he is not bound by anyone's moral code.  But, in the end he will be taken down for being stupid enough to violate laws that are still on the books.  Ensign stated that Bill Clinton should resign from office because of Clinton's admitted adultery with Monica Lewinsky.  No, Ensign has had no plans to resign.  He even announced his bid for re-election to the Senate about 1 year before it is customary to do so.....

Why should he resign?  Afterall, adultery is not a federal crime.  Other than the phreaking DOMA, the matters of marriage are left up to the individual states.  You know, another "State's Rights" issue.  Adultery laws vary in the U.S. .....  As for Senator Ensign, he will likely be taken down for a violation of election law, bribery, tax evasion, and/or major ethics violations.  The payoff to Ensign's mistress, husband, and two of their three children may be the key in removing the morally challenged hypocrite from political office.
 
I seriously want to know why the Christianists in the United States are not going apeshit over the adulterous legion of Republican Party elected officials.  Really.  Are high moral values only applied to and expected of Democratic leaders?  Where is the fucking outrage?  Senator Vitter (R-LA) screwed a prostitute after taking off his diaper, Senator Larry Craig attempted adultery in an airport restroom stall, Newt stepped out on wife one before marrying wife two and I don't know where number three comes in his blanking definition of marriage, Governor Sanford took a hike on the Appalachian Trail, Senator John McCain stepped out on wife number one with wife number two, and, not to be forgotten, former U.S. House of Representative Mark Foley (R-Florida), attempted to meet up with underage boys for sex.

Why aren't the teabaggers demonstrating against these morally challenged hypocrites?

We are truly in a bizarre 1984-like world.  War is Peace.  Torture is harsh questioning.  Adultery is Family Values in overdrive.



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Mock the GOP

Banned in Germany

This Sprite advert is banned in Germany..... will it be viewed elsewhere?

NSFW

Friday, July 17, 2009

Photos of the Day




These photographs were taken along the lakeside "boardwalk" in Chapala, Mexico. Chapala is a much larger town than Ajijic and is east of Ajijic along the shores of Lake Chapala. Today was an overcast day with a bit of humidity. The clouds were low over the mountains.
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Florida Fails it Students


Ignoring science has its perils.  Hopefully, members of the religious right and conservative right movements will begin to realize that banishing truth from high school classrooms is a dangerous thing.
  When scientific facts are ignored or otherwise prohibited from being learned superstitions and myths may take the place of truth.  For example, in Michigan we know that when cold weather fronts and hot weather fronts collide severe weather may be the outcome.  Thunderstorms and tornadoes may form and threaten great damage in the areas affected.  Science explains the process of storm development and, low and behold, science allows mankind to develop radar devices to give people warnings about developing storms and actual storms affecting any given area.  Without science we would still tell our children that thunder is caused by angels bowling in heaven and lightening destroys only the wicked and their properties.  Tornadoes are caused by doctors that prescribe birth control and sometimes by gay folk that get uppity.

The State of Florida has learned, umm, by scientific research, that teaching "abstinence only" in high school classrooms has created myths to develop.  Many students in Florida actually believe that drinking bleach will prevent HIV and drinking Mountain Dew or smoking pot will prevent pregnancy.  According to a report in the Orlando News in Orlando, Florida:

"State lawmakers said the myths are spreading because of Florida's abstinence-only sex education, Local 6 reported.They are proposing a bill that would require a more comprehensive approach, the report said.It would still require teaching abstinence but students would also learn about condoms and other methods of birth control and disease prevention."

We can only imagine how many unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and HIV infections have occurred because of ignorance ---yes, the ignorance of the legislators in Florida that mandated abstinence only programs and the ignorance fostered by parents and politicians ignoring the scientific fact that high school students have raging hormones.

Schools are supposed to teach facts not ignore them.

H/T Joe.My.God.



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Your Moment of Zen



Thursday, July 16, 2009

LMAO

Sort of........ (H/T Daily Dish)

Public Service Announcements from the F U T U R E



3 funny PSA's

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End of Lecture

Wow. I just got done partially digesting a letter written by Dr. Li-ann Thio to a dean at the New York University Law School in response to all of the critcism she has received as folks discover her anti-LGBT personal beliefs. I suppose that coming to NYU Law to lecture about "Human Rights in Asia" didn't seem quite so ironic and insulting to her as it is to some NYU faculty and many other folks in the United States.

