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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Leon County, Florida
Member since: Tue Feb 12, 2008, 09:18 PM
Number of posts: 16,628

Journal Archives

What Got Lost in the Debate About Birth Control

By Erika Christakis | February 20, 2012
With this hysteria at a fever pitch, it’s easy to forget a few simple truths. Taxpayers spend more than $11 billion each year (in 2001 dollars) on costs associated with unintended pregnancy. It’s a conservative figure that only includes public insurance costs and not the larger financial burden of bringing unwanted children into the world.

An estimated half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended according to an analysis by researchers at the Guttmacher Institute and published in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, and of those unplanned pregnancies, a further half end in abortion. That’s an awful lot of unwanted children and fetuses. By age 45, more than 40% of all American women will have had at least one abortion, a rate almost twice that of Western Europe. A comprehensive study by the World Health Organization confirmed that abortion rates in countries that prohibit or restrict legal abortion are no different than abortion rates in countries with liberal abortion laws; the only reliable way to reduce abortion is through the provision of affordable, accessible contraception. To cap off last week’s debate came the news that there has been a surge in births outside marriage, the fastest growth being among white women in their twenties with some college education. More than half of births to women under 30 now occur outside of marriage. Is this really a time to try to limit contraception? What about the reckoning of the reality of human lives?

People who cry moral indignation about government-mandated contraception coverage appear unwilling to concede that the exercise of their deeply held convictions might infringe on the rights of millions of people who are burdened by unplanned pregnancy or want to reduce abortion or would like to see their tax dollars committed to a different purpose.

Why should an employer’s right to reject birth-control coverage trump a society’s collective imperative to reduce unintended pregnancy? Should employers be allowed to withhold a polio vaccine or cataract surgery or safe working conditions on similar “moral” grounds?

Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2012/02/20/what-got-lost-in-the-debate-about-birth-control/?xid=gonewsedit#ixzz1mvSXxQru

Hassling T-Mobile for fun and frustration

For a long time I've been getting debt collection calls. Problem is, not one is looking for me. My phone is listed as A. E. Ziggy in the phone book and I keep getting calls for people whose first name begins with "A" and the last name of Ziggy. Andrew, Andreas, Anthony, Amanda, Abigail, etc.

Most of the time there is a human on the line that I can tell (1) they have the wrong number and no one by the name of A----- Ziggy lives here and (B) Don't call this number again. Sometimes, it's a robocall but when I call back the number I can reach a human and tell the (1) and (B). It's worked, those companies do not call me again.

T-Mobile? Nope, no humans involved. It's a robocall. If I make any of the choices in the menu, I eventually get to a place where I have to have a T-Mobile phone number or account number to get to a customer service representative. I've never been a T-Mobile customer, so that gets me no where.

I reported them to the Do Not Call list but I kept getting calls. I called the local T-Mobile sales place, tried every T-Mobile number I could find on the web, still get the calls. This has been going on for months.

So I put in a complaint with the state consumer agency and for good measure, the state Attorney General. I got a nice letter from the consumer agency with a copy of a letter from T-Mobile. The T-Mobile letter claimed they had removed my phone number from their accounts and notified their debt collectors to put it on their do not call list. The next day I got a robocall from a T-Mobile debt collector looking for Andrea Ziggy...

I had already written a letter to the consumer agency telling them that while I appreciated that MY number had been removed from T-Mobile's list, that did not solve the problem of other consumers having no way to tell T-Mobile that they have the wrong number and that T-Mobile should not call it again.

Tonight I got a call from a T-Mobile customer service person. She was trying to convince me that T-Mobile had done everything they could to make sure I was not called by their company again. Uh, lady, you JUST called me. According to her, my number has been on their do not call list since December and I should not get any calls from them. So who was it claiming to be calling from T-Mobile LAST WEEK?

I warned her in the first minute of the call that I was antagonistic to any one from T-Mobile. I was polite and did not use any curse words, but was not pleasant. I explained to her everything I wrote above.

At the end of our discussion, she asked what she could do to make me happy. I told her "Nothing. T-Mobile will never be able to make me happy with the company. I've never been a T-Mobile customer, will never be a T-Mobile customer, and will tell everyone I know, in person, in emails and over the internet that they should never be T-Mobile customers."

