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Monday, September 21, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Shameful


Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) is a jerk.

Un-American

Racist? He's all bent out of shape about illegal immigrants....

Un-Patriotic?

Yes. And, freaking RUDE.

Outrageous. Republican House of Representative Member Joe Wilson (R-SC) is a jerk. Yelling "Liar" after President Obama disputed the Republican lies that illegal aliens will benefit from Health Care Reform legislation now before the Congress demonstrates the lack of class that the far-right wingnuts have been showing all through the month of August. This politician owes the public and President Obama an apology.
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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Photo of the Day


Another Tuesday.

We usually leave the house on Tuesdays and Fridays before our maid comes to the house. Eating breakfast at David's Cafe, chatting with friends on the gringo bench on the plaza, and visiting with Doctor Polo are the activities we have to kill time while Mariana cleans up after us. Today, is a special day. We are celebrating one more "Day After Labor Day" that neither of us are in a public school classroom. Its good to be retired in paradise.

The photograph above was taken this morning as we walked through the center of the Plaza. The "head" is unknown to me. I don't remember noticing it before now and I really can't say from which local tribe it belongs. There is a lot of "history" in this area to learn.
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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

More Good News


I am constantly amazed with the numerous studies about health and fitness that appear in the news. I find that the BBC usually breaks some important and some rather strange scientific discoveries that may have some importance in my life and the lives of my friends and family. As a matter of shear coincidense, Memo and I have been teasing our friend and physician about the size (and color) of his thighs. Polo recently broke his ankle and has been wearing a variety of shorts which have revealed a lack of a tan and the thickness of his thighs. We kid him about having gringo thighs. I don't think that I'll be teasing him about the size of his thighs in the future.

The BBC has an article entitled -- Large thighs 'may protect heart' -- on its website today. The article describes a study that found:

Men and women with thighs over 60cm (23.6in) in circumference have a lower risk of heart disease and early death, a study of 3,000 people suggests.

The relationship remains even when body fat, smoking and blood cholesterol are taken into account, a Danish team says.

Those with narrow thighs may not have enough muscle mass to deal with insulin properly, raising the risk of diabetes and, in turn, heart disease, they say.

Experts cautioned that the research needed corroborating.

That may be good news for Polo and me. I have always had a set of husky thighs. Even now, as I am at my lowest weight in many years, my thighs just may be within the range of thickness as described in the medical studies. All I need to do now is find our tape measure to confirm it.

Of course, having thick thighs is not enough to prevent heart disease or other health problems. I will continue with a sensible diet, exercise, and the medications needed to control my high blood pressure and thyroid disease.

The same article had some other good news, as well.

Previous studies have suggested that a waist circumference of over 35in (88.9cm) for a woman and 40in (101.6cm) for a man indicated a high risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
Woo hoo! I am 6 feet tall and my waist size is currently about 36 inches. Hmmm. Living in paradise may help me live a longer happier life.
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Jim Greer: Fear Monger or Racist or Both?


Jim Greer is the Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. His response to the recently announced address that President Obama will be making to school children next week is incredibly asinine. The President of the United States, following in the footsteps of several former Presidents, will address school children via the internet and CSPAN about the importance of staying in school and working hard in their studies. Lesson plans have been created to supplement President Obama's classroom address.

Unfortunately, it seems to be okay for Republican leaders to lie about the President of the United States and rile those unbalanced and irrational folks that just can't accept the fact that the American people elected a black man. As we have witnessed the vile "protests" against President Obama and the current fake AstroTurf protests against health care reform, it is ever more evident that much of the hullabaloo is rooted in racism. Many elected Republican leaders have used fear and anxiety to further their personal agendas and grasps for more power. Disgusting.

Here is what Florida Republican Jim Greer had to say:
As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology," said Jim Greer, party chairman, in a news release.