If Dr. Thio ever makes it to NYU, the only lesson that may be learned in that lecture hall is that human rights are dependent upon one's geography, politics, religion, or government and, lest we forget, wealth and/or penis status. What constitutes a human right according to the United States is defined differently
by the government of Singapore. So, STFU.

From her letter:

"10. Now, as a scholar, I have not written about homosexuality and the law in any direct sense. Simply because it is not a research interest of mine, or has not been up till now. It is also an area which attracts a great deal of personal attack, which no sane person invites, as this current furore shows. The only time I can think of where I indirectly referenced it in a law review article was in relation to issues of definition and how one identifies a 'human right.' That is, is a human right natural, is it a subject of political preference, an object of political capture? If human rights are meant to be universal, why is there so much local resistance? Is same sex marriage, for instance, a human right? Some may like it to be as a matter of personal conviction or politics, but it is not a global right, certainly not a customary international law norm, though there have been treaty-based interpretations of it e.g. ICCPR and ECHR jurisprudence. That is how I teach the subject.
I see it as a regional legal right, a contested one at the UN (though as a scholar, I will observe that the dominant view is to see sexual orientation as a right without defining the broad term) and a constitutional/ civic rights issue in many countries, particularly those in western liberal democracies (though not limited to the 'West')."

That's it folks. Save the cost of airfare. Move along. Nothing to see here.

End of Lecture.

(I mentioned this controversy in the post "Refecting" and I have more to say relating to this subject........stay tuned.)

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Coward?

I have not been watching the confirmation hearings for Justice Sotomayor for several good reasons. One of them is certainly related to self-preservation and another to protect the only television we own. I was even yelling at the television last night when I accidentally saw the beginning of CNN's Lou Dobbs Show. His opening remarks about Justice Sotomayor were lies and deliberate distortions of the now famous "wise latina" speech. WTF is wrong with that man?

As predicted/hoped, the Republican Party and it's Republican Senators have begun to show their true racist roots and their old old old belief in their own white superiority and white priveledge. The lead Senator in the battle to smear our newest Supreme Court Justice nominee was himself denied a place on the Federal bench when during his confirmation hearing two Republican leaders objected to his past racist remarks and affiliations with white supremacists. Go figure.

The folks at Crooks and Liars have a great summary of the stupid stupid things these old white guys are saying.

The Republican Party is doomed. Well deserved. Karma, neh?

Unfortunatly, we won't be watching any television for the next several days due to the premature shut-off of our Canadian satellite TV service. Someone failed to note that our contract ends on July 20th and not yesterday. It looks like we need to see if our new service provider can expidite their installation and service. Not that we can't survive without television for a few days, but we may want to see something before then. Oh well, we have the internet with access to many great news site (see my listing) and many many movies on DVD. And, if all else fails, we have the opportunity for good old fashioned conversation.

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Worth Noting



Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in The World" - Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook



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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Photo of the Day


The clouds were low over the peaks of the mountains today. This photograph was taken this morning in the Ajijic Plaza. Behind the head of the sculpture you may see the gazebo that sits in the middle of the plaza. Our plaza has many pieces of "art" scattered throughout it. Ajijic has a very large community of artists.
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Monday, July 13, 2009

Reflecting Part 3

Reflecting Part 2

Reflecting


According to Dr. Thio Li-ann of the National University of Singapore, "A moral wrong cannot be a human right." Touted as a human rights advocate, Li-ann is responsible for promoting anti-homosexual actions by the government of Singapore. She has voiced some horrendous things about homosexuals. It is then with certain consternation that she has been invited to lecture about "Human Rights in Asia" at New York University. Her anti-gay views somehow do not seem significant enough to bar her lecturing American students about human rights.

Dr. Li-ann's statement that "a moral wrong cannot be a human right" probably accurately reflects the reasoning of the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Council in their refusals to recognize the rights of homosexuals. Ironically, just 150 years ago, and no doubt even now, Christianist leaders used the Bible and their moral codes inspired by Scripture to prevent the education of blacks, slaves or free, and to prevent any recognition of human and civil rights. Yes, once upon a time black folk were not permitted an education, not permitted to marry and form families, and were not permitted any semblance of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. Following the Great War Between the States, Jim Crow laws, Christianist teachings, and every conceivable action kept black folk from attending schools with white children, living in white neighborhoods, drinking from white water fountains, eating in or with whites in restaurants, and on and on and on...... The great defenders of such actions continued to use their high moral views to justify blantant civil and institutional racism.

