Monthly Archives: February 2007

Health Care Priorities

You may have recently read that Merck pharmaceuticals has suspended its multi-million dollar lobbying campaign to convince states to mandate that all girls be vaccinated to prevent HPV, human papillomavirus virus, at a cost of $350 – $400 for the three shot series. The lobbying campaign has resulted in more than twenty states considering such a mandate and in Texas Governor Rick Perry, who received Merck money, mandating such immunizations through executive action.

HPV is a prevalent sexually transmitted disease, with 6.2 million new cases reported each year, according to the Center for Disease Control. More than thirty strains of HPV infect the genital area. Some strains encourage the growth of pre-cancerous cells that have been identified as leading to cervical cancer, of which 11,150 new case are predicted by the National Cancer Institute to occur in 2007 with 3,670 leading to death.

So we have legislators and governors throughout the country, coincidentally  beneficiaries of Merck largess, seriously advocating that we spend over $1 billion to prevent 3,670 cervical cancer deaths, yet our health care system could not afford $80 to treat this young fellow’s abscessed tooth.  The infection in his tooth, by the way, infected his brain; and, despite more than $250,000. in brain surgery and other medical treatment the young fellow died.

Yep, our profit driven health care system is the best in the world (in addition to being the most expensive in the world) if you have insurance or can afford to pay.

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Filed under Death from Tooth Abscess, Profit Driven Health Care

Veracruz State Government Building

The state government building, which abuts the Parque Juarez, is also quite handsome.

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Filed under Travel, Xalapa

Spring Seems to Have Arrived

And rather abruptly, at that. A week ago Sunday it was so cool and misty that I had to wear a lined jacket over a wool vest and heavy chamois shirt during my late afternoon walk. The next day was sunny and warm, as it has been since, with temperatures in the mid-70s to low 80s.

Blossoming flowers have added color to Parque Juarez, which through the Winter has been green. And the intensely yellow flowers of the jasmine vines that cling to the trunks of the park’s trees, are imparting a delicious aroma detectable throughout the park and even, with the correct breeze, across the street.

I can’t say that Winter weather here was the least bit unpleasant, but the sunny, warm weather, as of late, is very nice.

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Filed under Springtime, Travel, Xalapa

Why Hate Crime Laws Are Necessary

Pamela Colloff, in The Texas Monthly, reports that “On a Saturday night three years ago, a mentally disabled black man from Linden [Texas] was taken to a party filled with white kids half his age. A few hours later, he was dumped by the side of the road, bleeding and unconscious. But of all the crimes that were committed, none was worse than how the small East Texas town responded—and who were considered the victims.”

Due to half-hearted prosecutions and pervasive bigotry the justice system failed, as the perpetrators were convicted of only minor offenses. In the face of the injustice, Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center (one of the world’s true heroes, I think) has filed a “wrongful-injury lawsuit” against the perpetrators.

It is a sad and outrageous story.

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Filed under Bigotry, Hate Crime, Ignorance, Linden Texas

Death Squads Linked to “Dozens” of President Uribe’s Associates

The Boston Globe reports that dozens of associates of Columbian President Uribe have been implicated for their associations with right wing death squads. Some of Uribe’s associates have resigned their government positions and others have been arrested.

The Globe reports that “a computer seized from paramilitary leader ‘Jorge 40’ revealed the names of dozens of politicians who supposedly collaborated with paramilitaries in intimidating voters, seizing land, and kidnapping or killing labor unionists and political rivals. Other revelations followed, including secret documents signed by officials pledging moral support or kickbacks to the illegal militias.”

Columbia, as you will remember, receives more USA military and economic aid than any other nation in the Western Hemisphere. The aid is provided to fight the drug war and a long term insurgency.

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Filed under Columbia, Death Squads, Latin America

Unity 08

If you’re interested in participating in the first online convention for nominating 2008 presidential and vice-presidential candidates, check out the Unity 08 web site.

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Filed under 2008 Presidential Election, Blogroll, Online Nominating Convention, Unity 08

Palacio Municipal

I don’t think I’ve previously posted a photo of the stunningly beautiful Palacio Municipal. City Hall to those in the USA.

I am unable to get far enough away for an unobstructed front shot of the building so you’ll have to settle for this shot of the center portion.

palaciomunicipio1.jpg

If you look closely above the second story windows, just below the upper balconies, you will see the cast faces you can see in the two lower photos.

palaciomunicipio2.jpg

UPDATE:  Thanks to Ivan for the correction.

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Filed under Blogroll, Travel, Xalapa