Abortion Ban BIll

on Thursday, February 23, 2006

The South Dakota Senate passed a bill yesterday banning nearly all abortions in the state. The bill has now gone to the House which passed a different version earlier. If passed, penalties would be up to five years in prison and would be a felony for doctors or others to perform abortions.

Abortions were legalized back in 1973 in the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision. I consider myself pretty much Pro-Choice. It is a woman's right to decide if she wishes to have an abortion or not. What if a woman is raped, or if the child is severely deformed and has no chance of even somewhat of a normal life?

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Italians don't like Italy anymore

on Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Another article posted in the last couple of days, this time in the Corriere della Sera, about how one in three Italians want to move to another country, dissatisfied with their own country. Not only has it lost its lusture as a vacation destination, it's lost its appeal even for it's own citizens. The majority of the people wanting to leave are from the northeastern part and southern part of Italy. Whereas people from Sicily and Sardinia, where "roots" are stronger, only 34.4% had an interest of moving abroad.

If so many Italians want to leave the country, why isn't anything done to try to keep people here. I know that nothing can be done overnight, that would be expecting the impossible. Almost 55% of the repsondents of an Eurispes Survey were between the ages of 18 and 24. There just aren't the opportunities here anymore, compared to say twenty years ago. A career that is more suited to the individual and also better pay.

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Myth and Reality

In the most recent issue of Newsweek International Edition, there is an interesting article about gender equality here in Europe. That European women can have a job, but not a career. In the United States, women account for 45% of high-level decision makers, here in Italy, 18% hold power-jobs. Just a LITTLE difference. Why such a big difference you ask? Europe is "killing" its women with kindness, in luxurious welfare policies that were created to help them. Women are offered LONG maternity leaves, then pushing them to take the full amount with tax policies that discourage a second income, along with subsidies that serve to keep them at home. Few European corporations offer flextime that makes it easier for a woman to work AND take care of their family. So some women end up working part-time, which is less respected and poorly paid in a continent with laws favoring employers when it comes to discrimination. An example, when my sister-in-law had her daughter a little over a year ago, she took a ten month maternity leave, when she went back to work she wanted to go part-time, but was told no since if the company let her go part-time, they'd have to let all the other women also go from full-time to part-time if they wished. What a crock.

European women are less likely to fight back when discriminated against, since Europe doesn't allow class-action suits, and outside of the public sector, the burden of proof in a discrimination case falls on the individual, not the corporation, making it very difficult for a single person to initiate and win a case.

The system does not help women break out of this no-win situation. Most European countries base their tax structure around the idea of a single breadwinner, which makes it often in favor if the mother doesn't work and takes care of the family.

So basically here in Europe is still a MALE dominated society, where the woman is meant to stay at home and take care of the family and the husband brings home the bacon. Maybe fifty years ago this may have been acceptable, that women strove to be like Joan Clever. But not now. Things need to change. With the number of people retiring increasing, and jobs needing to be filled, immigrants cannot be expected to fill all of those jobs. Women need to be given equal opportunities as men, European countries need to exploit so to speak their natural resources and job pool. Some Americans see/view Europe as the Old/Mother World. An Old World that is stuck in an Old World mentality.

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Italians living abroad

on Tuesday, February 21, 2006

According to an article yesterday in the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, 37.8% of Italians are moving abroad, to the tune of about 4 million people. The majority are young people, 18 - 24 year olds, 54.1%, mainly for work purposes, and opportunities for their children. Other reasons given for Italians moving out of the country: more freedom of opinion and expression, more security, lower cost of living, better political climate, contact with nature. With all the political corruption in this country, no wonder people want to leave.

The current prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, isn't a stranger to corruption or bribing judges. In addition to being prime minister, Berlusconi also owns three television stations, and is first shareholder of the Italian football team, A.C. Milan. He is also founder and first shareholder of Fininvest, a large Italian company dealing with media and financial business. Silvio Berlusconi is Italy's richest man, and the world's 25th richest man, with assests worth $12 billion.

Italians are immigrating to:
Spain
France
Great Britain
Switzerland
United States
Germany
Austria



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Italian Courts

on Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Italian Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a man who forced his 14 year old step-daughter to have oral sex with him after she refused to have sexual intercourse with him. He's been sentenced to three years and four months jail time, has appealed saying that since she not a virgin and this should have been taken into consideration during his trial. Of course (sarcisim) the Supreme Court agreed, saying that the step-daughter's personality from a sexual point of view is much more developed.