So, what has changed today? Now, many black leaders use their Bibles and the teachings of their churches to demonize homosexuals and to justify the withholding of human or civil rights. They, along with the white folk that hate them still, fight to prevent any recognition that discrimination against homosexuals is an issue of basic human and civil rights. They want no mention of gays in laws that ban discrimination or seek to punish hate crimes. To them, in the recently uttered words of a southern politician, homosexuals are lucky that they are allowed to exist.

Morals.

It should be clear to most people by now that religion has played a major role in the hate and violence that threatens the safety and security of us all now, as in past centuries. Whether it is the Taliban, the KKK, the Mormons, or the Southern Baptist Church, the interpretation of Holy Scripture, the Bible or Koran, and the teachings of the various faith groups and their leaders are in direct opposition to the ideals of the experiment called American Democracy. The Founding Fathers knew the dangers of allowing anyone's religion to rule our young Republic. Unfortunately, politicians, then and now, refuse to learn the lessons of history. Religion is the opiate of the masses, according to Karl Marx, and unfortunately religion has been used by governments and by those that govern to suppress their people. Today, religion is being used to deny civil and human rights to homosexuals.

Nothing ever seems to change........
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Sunday, July 12, 2009

WTF

Pupils told: Sex every day keeps the GP away

From the TimesOnline article:

A National Health Service leaflet is advising school pupils that they have a “right” to an enjoyable sex life and that regular intercourse can be good for their cardiovascular health.

The advice appears in guidance circulated to parents, teachers and youth workers, and is intended to update sex education by telling pupils about the benefits of sexual pleasure. For too long, say its authors, experts have concentrated on the need for “safe sex” and loving relationships while ignoring the main reason that many people have sex, that is, for enjoyment.

The document, called Pleasure, has been drawn up by NHS Sheffield, although it is also being circulated outside the city.

Alongside the slogan “an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away”, it says: “Health promotion experts advocate five portions of fruit and veg a day and 30 minutes’ physical activity three times a week. What about sex or masturbation twice a week?"






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Photos of the Day



This was the view from my seat in the Chinese Restaurant where we had lunch today. This restaurant is on the main street of Ajijic which serves as the east/west highway on our side of these mountains. They are so green right now. 6 months from now they will be very brown.

And, after having enjoyed a wonderful lunch with Memo and our friend from the city north over the mountains (about 45 minutes away -- Guadaljara), the fortune cookies arrived. How interesting that my fortune related to a blog post from yesterday.

It reads: Hear with your ears but listen with your heart.
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Thank you, Senator Debbie Stabenow



I've been critical in the past of Michigan's United States Senator Debbie Stabenow.  Today, I am proud that she is standing up for the people of Michigan and telling it like it is about the health care public option.  The reality is that powerful Republicans and some Democrats are so beholding to the insurance industry and big pharma that these politicians will do everything to maintain the status quo.  They do not care what the people want and need.  The people that these pols are supposed to serve can just go pound sand for all they care.
  They have no compassion.  No heart.

Just greed.

From today's Crooks and Liars posting "Quote of the Day: Debbie Stabenow on the 'public option'":

STABENOW: Well, my first choice and very strong choice is a public option. And I have to say, Wolf, that what my friends are saying, Senator Gregg and Senator Alexander really are scare tactics that have been put forward by folks that don't want to change the system because they make a lot of money off the current system right now.

The reality for families today is if there's an insurance company bureaucrat between you and your doctor telling your doctor what they're allowed to do because of what they'll pay for, telling you what they'll pay for, putting you through all kinds of bureaucracy to try to figure out if you can get care, assuming you're not dropped if you get sick or can't get insurance if you have a pre-existing condition. So what we're talking about is putting somebody on your side, being able to make sure that the insurance company, the for profit insurance company won't provide you with a low cost insurance policy for your family that you have another choice.





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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Photo of the Day


This is a familiar scene all over the Lake Chapala region. Here, just blocks from our house, a family has set up this tub and have started cooking pork to be sold as "carnitas" later in the day. This photograph was taken this morning as we walked to the town square for breakfast.

Don't ask. It's pork -- cerdo -- and carnitas are one of life's little gastronomical pleasures.