"The idea that schoolchildren across our nation will be forced to watch the president justify his plans for government-run health care, banks, and automobile companies, increasing taxes on those who create jobs, and racking up more debt than any other president, is not only infuriating, but goes against beliefs of the majority of Americans, while bypassing American parents through an invasive abuse of power," he added.

Now, tell me. Is Jim Greer an opportunist? Is Jim Greer batshit crazy? Is Jim Greer a racist?

Or, all three?
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The Right to Be Ignorant


Joe over at Joe.My.God. has a post about a lawsuit in Quebec, Canada brought by conservative Christianist parents that want no part of the Provence of Quebec's mandatory curriculum which teaches about all the major religions in Quebec, including Native Canadian spirituality. Joe references an article from the National Post. The Christianist parents did not want their children to learn about any other religion than their own.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Jean-Guy Dubois dismissed a bid by parents in Drummondville, Que., who said the course on ethics and religious culture introduced across the province last year was undermining their efforts to instill Christian faith in their children.

"In light of all the evidence presented, the court does not see how the ... course limits the plaintiff's freedom of conscience and of religion for the children when it provides an overall presentation of various religions without obliging the children to adhere to them," Judge Dubois wrote.

The National Post article further states:

In his ruling, Judge Dubois cited a Catholic theologian who testified that religious instruction is primarily the responsibility of parents, not schools. He added that there is a commitment on the part of the Catholic church to understand other religions.

The Quebec government, which intervened in the case in support of the Des Chênes school board, argued that the course was objective and in no way limited parents' ability to pass their religious beliefs on to their children. Teaching children about other religions is a way to promote "equality, respect and tolerance in the Quebec school system," it said.

I wholeheartedly agree with the position of the Court. I also find the views of Sébastien Lebel-Grenier, a law professor at Université de Sherbrooke, to be quit enlightened:

"What parents were demanding was the right to ignorance, the right to protect their children from being exposed to the existence of other religions," he said. "This right to ignorance is certainly not protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Freedom of religion does not protect the right not to know what is going on in our universe."

He said the course is aimed not at instilling religious values but at trying "to explain to these children the diversity in which we now live in Quebec."

Back in the United States, we find a similar desire on the part of Christianists to shelter their children from reality-based instruction. Home schooling, private Christianist schools, and even some public schools that have been turned into charter schools with overt and covert Christianist bents all intend to foster ignorance. The latest evidence of such ignorance is the racism fueled controversy about President Obama's planned message to America's school children about the importance of a good education and the hard work needed to succeed in life. Disrespect for the President of the United States is certainly the lesson that the Christianists are conveying to their children. How very sad for our country. So much for respect and tolerance -- and patriotism.

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Your Moment of Zen

In Your Face Fridays


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Thursday, September 3, 2009

This One Made Me Smile

Auto-Tune the News......


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Too Generous = You Are Not Worthy

Andy Dillon (D-17), Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, believes that the State of Michigan is too generous in the granting of health care benefits to Michigan's current public service employees and retired public service employees. He feels that the Blue Cross Blue Shield benefits that I receive as a retired public servant are too good for me and that I should be paying more out of my meager pension for my health care policy's costs. He wishes to align both the coverage for illnesses, accidents, and wellness and all out-of-pocket expenses with those of public service employees in other states and with what the private sector in Michigan provides for its employees.

Essentially, Speaker Dillon is saying to me -- for the good of the State of Michigan, give up on what you have been promised, give up on what you have earned as a reward for your service to the children and families of Michigan, and give up on any idea of your value past and present -- you are not worthy of the health care you are now receiving. The State of Michigan needs to renege on their promises to you and countless others to save a few bucks.

