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Preview: With Malice Toward None --------- by Lee Harris

With Malice Toward None --------- by Lee Harris

De músico, poeta y loco, todos tenemos un poco. We all have a bit of a musician, a poet, and a madman.

Updated: 2017-07-29T03:09:49.312-05:00


A Blast from the Past


On July 6, 2009 I posted the following open letter to an organization in Michigan that had sent me a solicitation. The link to that letter is broken so I am unable to fully retell the story from that day. Nevertheless, I want to present an early recitation of why I retired to México and continue to encourage others to retire to México.......Greetings from Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico:As you have already determined, the email account that I had used was canceled. I moved from Port Huron to Mexico over 2 years ago. At the present time, my companion and I are attempting to live on my Michigan teachers' pension with some amount of dignity and comfort. We discovered that we could not afford to live in Michigan with the pension monies I earned in service to my community and the State of Michigan. Even after 2 years, that fact troubles me greatly.Your email suggested that your current work with Medicare Advantage Health is very important. I agree. However, rather than working on Medicare improvement, wouldn't securing a public option health insurance plan for everyone be of greater importance in the long run?My companion has no insurance and as long as I am living in Mexico neither do I. Fortunately, most of the life saving medications that I need are sold over-the-counter at mere fractions of their costs in the United States. By the time that I would meet the huge deductibles and scrape together money for the co-pays and doctor office calls (more deductibles and co-pays) needed for medication prescription renewals I would have paid many times the costs I experience here. The American health care system is broken. What are you doing to change it?We could not afford housing, transportation, food, and medical care in Michigan. Here we can. Here we can live without the constant worry of surviving on my "great reward for service". Here, we live surrounded by breathtaking beauty and some of the most kind and gracious people on the North American continent.As for renewing my membership in the MARSP, I cannot afford to support your causes. I am grateful that in my youth I was able to become a life member in the MEA-R. I trust you folks will work together to improve the lives and future retirements of Michigan's education employees.Sincerely,J. Lee HarrisPS You have my permission to share my letter. If anyone is interested in a better life after retirement, they may want to consider moving to the Lake Chapala region. We have a rather large community of American, Canadian, and European retirees. Come for the Mariachi bands and tequila --- stay for the good life in Paradise.[...]

An American in Paradise


An American in Paradise writing about his experiences and promoting the free exchange of American retirees for the intelligent and hard-working replacement workers from my host nation. Too political? Stayed tuned. I am still reinventing this blog. Meanwhile......

The heart of my community is its main church named for the patron saint of Chapala, Saint Francis of Assisi. This photograph was taken today using my iPad. This is where we must begin...........

For Billy


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I Hurt


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It is time to decide. Time to move on or off my ass with this long project. Successfully fighting off even a hint of hypomania for the last year has been relatively easy. What more? Time to decide.

But, while we consider it..... we have work to do.......

The Boy with the Green Hair


allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' FRAMEBORDER='0' />From five years old to age thirteen I attended Garfield School. At that time it enrolled students from Kindergarten to 8th Grade. Being a rather large and sprawling school it had a main entrance for the public and several designated entrances for the students depending on their grade level. Seventh grader got to use the entrance nearest the school’s parking lot on the school’s southeastern corner. It was a convenient walk from the street I walked up to get to school and from the gas station on the corner of Stone and Garfield with its extensive collection of candy and my favorite and frequently purchased cough drops. The only other students that regularly used that particular entrance were the 5th Grade boys serving in the AAA Insurance Company sponsored safety patrol.One morning, after completing my safety patrol assignment crossing the younger children, I made my way back to the school. The school bell had rung and there were few people entering that door at the moment I spotted the boy with the dyed hair. It was Jack (not his real name). Of course, I considered this rather odd but I had no animosity toward him for doing such a, as my mom would put it, “goofy” thing. I liked Jack and considered him a friend. I don’t recall saying anything to him about the fact his hair was no longer his natural color. We walked through the school doors together and made our way to our classes.I never saw Jack, again.Jack didn’t return to school. No one provided any one of the curious an explanation. I even tried going to his home to find out what had happened to him. No one would tell me. The home was deserted not long afterwards. The family moved away.I liked Jack. I really liked Jack. Even at that young age, I sensed that there was something different about Jack. I suspected that like me, he was keeping a special secret about himself. And, I never got the opportunity to find out if my suspicions were correct. For years, I was bothered by what had happened that day. It was a true mystery that only informed speculation might come close to solving. Through the years, I have looked back and realized two (or more) lessons from the day that Jack dyed his hair. If you have a secret, keep it to yourself. And, if you choose to act out or share that secret you must be prepared for dire consequences.I don’t know if Jack was gay or just messing about for some needed attention. I imagine he got somebody’s attention, hence a move to a new school, mental institution or somewhere else. And, as I now think back to what happened, I realize it must have contributed to my own fear of being discovered. I feared being beaten, disowned, and sent to “Lapeer”. Just for being queer.Sometime around the time this all was happening in my young life an old 1948 movie was shown on a daytime or Saturday morning movie show on television. “The Boy withthe Green Hair” was a story about an American orphan whose hair turned green one day. He was shunned. He was persecuted. He was bullied. The movie had an anti-war theme and the Boy with the Green Hair was its messenger. And, we know what sometimes happens to the messenger.Of course, as a young sensitive queer boy with curly blonde hair, the story moved me, not as much as the movie adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, but it touched my heart nonetheless. Now, if you please, my heart strings are easy to pluck and my Christian education with its many New Testament stories of service and sacrifice and giving have shaped me as a human being. I was taught true Christian values and was, if I may use the term specifically, inspired to seek a career that helped people. I choose to become a teacher partly out of a sense of Christian duty but also because I discovered tha[...]