With Malice Toward None

I'm not sure how old I was when my father took the family for a drive into the outskirts of the small community where we lived and I saw for the first time what only can be adequately described as tar-paper shacks. As poor as we were, it was hard to fathom that other families lived in such structures. Our Michigan winters must have been particular difficult for them to endure. It seemed to me, at the time, that we must have been lucky to live in the "real" house that we had in our neighbor in the shadow of the Blue Water Bridge.

When I was old enough to help my brother with the "family" paper route, I discovered more folks that definitely were less fortunate than ours. Many of the houses on that paper route were just not as nice as ours and some of the families that were our customers were much poorer. I discovered that women didn't have to be married to have children and that one particular family could only survive with the assistance the rest of the public gave them through "welfare". Welfare wasn't a dirty word in our family as we had cousins whose father abandoned them and they couldn't make ends meet on the monies our aunt could earn.

I discovered that old folks didn't have to be married to live together as man and wife. When I questioned my parents about that couple I learned a lesson about Social Security pensions and widow benefits. Whatever moral outrage that may have been learned by me was replaced with a pragmatic understanding of love and economic reality. That couple loved each other dearly but could not risk poverty in their old age to have the "benefits" of marriage.

A few years back, a book/essay was published that touted that everything or rather every life lesson the author had needed to learn was taught in kindergarten. I agreed with most of what was written but could respectfully argue that his education would have been further enhanced by having been a paper carrier. I learned a lot by having customers move away in the middle of the night and fail to pay their newspaper bill. Having that drunk come to his door screaming at me to shove the newspaper up my ass was another interesting lesson for a young teenager. I learned about kindness. Mrs. Young taught me about desperate loneliness. Delivering papers year-round through blizzards, rain or shine taught me about hard work. I learned about real people -- working with the public was important for me. I learned about life.

My education was a bit lacking then as I had yet to learn about rich people. My education about those folks happened only after high school and college. In fact, I'm still learning about the folks that have lived such sheltered lives that they are completely unaware of how their words and actions can be so offensive on so many levels to those of us that have struggled in life. Some folks, like the millionaire members of the United States Senate, have no clue about the hardships of the folks living paycheck to paycheck or about those that have fallen over the edge. They just don't "get it" and may probably never understand that obtaining health care and food should be considerd a human right. It is mind boggling that the words of Christ about charity and love are completely lost on some of those people.

I'm not writing this to brag or suggest that somehow what I've learned has made me superior in any way. In fact, I'm humbled that I have had the blessings and the life experiences that have placed me here and now. I realize now that my family was probably only one of life's disasters away from losing all that we had or would ever hope to have. The industrial accident that nearly killed my father could have been the event that would have prevented my sister, brothers, and me from having the lives we have now.

I've been blessed in this life. I am thankful.

Today, a young women was at our gate. She rang our bell and waited. She had only one thing to say to me and there was only one possible response.

Here in Ajijic like in many corners of the world there are people that are hungry. We always have a few visitors come to our weekly market to beg for money. Lately, there seems to be more. Around the corner, near our grocery store there sits a man with no legs. He shakes a plastic container and blesses you when you are able to help him and his family. A few yards away from the man without legs there often sits an older native Mexican women with her own cup seeking monies. She always has a beautiful smile for us and similar blessings when we have the change and ability to assist her. On occasion, a blind man with a sign reminding us that we can "see" this wonderful day in paradise stands with his cane and container and gratefully accepts whatever help he receives.

So, today, when I am told that someone is hungry and needs something to eat, I don't judge. I don't ask the Congressional Budget Office to work up the future costs and implications. I don't look to see if she is wearing designer clothers or bling. I don't ask the Lord what is the right thing to do. I act. I open my heart and my wallet as my parents and Sunday School teachers taught me. I give.

There really is no need for any of us to ask WWJD. Do you really need to ask yourself what would your brother or sister do for you?

What will you do?





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Friday, July 10, 2009

United Breaks Guitars -- Update

Hmmmm.



United Breaks Guitars - A statement from Dave Carroll



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Photos of the Day





Most mornings the butcher shop on the northeast corner of Ajijic's main plaza has a line-up of patrons as it opens for business. These customers are looking for handouts. Yep, free food. And, why not? A dog's gotta eat, eh? The kind folks at the Fuente Carniceria distribute fresh bones to the many plaza and town dogs that visit.

