Monday, June 18, 2007

U.S. Citizen Deported.

This is wrong on so many levels.  I am ashamed of my government.  I am angry.

Pedro Guzman, a 29 year old mentally disabled man was arrested for a trespassing charge and deported to Mexico.  While that story, which is what the government would like you to believe, sounds reasonable, there is a major issue that makes what the L.A. County Sheriff's department and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency did reprehensible.   

Guzman is a U.S. citizen.

The ACLU is assisting Guzman's family in filing a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.  The suit claims that Guzman was a U.S. citizen and was wrongfully deported.  The ACLU has Guzman's birth certificate stating he was born in L.A. County, California.  If you remember your basic government classes in high school, you will recall that any person born in the U.S. has automatic U.S. citizenship. 

Guzman's mother is now searching Tijuana for him.  According to her statements, Guzman does not have the mental capacity to find his way back home, and he may be easy prey to robbers.  The government, however, says it has done nothing wrong.  Yet, Guzman had previously done time for drug charges, so his citizenship and more information about him could have easily been found.  According to the lawsuit, the Sheriff's Department obtained Guzman's signature for voluntary removal from the U.S.  I have to wonder what tactics they used.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed Guzman had been deported and said the agency had done so correctly. "ICE has no reason to believe that it improperly removed Pedro Guzman"

I am sick of injustices like this by our government. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Disabled Parking Abuse

We've been living in an apartment complex for the past month or so.  We were quite fortunate that a ground level apartment with disabled parking (2 spaces for the building) was available when we wanted to move in.  The 2 spaces serve about 14 apartments, mine included.  On many occasions, at least one of my neighbors with no placard or plate would park in one of the disabled spaces.  On several other occasions, another neighbor with an expired (for 5 months) temporary placard, would park in one also.  There are plenty of parking spaces for this building, just the disabled spaces happen to be closest to the breezeway entry.

I have called the police and had them come out for one of the cars (without the expired temporary permit) twice so far.  This person continues to park there.  This morning when I left for work, both disabled spaces were taken by cars without placards or plates.  There were at least 3 open parking spaces no more than 100 feet from the entrance.  I am more than annoyed.  While I don't need the space today (or yesterday), at any moment my body may decide that it doesn't want to function properly.  When that happens, the ability to use the disabled parking space really makes a difference in my ability to take care of things myself. 

I don't understand why these people think that it is okay for them to park in a disabled parking space.  I know for a fact that at least one of the drivers of these cars has seen me use the disabled space.  When I use the disabled space consistently (once Remicade wears off and I can no longer walk long distances), they tend to avoid parking there, but as soon as I begin parking in a regular space, they begin to treat it like their own personal reserved parking space.  Even if they think they have reason to use those spaces, they need to do like everyone else and go get a placard from the DMV.

Where we live the penalties for parking in a disabled space are mild for first time offenders ($50 fine).  Second time offenders get a $200 fine and must perform 40 hours of community service for an organization that serves the disabled.  I only hope that the primary offender will have to pay the larger fine and do community service.  According to our apartment lease, the apartment complex will tow those who park in disabled parking spaces...  Maybe that's what has to happen. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Remicade #5 and a new rheumatologist

Last week I had my 5th Remicade infusion at my new Rheumatologist's office. The new doctor seemed quite compassionate and observant. After discussing how the last 400 mg infusion went, he determined that it would be in my best interest to increase the dosage to 500 mg this time. He is re-running all the standard rheumatology bloodwork (ANA, rheumatoid factor, ESR, etc.) as well as my normal CBC and liver functioning tests (thanks to Methotrexate).

When I went in to the doctor's office, I was using the cane. I walked out after the infusion without it. The infusion nurse and nurse's assistant were very sweet and the infusion room was rather large with very comfortable recliners (though they are difficult to get out of). They gave me the benadryl IV then the Remicade. In total, the infusion lasted about 1.5 to 2 hours. Not too bad. I went in around 1:30 and left at 4:15--that included new patient paperwork, vitals check, waiting for the doctor, seeing the doctor, and getting the infusion.

The bad:
The doctor's office is not easy to get to. It's located in an older part of town (on a hill). The disabled parking spaces are at ground level (lower side of the hill). The doctor's office is on the top floor (accessible from the second parking lot on the high side of the hill) with no access from the ground level. There are no disabled parking spaces in the second parking lot and no crosswalk between the parking lot and the office entrance. I parked in the disabled parking space, thinking it would be a reasonable distance from the office and have no stairs to traverse. Boy was I wrong! I ended up having to climb a flight of stairs to get to the office. At least next time I'll know. It still sucks. It really made me mad that day because I was in so much pain and that was just one more thing to make the day difficult.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Leave it to the Japanese to create a robotic toddler.  The concept makes sense: use the robot to study early childhood development (because what parent in their right minds would allow their kid to be the subject of early childhood development experiments?).

Is it just me, or does it look like something out of a horror movie (a la The Grudge)?

(Visual Description: A robot made to look like a Japanese toddler sits in a chair. Its entire body is done in a shade of gray, including the skin. Its eyes and hair are black. The facial expression on the robot seems to be one of either surprise or fear. A little boy leans over to look at the robot.)

Ready, set, brawl... in the state senate

A fight broke out yesterday in the Alabama state senate.  I love the headline:
State Senate Smackdown

It sounds like a high school fight. 

Bishop, 69, said he hit Barron, 65, because Barron called him a "son of a ..."

"If he calls me that again, it'll happen again," Bishop said later.

Barron denied calling Bishop that name. "I didn't call him anything."

"But I can tell you, when I come back, and you call me a son of a ..., then yes, I might whup you again. I'm not going to lie to you. And I would hope that you would, if you've got any gumption or you have any respect for your mother.
Note to all other Alabama state senators: don't launch any "yo momma" jokes around this guy, you might just end up getting hit.

Scott Adams would be happy.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

You've got to be kidding me

Paris Hilton "Crying" Behind Bars.  Apparently that's "breaking news" for CBS.  Give me a break.