I did tell her that I might be satisfied if I don't receive a call from T-mobile or anyone representing them for at least two years. Or never.

My husband tells people I don't hold grudges - I nail them to the wall and throw darts at them.

Oh yeah - DO NOT do business with T-Mobile.

OK, maybe her son will redeem her - Bobby Deen on Not My Mamma's Meals

First episode I've watched, he tackled Paula Deen's infamous Krispy Kreme burger. I missed the calorie count on the original but here's his remake of it:

Monster Mushroom Burger


4 large portobello mushrooms caps, wiped cleaned
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 lime, zested and juiced

4 large slices whole-grain peasant bread, each cut in half
1 cup baby arugula
1 large tomato, cut into 8 slices
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips, drained

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

Place the mushrooms in a baking dish or pie plate. Whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper until blended. Brush the mushrooms with the vinegar mixture; let stand for up to 15 minutes.

Place the mushrooms on the grill rack and grill until tender, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Meanwhile, combine the yogurt, rosemary and zest and juice of the lime in a small bowl until blended. Brush the bread slices with the yogurt mixture. Layer half the slices with the mushrooms, arugula, tomatoes, onions and red pepper strips. Top with the remaining bread slices. Serve immediately.

Calories: 202
Fat: 6 grams
Saturated Fat: 0.5 grams
Sodium: 541 milligrams
Carbs: 27 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Sugar: 6 grams
Protein: 12 grams


If he can reformat her recipes like that it might be worth watching his show.

AlienGirl - Former Democratic state House candidate Shelly Leonard dies of cancer

Former Democratic state House candidate Shelly Leonard dies of cancer

By Mike Brassfield, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Wednesday, February 15, 2012

CLEARWATER — When she ran against incumbent state Rep. Ed Hooper in 2010, Shelly Leonard wasn't your typical candidate. She was a 37-year-old single mother and cancer survivor.

The feisty Democrat made her cancer history a part of her stump speech, talking about the need to make health insurance more accessible. More than 16,000 people voted for her in Clearwater-based House District 50. But nearly 24,000 voted to keep her opponent in office, so Leonard went back to her job as a social worker.

Last year, her oral cancer returned. On Saturday, she died due to complications from chemotherapy, just days before her 39th birthday. "She was fighting the cancer valiantly," said her friend and campaign treasurer, Van Farber. "She passed away peacefully, without pain, and surrounded by members of her immediate family."


Celebration of Shelly Leonard's life

What: Dinner, live music and dancing

When: 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25

Where: Fort Harrison Hotel, 210 S Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater

Admission: A $35 check made out to the Neighborhood Coalition to Preserve the MLK Center

Information: (727) 729-6887

More: http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/elections/former-democratic-state-house-candidate-shelly-leonard-dies-of-cancer/1215436

Tallahassee Mayor gets Leon Co. Democratic committee in hot water

Democratic Leader Points to Tallahassee Mayor in Campaign Probe

A local Democratic leader says Tallahassee Mayor John Marks and his campaign chair Sean Pittman were involved in a questionable campaign contribution days before the August, 2010 primary.

Watch video at link for a part of the story: http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Democratic_Leader_Points_to_Tallahassee_Mayor_in_Campaign_Probe_139061609.html?storySection=comments

What I understand of the story: Jon Ausman, Tallahassee' long time Democratic "leader" and DNC member was told to pick up a check for a contribution from Mark Herron, head of Alliance for a Better Government, to the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee just before the election for Tallahassee mayor. Then the LCDEC gets a bill from a local printing company for a flyer for Tallahassee mayor John Marks - the bill totaled exactly $250 less than the contribution check. The flyers stated they were "approved and paid for" by the LCDEC, but the LCDEC never approved them.

It is illegal in Florida for political parties to give contributions to a candidate less than five days before an election. The LCDEC is negotiating with the state Department of Elections to pay a fine of $500.

The problem I have with this situation is that Jon Ausman has been a political operative for decades. He knows how things work and I'm sure he knew that a check for an odd amount, $4675.66, was not an ordinary contribution. I also want to know who in the LCDEC cut the check to actually pay a bill for an expense that had not been approved by the committee. That person seems to be complicit in this mess.

Whining thread - I got good news and bad news about my knees

The good news is that I am discharged from physical therapy.

The bad news is that I am discharged because the PT is not going to help my worn out knees.