Everyone I know seems to mention from time to time how mellow the dogs in Ajijic are when compared with their experiences with canines in the U.S. or Canada. Our "town" dogs and "plaza" dogs are generally friendly, non-threatening, and seem to have a live and let live attitude toward animals of the 2-legged persusasion. It is rare to see anyone shy away from a dog sitting in the middle of a sidewalk or lying in a doorway. The only agressive or hyper dogs I see are tourists brought to Ajijic by visiting Mexicans, Americans, or Canadians.

There was a time in my life when I was more wary of walking by an unfamiliar dog. Once as a young paper carrier I completly ignored a German Shepard as he walked by with his master and he suddenly turned and without provocation bit my leg. The bite didn't break the skin, thankfully. Due to the fact that about one week prior to this incident I recieved a tetanus booster shot for a separate canine calamity, my mom and I determined that it wasn't nessesary to spend anymore time in a hospital emergency room. But, that's another story.......

We love our dogs here in Paradise. Now, as for cats....... in the two years of living here, I may have seen three or four, at the most, scurry about at night. The dogs can roam free here, but the cats seem smart enough to stay off the streets.

In the photographs are two patrons of the carniceria. One puppy left without a bone and the other is waiting just a little too far within the door. No one seemed to mind.
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Your Moment of Zen



Wednesday, July 8, 2009

United Airlines Broke His Guitar

When we went to Europe, way back when, we traveled with the then allowed 2 carry-on pieces of luggage.  We were both afraid of theft and the extremely inconvenient loss of clothing and other possessions.  The guy in the story below trusted United Airlines with hie beloved Taylor guitar.  Its worth the time.



United Breaks Guitars



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Racism Rears Its Ugly Head at the Valley Swim Club

The folks in Huntingdon, PA should be ashamed of the behavior of the Valley Swim Club.

Absolutely shameful. Suburban Guerrilla has some details here.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/video.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Cost of Living

Unfortunately, the morning began with Billy waking with a migraine. So, first order of business was to call our maid and cancel her work for the day (4 hours). Being who we are, we put her pay (35 pesos per hour -- about $2.60 US) in an envelope. After getting presentable I ventured off to our maid's mother's workplace to drop off today's pay. She wasn't there.

So, I went off to have breakfast at our favorite cafe where they serve "gringo" breakfasts and lunches. I had David's Muffin for the very first time in the two years that we have lived in Ajijic. Forget McDonald's Egg McMuffin -- this was a masterpiece of fresh scrabbled eggs, bacon, and cheese on a homemade biscuit. On the side of the plate was about 1 1/2 cups of fresh fruit (strawberry, papaya, apple, banana). Cost? 37 pesos or about $2.75 US. Try buying that great breakfast in Michigan for that price.

Next, a haircut. 40 pesos or about $3.00 US.

And, as I left the barbershop I met our maid and her mother. Task accomplished.

Then, off to visit our friend Polo -- Dr. Polo Ibarra. We talked. And talked. We are friends so for the hour or so that we visited we each received "brief therapy" from one another. Cost? Zero pesos/zero dollars.

Priceless.

My final jaunt was to the grocery store. There, I purchased some comfort foods for Billy and a few other things to tide us over for a day since once back home my agoraphobia would kick in and I'd be stuck in the house until Billy drags me out in the morning. There at El Torito's many grocery items are imported from the United States. The prices of those goods are ridiculous. For example, a can of Campbell's French Onion soup imported from Texas costs a tad over 40 pesos or about $3.00 US. A can of Sopa de Cebolla (French Onion) produced by the Campbell Soup Company, Mexico costs only 16 pesos or about $1.16 US. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out which can to buy. Yep, pay an arm and a leg for familiar foods or learn some Spanish and buy Mexican products and fresh foods and save money.

Living in Paradise -- Priceless.



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Oh. My. God.

NSFW

MENEO - PAPI (2009) from Entter on Vimeo.

That a Boy, David Shuster

As I was watching MSNBC' Ed Show some asshole politician was all no no no no about the American people's desire for a public option health insurance plan.  No way.  No how.  I thought to myself that the mainstream media ought to ask these greasy politicians how much money has the insurance industry and big pharma given to them.  Full Disclosure damn it!!  Let the elected representatives of the people explain why the people cannot have what they need and why they take money from the very folks that want to phuck us and take every last penny they can get from us directly and through our taxes.  Phreaking government handouts......