It is crystal clear that Santorum wants his God's Laws as part of our civil and criminal law.

Really listen to what he has to say about the poor and downtrodden..............

I have no words to describe my disgust for this pompous self-aggrandizing putz.

Is this the brand of Christianity that will rule?

Jesus save the poor from your followers!

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Occupy the Blogs


An anthem worthy of our consideration. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640">We Are The ManyYe come here, gather 'round the stage The time has come for us to voice our rage Against the ones who've trapped us in a cage To steal from us the value of our wageFrom underneath the vestiture of law The lobbyists at Washington do gnaw At liberty, the bureaucrats guffaw And until they are purged, we won't withdrawWe'll occupy the streets We'll occupy the courts We'll occupy the offices of you Till you do The bidding of the many, not the fewOur nation was built upon the right Of every person to improve their plight But laws of this Republic they rewrite And now a few own everything in sightThey own it free of liability They own, but they are not like you and me Their influence dictates legality And until they are stopped we are not freeWe'll occupy the streets We'll occupy the courts We'll occupy the offices of you Till you do The bidding of the many, not the fewYou enforce your monopolies with guns While sacrificing our daughters and sons But certain things belong to everyone Your thievery has left the people noneSo take heed of our notice to redress We have little to lose, we must confess Your empty words do leave us unimpressed A growing number join us in protestWe occupy the streets We occupy the courts We occupy the offices of you Till you doThe bidding of the many, not the fewYou can't divide us into sides And from our gaze, you cannot hide Denial serves to amplify And our allegiance you can't buyOur government is not for sale The banks do not deserve a bail We will not reward those who fail We will not move till we prevailWe'll occupy the streets We'll occupy the courts We'll occupy the offices of you Till you do The bidding of the many, not the fewWe'll occupy the streets We'll occupy the courts We'll occupy the offices of you Till you do The bidding of the many, not the fewWe are the manyYou are the few[...]

It's Not Too Late


From Current TV..............David nails the problem in Michigan and mocks the idiotic proposed bullying law.

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Happy 100th Podcast


Congratulations, Blue Gal and Driftglass!

100 podcasts!

And HERE it is at The Professional Left.

Intelligent, passionate, and right on target...... take the time to listen.


Act Now


The horrible so-called anti-bullying legislation passed by the Michigan State Senate may still be stopped. The State House has the opportunity to restore sanity in that bill. And, of course, Governor Snyder should veto the bill should it arrive on his desk. The people of Michigan must stop this travesty. They must call their elected representatives and complain.

The so-called anti-bullying law creates a special protected class of people. If the bill becomes law, it will be legal for alleged Christians to bully - torture - anyone that seems to not live up to their Biblical views of modesty, propriety, and morality. These Christianists will have special rights. Special civil rights that allow them -- teachers, parents, students, principals, and other school personnel -- to make public comments and remarks about EVERYTHING and ANYONE that does not square with their particular religious beliefs.