The physical therapist says that the motion and strength are good and gave me exercises to try to maintain, but he thinks that the sooner I check into knee replacement, the better. Since I am bone on bone, the damage will just get worse. If I put it off too long, replacement may be much more difficult.

The three questions he asked me is if the knee pain:
Keeps me from doing what I need to do?
Keeps me from doing what I want to do?
And keeps me from sleeping?
The answer to all of those has been YES for well over two years.

So I guess I need to call my orthopedic surgeon and talk to him. I want to see if they will replace both knees at the same time. I only want to go through this once, at least in this decade. But I'm worried about cost - our insurance will only cover 70%. I don't know how much the 30% will be and how I will cover it.

Getting old sucks.

Excuse my whining. I've been in denial and hoped that the therapy would help delay things. That he gave up after only three sessions is NOT a good sign.

A new arrival _GRAPHIC WARNING

Yesterday morning we had a new arrival here:

This was the first picture I managed to take that turned out. When I first saw him, he was still in the birth sack and his mamma had her back leg over the top of his barrel. I had to pull the sack AND mamma's leg off so he could breath.

Even with that set back, he stood and nurse very fast - within an hour! Within two hours he was already cantering around, keeping Mama moving.

Here he is today, dried off and steady on his feet:

The White Lions of the Timbavati

In the greater Kruger National Park area of South Africa, there is no story more legendary than that of the white lions of the Timbavati.

Discovered in the mid-70s these snow white felines are not albino as one might think but simply carry a recessive gene that causes their coats to be white. Amazingly enough, every white lion world wide is ancestrally related to the white lions of the Timbavati.

After mysteriously disappearing for many years they were spotted again in 2006. A great place to see these cats in the wild today is the Motswari Private Game Reserve. They are known as the "Xakubasa Pride", "basa" means "white" in Shangaan. Photographer and field guide Chad Cocking has captured some truly breathtaking images of these rare cats which can be seen below.


Pretty amazing animals and some nice pictures. In the article is a link to a blog with more pictures.

A good birding site - Lakeland, Florida, Circle B Bar Reserve

There is a relatively new place, the Circle B Bar Reserve just south of Lakeland, off US 98 on SR 540.

From the county information about the reserve:
Named after a cattle ranch that once existed on this property, Circle B Bar Reserve was jointly acquired by the Polk County Environmental Lands Program and the District to protect the floodplain of the lake and to restore the Banana Creek marsh system. The property is maintained by Polk County. Much of the property had previously been converted to pasture, but in 2005 and 2006, restoration projects were completed to restore much of the original hydrologic function of the lands. As a result of the marsh system restoration project, Circle B is now home to some of the most impressive bird activity on District property. The tremendous bird population includes a variety of wading birds, waterfowl, ospreys and bald eagles. Alligators inhabit Lake Hancock and may be observed at a distance from shore or from a pier. Oak hammock, freshwater marsh, hardwood swamp and the lakeshore are among the unique characteristics of this property.


We've been a few times while visiting my parents who live in the area and the variety of birds is amazing. Osprey, wood stork, American egret, snowy egret, Great and little blue herons, limpkins, moorhen, purple gallinue, turkey, pelicans, blue wing teal ducks, wild turkeys, black ring neck duck, red shoulder hawks, coots, sora, glossy ibis, anhinga, cormorants - and that is just what we saw last Saturday in less than two hours!

Videos of the reserve:

Who Do You Think You Are? is back!

Fridays 8 PM ET

This friday night:
Award-winning actor and activist Martin Sheen embarks on an epic journey into both sides of his family history. It takes him to Dublin, Ireland and Madrid, Spain, where he discovers that a commitment to social justice runs deep in his roots.

what’s next on who do you think you are?

Marisa Tomei travels to Italy to reveal the truth about her great-grandfather’s murder.

February 10th, 8/7c

Tune in throughout the rest of the season to watch Blair Underwood, Reba McEntire, Rob Lowe, Helen Hunt, Rita Wilson, Edie Falco, Rashida Jones, Jerome Bettis, Jason Sudeikis and Paula Deen.

More: http://www.nbc.com/who-do-you-think-you-are/

Some of the people I don't even recognize their names, but in the past watching people discover their past was interesting even if I didn't like the celebrity.

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