If only Michigan had managed it finances better in the past they would not be in this ridiculous position of having to go to its retirees for a bailout. As far as I am concerned, the money problems in Michigan began years ago when a conservative Republican governor and a Republican controlled legislature decided to kill public education and any publicly funded State governmental services that Michigan offered. They put in place disastrous programs of outsourcing jobs to private FOR PROFIT companies. They, more importantly, starved the State's budget by implementing a succession of cuts in Michigan's income tax. Michigan's Republicans gave jobs and profits to their friends in the private sector. It was obvious after the first few years of that governor's administration that he didn't have any friends in the road building business as Michigan's highways and byways deteriorated.

The economy of Michigan lost the natural and necessary economic stimulus of "government employment". Public sector jobs went to the non-union low wage for-profit companies. Michigan workers saw their wages stagnate while celebrating the disaster of income tax decreases. A vicious economy busting cycle began while those same Republicans voted themselves generous government wages and benefits. The Governor and the Legislature received outlandish compensation for their part-time work and took out of this world retirement packages. Go to Lansing to "serve the public" for a few short years and retire with a huge pension and health care for life. Yep. True public servants.

On the other hand, teachers and other public school employees were told year after year that if you accept low wages and benefits now, you will be rewarded when you retire. The concept of deferred compensation was pounded home with every new employment contract that was negotiated in good faith. I know. I was at the bargaining table. I sold the same "lie" to my friends and colleagues.

Now, Andy Dillon wishes to once and for all break the good faith bargain that was made with me in 1977 and every year after that until now. Yes, thank you for your public service, Mr. Harris, now give up your hard earned pension. The State of Michigan fucked up and now we want you to pay for our mistakes.

Well, Andy -- get stuffed.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dear Dick and Liz Cheney: STFU



H/T to AMERICAblog
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This Is GREAT!

H/T to AMERICAblog Gay


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Photo of the Day


After giving our Izzy a dose of her allergy/cold medicine we went around the block and had breakfast at Laura's Kitchen. She serves a variety of Mexican and American foods. I had eggs a la Mexicana and Memo opted for an early lunch of Chipolte Meatballs with pasta. The meals were delicious.

We then went to the Tiangius, the weekly market where variety abounds. Our first stop, well actually we were waylaid, was at the booth of Rabbi Posner. He drew me over to his table with a taste of some homemade peanut butter. We meet him often at Ajijic's Plaza Central and at various restaurants around the village where he often hawks his book, Food for Thought, Character, and Soul - Recipes and Blessings Included, and promotes the restaurant that he and a dear friend own and manage in the nearby town of Chapala. The peanut butter tasted superb. Of course, the recipe includes chili powder. I bought a jar. I couldn't resist the honey, cinnamon, and spicy flavors.

Then, on to a booth selling bootleg DVD's where Memo treated himself to a recent blockbuster release and something or other about Wonder Woman. Our next stop was at the Anita's Animals booth. We visited with the new kittens, found a pair of Wranglers that should fit Memo, selected 4 used paperbacks, and purchased a loaf of banana nut bread and a loaf of gingerbread. The booth sells used books, second-hand clothing, CD's, and freshly baked breads. We visited with our friends at the booth, left an additional donation for the brothers and sisters of our pride, and moved on to our last stop.

We didn't buy anything at Jose's jewelry booth. We gossiped. As we were discussing the woes of a gringo loco, a friend of Jose's offered us some delightful fruit filled empanadas for 5 pesos each. Twenty pesos later and after visiting with some more friends that were shopping we headed home.

The day is only half over, but I think I need a nap.

The photograph above was taken today in the front of our house. A lady that lives nearby has been using our front walk, fence, and gate to display her ropita since before we moved into this house. She sells mostly children's clothing every Wednesday. We are so close to the tiangius that she does a pretty good business with the foot traffic from the village and from those that park on our street.

Such is life in our corner of paradise.
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Izzy


When she saw Memo coming toward her with a towel, she cried. It was the very definition of a plaintive cry. A mournful and heart-wrenching yowl that told us she understood that in moments we would be jamming a syringe of medicine into her mouth. Like a sick child, she really doesn't understand the love we have for her and how much it pains us every time we have to administer a dose of her "cold medicine". What a sad way to begin a day.

