Monthly Archives: January 2007

Hooray For Florida Governor Crist

The Raw Story has linked to a Sun Sentinel story reporting that Florida’s newly elected republican Governor, Charlie Crist, will be recommending the legislature ashcan the touch screen voting machines used in some Florida Counties and replace them with optical scanners that will count paper ballot.

That should make it a bit more difficult for the crooks to steal elections.

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Filed under Blogroll, Iconoflatulence, Politics, Touch screen voting machines

Dealing With Mexican Immigration Authorities – Vol. III

It is time that I renew my FM 3 visa for another year, so I have again had occassion to visit the immigration office here in Xalapa.  An FM 3 visa, as you may remember,  permits me to reside in Mexico  for one year periods and is renewable for four additional years.  So last Friday it was off the immigration office, a ten minute walk from the apartment.
I arrived at the immigration office at about 9:30, and signed in with the security guard who remembers me from my first visit and always greets me warmly.   In the office I found one fellow seated with the one staffperson present and a woman waiting.  Soon six more folks arrived and another staffperson arrived to attend to the crowd.

At any rate within 15 minutes I was seated at the desk with the same very kind woman who had processed my change of address request.  She looked over the paperwork I had submitted, filled out a form, presented me with a copy of the form, and told me return in a week to pick up my renewed visa.

In and out in less than a half hour.

By the way.  Anyone who can demonstrate that they have lived in Mexico legally for a period of five years can apply for citiizenship.  As I understand, there is no test, simply file the application, pay the fee, and attend the annual ceremony in Mexico City where the president confers citizenship.

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Filed under Immigration, Travel

“DIEBOLD VOTING MACHINE KEY COPIED FROM PHOTO AT COMPANY’S OWN ONLINE STORE!”

I find it truly amazing that Diebold, one of the leading producers of touch screen voting machines, has such lax security standards.

The Brad Blog, which has broken a number of stories of Dielbold’s deficiencies over the last few years, has the story.

I think everyone should vote on a paper ballot. The system I have used for years is a paper ballot upon which one fills in a little circle with a pencil and which is read by an optical scanning machine. It is simple and reliable. Please write your congressperson to demand legislation that requires paper ballots for all elections. A paper ballot would at least require crooks to steal elections in the old fashion manner.

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The Best SOTU Response I’ve Come Across

Certainly more to the point than anything the talking hairdos have had to say.

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Filed under Iconoflatulence, Politics

Cafe – Plant to Pot

Some time back Dan left the following comment to my Teoceolo post:

” How about some photos of those coffee plants? It would be interesting to follow a bean from plant to pot.”

OK. Though I’m a bit tardy, here you go Dan.

To the right you can see the coffee berries on a coffee bush in Xixo. The coffee beans with which you are familiar are the pit of the berry.

I asked a Cuban friend how she processes the coffee beans from the plants that grow in her yard. She told me that they pick the berries, spread them on the roof for drying, remove the husks, and toast the beans in a pan on the stove.

To the left you may see the berries, beans, and the pulp and skin that was removed from one berry. The raw beans, as you can see, are white.

The white beans are roasted in a machine such as you may see below, which is in my friend Federico’s shop in Merida. The darkness of the beans you buy in the market are determined by the duration of their roasting in the machine.

Federico told me that in producing the Espresso and French roasts the beans lose ten percent more of their weight than with the lighter roasts, thus the higher price for the darker roasts.

Around here coffee plants grow wild and are ubiquitous. Here in Xalapa, as well as in Cootapec, Xico and other towns in the area one can detect the aroma of roasting coffee when walking the streets.

Today during the hour I spent in a camera store here in town I was treated to the aroma of roasting coffee and live marimba band music from the fellows on the sidewalk outside.

Life is tough.

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Filed under Coffee, Travel, Xalapa

The Bush Family’s Favorite Terrorists

Remember when Incourious George, in an address to a joint session of Congress shortly after the 9-11 attacks, announced:

“And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”

I understand that Bush was engaging in a bit of overblown, scripted rhetoric, as he is wont to do, intended to cast himself as a man of principle; but today the USA government harbors two men once described by the FBI as the most dangerous terrorists in the Western Hemisphere, Orlando Bosch and Luis Posda Carriles.

Principle, it seems, is trumped by the money and inordinate political influence of the once Cuban oligarchs who still dream of the return to their positions of power and privilege. If Bush really meant what he said, both Bosch and Posada would be residing in the dog kennels which house Islamic prisoners at our national shame, the gulag at Guantanamo Bay.

You may have read recently that Posada has been indicted on seven counts of immigration violations, such as lying to immigration officials and entering the country illegally. None of the charges relate to Posada’s many acts of internatinal terrorism, some committed within the USA.

Posada, as you may recall, illegally entered Florida on a boat from Cancun in 2005 and, though his presence in Florida was publicized, for two months he was permitted by USA authorities to remain at large. Ultimately Posada conducted a press conference which removed the pretense of Bush administration deniability and left federal officials with no option but to arrest him. Perhaps Posada determined that his press conference and resultant arrest were his best protection against the type of suspicous demise met by a number of his fellow CIA sponsored UCLAs (unilaterally controlled Latino assets) who apparently knew too much.

These guys, after all, play rough, as Gilberto Abascal, an FBI source who provided informaton on Posadas illegal entry into the USA, found out this week when he discovered a bomb in his car.

Posada has admitted his role in a number of terrorist bombings in Cuba, one of which killed a youn Italian tourist. Posada and Bosch were both implicated by USA government agencies in the 1976 bombing of a Cubana airliner near Barbados which killed all aboard.

So Posada faces relatively minor charges of immigration violations, while our chest thumping president and his hapless Attorney General do nothing at all to bring justice for those killed in his terrorist attacks.

And Bosch lives freely in Florida after being pardoned in 1990 by George Bush Sr., at the urging of his son Jeb who has had close associations with, and financial support from, a number of expatriate Cuban oligarchs.

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Filed under Blogroll, Bosch, Bush, Cuba, Iconoflatulence, Posada, Terrorism

Where Does Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Have His Brown Shirts Pressed?

This, to me, is truly stunning. That the USA Attorney General expresses a strained Constitional interpretation at odds with Constitutions explicitness makes me wonder if the guy is truly evil or just simply stupid.

“Responding to questions from Sen. Arlen Specter at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Jan. 18, Gonzales argued that the Constitution doesn’t explicitly bestow habeas corpus rights; it merely says when the so-called Great Writ can be suspended.

“’There is no expressed grant of habeas in the Constitution; there’s a prohibition against taking it away,’ Gonzales said.

Gonzales’s remark left Specter, the committee’s ranking Republican, stammering.

“’Wait a minute,’ Specter interjected. ‘The Constitution says you can’t take it away except in case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus unless there’s a rebellion or invasion?’

“Gonzales continued, ‘The Constitution doesn’t say every individual in the United States or citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn’t say that. It simply says the right shall not be suspended’ except in cases of rebellion or invasion.”

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