Well, thank you very much, David Shuster of MSNBC.  Watch.



How Can We Believe You're Not Influenced By All The Money You Get From Insurance Companies?

Hat Tip to AMERICAblog.



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Monday, July 6, 2009

I Will Let You Down

I will make you hurt.



Johnny Cash - Hurt



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Mental Health Parity: A Wild Ride



I've blogged in the past about the insurance industry that pushes state legislators to refuse to support a mandate for mental health parity in every insurance policy. When I was a full time teacher the expenses for counseling services and psychiatric care were trea
ted at par with all other health issues. Treating my injured neck would cost me a 10% co-pay for office calls and practically nothing for hospital costs. Receiving counseling and brief therapy visits with an actual psychiatrist were also 10% co-pays. Now that I am retired I have a new insurance policy that covered my 5 consultations with my neurosurgeon at 10% and, all of the disc removal, donor bone insertion, and fastening of 6 screws in the titanium support plate to fix my neck hospital costs were nothing. And, when I was still in Michigan retired and miserable after my father's and brother's deaths mental health services required a 50% co-pay. Psychiatrists are freaking expensive. I felt like the tax-payers were telling me that now that I'm out to pasture, so to speak, they'll still pay a fair share to fix me from toe to neck, but my brain can rot. Paying for treatment for my bipolar disorder meant sacrificing something in our meager budget.

I don't know if Michigan ever passed the mental health parity bill after we bailed from that misery. I do know that it is heartening to see a bell weather state pass legislation to mandate mental health parity. Of course, the insurance industry is going apeshit because the people's representatives in Massachusetts have given fair treatment to the folks that live with mental illnesses. (H/t to Crooks and Liars)

My brain chemistry is fucked up. Don't I deserve help to live with it? I'll pay my fair share of the costs, if I can, but it is horribly unfair to ask me to pay more to treat my brain's chemical imbalance than for my wonky thyroid which, by the way, can interfere with the balance of chemicals in the brain causing all sorts of shit like depression, rapid heart beat, screwed up libido, and other major problems.

Revelation.

As evidenced by this recent spurt of blog activity I must be on the up side of depression and riding a hypomanic incline. God, I love the coaster but the fucking drops are a bitch sometimes. The trigger that sent me into this last wild ride down may have been the health issue that alerted us to Jadzia's quick decline. I didn't want to deal with it. I couldn't take her to the vet. Billy had to at the end.

Another revelation.

Reading the Crooks and Liars posting about the Massachusetts mental health parity law thrust the issue of mental illness at me. Post traumatic stress was mentioned and suddenly I realized that for as many days as my depression cycle I did not think about the root causes of my very own version of PTSD. I depressed it.

Crap. Another trigger is just around the bend in the tracks.

You know, I loved Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and made my wife go on it with me several times during our visit to Disney World in Florida. However, this wild bipolar coaster ride is not much fun. I'll go around only once, thank you very much.





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Meghan McCain: GOP Leader



We need more Republicans like Meghan McCain and Colin Powell.  Both have challenged their political party on human rights and racism.

Thanks to both courageous leaders.



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Don't Look, Ethel!!



I just don't get it.  What is there about running naked through some gathering of willing and unwilling spectators?  I am old enough (54 TODAY!) to remember when the streaking phenomena was at its zenith and I never understood the, err, attraction.  While surfing some of my regular NSFW sites I came across a British tabloid article about the "cheekiest streakers ever".

And, for the old farts among us, a blast from the past:



Ray Stevens The Streak



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An Open Letter

I received an email from my wonderful older brother with an attached email that failed to reach me the conventional way. It was a note from a member of a Michigan group of retired school personnel. I thought that I should share its contents here.


Greetings from Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico:

As you have already determined, the Comcast.com email account that I had used was canceled. I moved from Port Huron to Mexico over 2 years ago. At the present time, my companion and I are attempting to live on my Michigan teachers' pension with some amount of dignity and comfort. We discovered that we could not afford to live in Michigan with the pension monies I earned in service to my community and the State of Michigan. Even after 2 years, that fact troubles me greatly.

Your email suggested that your current work with Medicare Advantage Health is very important. I agree. However, rather than working on Medicare improvement, wouldn't securing a public option health insurance plan for everyone be of greater importance in the long run?