It doesn't matter if she was a virgin or not, she was still violated, forced to do something she did not want to do. No means no. What kind of society is this? One that brags that "Women rule", when in fact seems that the men do, trying to control everything and that women are made to be second-class citizens, if that, and are here for the pleasure of men. Here also how one looks is oh so important, especially the women. For what reason, other than for a man to "show off" that he has a beautiful woman draped over his arm? What kind of logic/thinking is this?

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My 1991 Ford Thunderbird

on Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Front view of my 1991 Ford Thunderbird in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that is parked at a friend's house near Parker, South Dakota. Since I have returned to Italy, my friend's son took the car out and accidently hit a deer so there now is some front end damage, to what extent I do not know. If and when this car is totally fixed up, would be a good running car. For the three months I drove it, minus the tie rods, I had no real problems with it. Always started. The Check Engine, Door Ajar and Seat Belt lights are always on. I can imagine once the seat belts are fixed that the Seat Belt light would turn off. One day while at the grocery store, I ran into the previous owner, she said while she had the car, she was hit on the passenger side, between the door and front quarter panel. I will consider selling the car for the right price and to the right person. If you're into restoring cars, especially Ford Thunderbirds....
*** Update July 17th 2008 - My offer still stands if you are interested in buying my 1991 Ford Thunderbird. Post a comment with your email address and with your offer and I will respond back.

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1991 Ford Thunderbird

My 1991 Ford Thunderbird that I have in the United States. I paid $600 for it, ended up having to put in new tie rods and some other front end work that cost $750. I paid more for the front end work than I actually paid for the car. There are some small rust spots, needs covers for the front turn signals, needs a new serpentine belt, the mechanical seat belts do not work, nor does the cruise control, radio or antenna. Currently is parked at a friend's house near Parker, South Dakota.
*** Update July 17th 2008 - My offer still stands if you are interested in buying my 1991 Ford Thunderbird. Post a comment with your email address and with your offer and I will respond back.

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Ford Mondeo

My 1995 Ford Mondeo, my car that I have here in Italy. Yes, it's an automatic, not a stick!

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2006 Winter Olympics

on Friday, February 10, 2006

Today is the first day of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin (Torino) Italy. I don't personally know her, but Jana Lindsey is from my home state of South Dakota, will be participating in the Women's Aerials freestyle skiing competition. The women's Aerials qualifications will be on February 19th at 6:30pm local time in Italy with the finals on February 22nd at 6:45pm local time. I want to wish her the best of luck and hope she enjoys her stay in Italy.

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La Dolce Vita

on Wednesday, February 08, 2006

When I moved to Italy in May 2002, was told by many friends in the States oh that I am sooo lucky to be moving to Italy, and living near Milan, one of the fashion capitals of the world. Visiting and living are two different things. Yes here the food, scenery, history and fashion are all nice. Then there is the day-to-day living, working, paying bills, going to the grocery store etc. Little do they realize, life isn't as sweet here as they think, or as it's potrayed in the movies. Have read a couple of interesting articles, one in the Telegraph and another in The Independent. The "La Dolce Vita" or The Sweet Life does not exsist. Getting things done in a respectable or reasonable manner/time frame is nearly impossible. The wanting to actually get anything accomplished is a foreign thought. The talk shows or debate shows as I see them, the guests and host talk about oh how this and that needs to change, but is anything ever done about it, no. They turn the other cheek, expect someone else to do it, or ignore the problem(s) hoping the problems just disappear.

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Italian Health Care

With each doctor visit here in Italy, makes me more disgusted by the health care system here. The Italian health care system is a welfare system, meaning everyone is covered and doctor visits etc are covered by the State, or have a low co-pay. Ok that is all fine and dandy, but lacks in organization. For example, my orthodontist wanted a panoramic x-ray of my mouth. So he wrote a "prescription" which I had to take to my family doctor for him to write an actual prescription then I had to take that to the local hospital, make an appointment for the x-ray. Return for the appointment, go back to the hospital a few days later to pick up the x-ray and take it to my orthodontist. This is normal, even for a simple blood test.

Then there's the hospital itself. Thankfully I've never had to spend any amount of serious time there. Mainly just to visit a family member and the occasional test. I'd be horrified to be an actual patient in the hospital. The buildings themselves look like something out of a 1950's or 60's horror film. If hospitals looked like that in the States, they for sure would be either condemned or who know's what else. Once my Italian mother-in-law was in the hospital for a few days, she shared a room with three other patients, with no bathroom in the room, they had to go down the hall to use the restroom. When my sister-in-law had her daughter, the bedframe had rust on it, and she was in one of the "better" hospitals in Milan.

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