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Doris writes a weekly column for LaGaceta, the nation's only trilingual newspaper, which has pages in English, Spanish, and Italian.  Begun in 1922 for Tampa's immigrant community, it continues to thrive more than a century later.  Her column is titled "In Context," as it aims to put contemporary issues in the context of the past.

Things in the Really Up North

The last two columns you (hopefully) read were written before I left for northern Minnesota. With the exception of delayed flights and lost luggage, it was a wonderful respite from Florida in July.  The days were sunny, but neither excessively hot nor humid, and the two brief rainfalls came quietly at night.  I never used the bug spray that my daughter bought for me at the Mall of America, despite the common belief that the mosquito is Minnesota's state bird.

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Did You Notice?

·      The Times seems to be printing fewer of its Politifact analyses, a measurement of the truthfulness of politicians' claims.  If my impression is correct, I think the reduction must be because so many statements from the White House are plainly lies that they feared using the world's supply of red ink for "Pants on Fire."

·      Did you see the report that our obesity crisis is not so much based in fats as in the excessive sugar that manufacturers put in processed foods?  And another story that said 100% fruit juice correlates with cancer at the same rate as sodas, no matter if the soda is naturally or artificially sweetened?  Read More 

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Press Two for Suicide

With luck, I may get through this without my blood pressure spiking to dangerous levels.  And I know that you know the problem, too, so why bother?  But before it kills us all, I think we must organize to do something about modern "customer service."  At the moment I'm writing this, Hubby and I have spent an hour trying to return a message from someone at the VA hospital.  We can't get through to her or any other real person, even though she left an extension number.  The robot just says "invalid entry," and leaves us hanging.  Then we dial the main number again, where we are told to press two if we are having thoughts of suicide.  I may take them up on that, but I'd rather shoot the robot. Read More 

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Our Most Forgotten – Yet Very Important – War

My friend – and probably yours – Dr. John Belohlavek published another book a couple of years ago, but only recently got around to giving me a copy.  Called Patriots, Prostitutes, and Spies:  Women and the Mexican War, it's about that war of the late 1840s.  As John says, it probably is America's most forgotten conflict, even though it was a congressionally declared war.  It shouldn't be forgotten, especially because of our increasingly large Mexican population.  It's also especially important for Floridians because the Mexican War is closely connected to our wars against the Seminoles.  Professional army men under General Zachary Taylor (for whom downtown's Zack Street is named) temporarily gave up here, heading to Mexico and a new foe. Read More 

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Making Lawmakers Obey the Law

I'm a little late on this, but it doesn't matter because the issue goes on and on and on and therefore always is timely.  What I'm late on is quoting the Times' excellent business writer, Graham Brink.  He wrote back on May 18:  "Some things seem inevitable.  Snowbirds return, beach bars play Jimmy Buffett, and Florida lawmakers pillage the affordable housing trust fund.  They did it again this year, sweeping $240 million to other purposes, leaving just $85 million… This is the 12th year in a row that Republicans who control the state House have steered [away] at least half of the money." Read More 

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