My companion has no insurance and as long as I am living in Mexico neither do I. Fortunately, most of the life saving medications that I need are sold over-the-counter at mere fractions of their costs in the United States. By the time that I would meet the huge deductibles and scrape together money for the co-pays and doctor office calls (more deductibles and co-pays) needed for medication prescription renewals I would have paid many times the costs I experience here. The American health care system is broken. What are you doing to change it?

We could not afford housing, transportation, food, and medical care in Michigan. Here we can. Here we can live without the constant worry of surviving on my "great reward for service". Here, we live surrounded by breathtaking beauty and some of the most kind and gracious people on the North American continent.

As for renewing my membership in the MARSP, I cannot afford to support your causes. I am grateful that in my youth I was able to become a life member in the MEA-R. I trust you folks will work together to improve the lives and future retirements of Michigan's education employees.

Sincerely,
J. Lee Harris

PS You have my permission to share my letter. If anyone is interested in a better life after retirement, they may want to consider moving to the Lake Chapala region. We have a rather large community of American, Canadian, and European retirees. Come for the Mariachi bands and tequila --- stay for the good life in Paradise.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Another Quiz

Okay. I'm just having some fun today. Do I really have to grow up? (I'll be 54 tomorrow)

The questions for this quiz were quite appropriate and it nailed me. What American accent do I have? The Inland North (with a wee bit of southern Ontario!)

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

The Northeast

The Midland

Philadelphia

The South

North Central

The West

Boston

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz


Try the quiz here. I'm gonna find myself a bottle of pop......
.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

What Religion is a Fit for Your Beliefs?

Many thanks to Jim Ketchum, writer for the Port Huron Times Herald, for a thought provoking article about personal beliefs.  Mr. Ketchum wrote about a survey found at BeliefNet.com which matches your answers to their brief survey to views of various faiths and gives you a score.

I wasn't surprised that my thinking/beliefs align with Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (100%).  The second listing for me was Liberal Quakers (93%) --- that's interesting......

Check it out here.




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Friday, July 3, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears

Oh my!

While sitting on a bench in the main plaza or town square, I was treated to a viewing of numerous exotic animals as a small parade of trucks with cages and cars with blaring speakers drove by announcing the último dias (last days) of the circus.  Today's parade reminded me of the days gone by when allegedly the circus would come to small town America with a grand parade before the setup and opening of the circus.  I've only seen that in the movies and 60's TV shows.  Did it really happen back when?  Were the circus movies total fiction?  Hmmm, who cares?

It happens here.  In fact, as the last days of the circus arrive, I will probably see a truck or two come by our front door with some of the same animals seen in today's event.  Imagine the thrill for the kids in my neighborhood.  These kids may never see a world class zoo like the ones in Detroit, Toronto, or Washington, D.C., yet right here in rural Mexico the zoo animals come to you courtesy of the circus.  Yep, the trucks will come by, as they did last year, and remind all of us that for a few pesos the entire family may enjoy good old fashioned "family" entertainment.  And, as a further bonus, as the very last day approaches, the good folks at the circus will discount their tickets to half the usual price.  How great is that!?

Yep.  Life in Paradise certainly has its perks.  Life here is good.  The rainy season is here.  The mountains have turned to my beloved emerald green.  This is the best time of year to visit this part of Mexico.  So, where is everybody?  Just missing out.........






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Still Here

Yep. Still here.

I've been fighting depression for the last month and hope to soon come up and join the human race..... Sometimes, it seems, you just have to endure the dips that bipolar disorder brings to you. My recent trigger? We had a long month of watching our oldest cat begin to fail. She passed away on Sunday. Jadzia Dax was 17 years old.

I've not been outraged enough by anything lately to comment. The President continues to disappoint me with his lack of leadership on civil rights issues that concern me most. Oh well, just another politician......

On an upper note, we celebrated our 20th anniversary on Sunday, June 28. ...and the asshole politicians, pretend Christians, and Christianists (our Taliban in Mormon and Baptist clothing) compare our relationship to vile things.......as they "defend" marriage. Let's not let Sanford, McCain, Gingrich, Guilianni, Ensign, Vitter, or Foley lecture anyone about the sanctity of marriage --- hypocrites.

Yes. The economy sucks. But let's remember those that have little or nothing. Help the hungry!







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Your Moment of Zen