Unfortunately, Izzy doesn't have a cold. She is our little "Snuffles", Isabela Mable Irma II, born a little more than a year ago. She has a "broken" meow as even in her kitten days she was unable to muster a proper cat's meow. Our QE II was born with chronic allergies. She has been to see Doctor Jesus more times than we all care to remember. The doctor has in the past given her the equivalent of a kitty steroid shot when she has suffered from respiratory infections brought on by allergies.

Six weeks ago, Izzy injured her paw. Doctor Jesus couldn't even give her a proper examination without giving her a little happy juice. I just couldn't deal with her howls of fright and we had to leave her in the doctor's caring hands until she got sleepy and he was able to treat her. Doctor Jesus was even gracious enough to transport her back home when he was done. A house call of sorts, but considering we live only two doors down from his office, it was an easy thing for him to do. He is a wonderful veterinarian.

"I love that cat!" is a phrase I often blurt out when I am feeling happy with any one of our eight-is-enough pride. With Izzy, it is heartfelt. Oh, good. She's eating. All is well.
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The Future Is In Our Hands

While surfing through my YouTube account with subscriptions, recommended videos, and featured videos this one popped out at me. Yes, it's in Spanish but even without some knowledge of the language the concept that "it is time" to do something comes across clearly. It is time to do something about poverty. The three principles endorsed by this particular advertisement campaign are that through education, improvements in the national infrastructure, and creating jobs poverty may be eradicated. The future is En Nuestras Manos.




En Nuestras Manos, ¡Llegó la hora! versión 2



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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wash Wash Wash


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Photo of the Day


Tuesday. After hitting the ATM for some pesos this morning we just happened to meet our landlord as he walked by the house. Once the rent was paid, we went to the central plaza and had breakfast at the nearby David's Cafe. We both had the David's Muffin which I have already mentioned as being a taste of heaven. The freshly made biscuit with cheese, egg, and your choice of meat (ham, bacon, sausage, or chorizo) is accompanied with a healthy portion of fresh fruit. What a wonderful breakfast.

The photograph above was taken from my seat on the balcony-like porch. As you can see, seating is outdoors in a covered courtyard. Additional outside seating is available in the garden in the back of the restaurant. We enjoy breakfast at David's Cafe at least once a week.
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One of Our Best Kept Secrets

What? I shouldn't tell you?

Too late. The cat is out of the bag. Susie Madrak ( from Suburban Guerrilla) has a post at Crooks and Liars that reveals one of the best kept secrets about moving to Mexico. I don't believe I have ever written about it in this blog. Yes, I have commented on the low prices for medicine and that most medicines are available over-the-counter. I get my bupropion (Wellbutrin generic), valproate, blood pressure meds, and thyroid meds for a fraction of the price I would pay in the U.S. -- even with my great retired teacher Blue Cross plan. What I haven't mentioned is that I have the opportunity, as a documented alien, to buy into the Mexican health plan. The price is based upon the decade you were born and will cover everything you need after 2 years. The first two years of the plan does not cover pre-existing conditions. It is a great plan that many in our expat community enjoy.

Take a look at Susie's article. Money quote:

MEXICO CITY — It sounds almost too good to be true: a health care plan with no limits, no deductibles, free medicines, tests, X-rays, eyeglasses, even dental work — all for a flat fee of $250 or less a year.

To get it, you just have to move to Mexico.

As the United States debates an overhaul of its health care system, thousands of American retirees in Mexico have quietly found a solution of their own, signing up for the health care plan run by the Mexican Social Security Institute.

The system has flaws, the facilities aren't cutting-edge, and the deal may not last long because the Mexican government said in a recent report that it is "notorious" for losing money. But for now, retirees say they're getting a bargain.

Shhhh. Don't tell the rich folks or Republicans. They'll want to fuck it up for us like they're trying to do with health care reform back home.

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