So, go ahead and tell Johnny his mother is a whore because she wasn't married to his father. Tell sweet Sue that she will burn in hell because she is not a virgin. Tell Ralph that God never intended for his African-American father and white mother to be married, let alone have children. And, of course, any child that seems to be or may actually be gay will come to school with a target on his or her back. It will be open season on LGBT youth, their parents, and family.

I am ashamed of the Legislature in Michigan. It has been taken over by religious zealots that don't support public education. They certainly don't care about Michigan's children.

Unbelievable. Horrible. Tragic.

Judge William Adams: Monster


Please watch this "worst person" of the day...........

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Worse Than Doing Nothing


This link is a must read and watch the video they offer. The Michigan Legislature has once again shown its disregard for the lives of all children --- not just the LGBT.

They have legalized bullying gay kids or Sally, the rumored slut, if they claim the Bible told them to do it.

That gives new meaning to the old B-I-B-L-E song.

I am horrified by this legislation.

The GOP are immoral cynical monsters in Michigan.

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Jesus, save us from your followers!


Servants of God


Okay. I will comment about the news of the day. All I have to say is this ---------- many so-called Christians are the biggest hypocrites in the world..........

Michelle, Rick, Frothy Mix, Newt, Cain, and the others must stop pandering to the Republican base with promises of government intervention in the lives of women and anyone that loves someone of the same gender. And, shut the f#%k up! about your alleged faith.

They know Him not............. see Matthew 25.

AND. I offer this photograph of a billboard without comment.

To Serve Man


I need a project. Not a job. Just something more to keep myself active and alive is all I ask. Following Bill's death I kept busy with near daily glimpses of the wonders that are México. It helped keep me sane. But as goes my bipolar mood swings goes the things I like. Sometimes they are lost and sometimes nothing replaces them.In the few months since moving to a new town I have not been writing and I have not been giving in to my inner photo-bug. Hence, the quest for a quest. I am nearly burnt out when it comes to activism. If I ever have something more to add to the conversations of the day I'll blog.So, today, lacking anything else creative or interesting, I offer these photographs.This is my Chapala Omelet from the Salon, a restaurant located in the Cultural Center in Ajijic. I enjoyed toast and jam, beans, and fruit with the flavorful omelet. My friends and I have breakfast at the Salon at least once a week, if not more often. The food is fantastic and the prices are good.This is called Enfrijoladas. These tortillas are filled with chicken and covered with a bean sauce and garnished with a dry crumbly cheese. One's enfrijoladas may also have cheese filled tortillas. This is one of my favorite breakfast dishes from the restaurant, Chapala Fonda, located on the plaza in Chapala.The Cucumber Restaurant is on the plaza in Chapala. They offer gringo breakfasts as well as this Mexican dish -- Huevos y Carne Asada --- steak and eggs with a side of bean. It is served with tortillas that one uses to make tacos from the foods on the plate -- together or separately. I may have a fork in one hand eating eggs while holding a bean or steak taco in the other. Or, I may put the entire meal in multiple fresh hot tortillas. No toast or jam. Hot sauce is optional.It is often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For me and my "breakfast club" it may be the only "big" meal. In the past year, as my friends kept me sane with our near daily breakfast dates, I found myself eating only fruit, cheese, and toast during the remainder of the day. My favorite "meal" is a large bowl of bananas and fresh locally grown raspberries. A huge plastic quart container of raspberries may cost 20 or 30 pesos. Today, that is roughly a buck and a half to $2.50 U.S.This is one of my typical daily meals. I love the flavored mini-toasts that I may buy, but ordinary pan tostado (toasted bread) is just as tasty. Bimbo Foods sells toasted bread that has fewer additives and far less salt.Needless to say, with my simple diet, I am healthier. The weight loss has been great, as well.So, I am looking for a new project. And, this little show and tell session was just for fun. In time, I'll find lots of things to keep me busy. And, sane. How could I not? Living in México is still a thrill and the great adventure continues.........[...]

In Amsterdam


We walked together in the rain along the canalsWe shivered and giggled while seeing so much newly foundThe cold, the wet, and the exhilarationThe North Sea churningAnd, the rain came downHe packed the umbrella that threatened to collapse or maybe blow awayI could have cared less for now we had an excuse to be so close and shareThe wind, the rain, and the bone chilling coldThe North Sea churningAnd, we were a happy pairWe sat together on the wet marble slabs so near the PalaceThrough the drizzle and between the forceful gusts of wind that blew all that was aroundThe people, the buskers, and The DamThe North Sea churningAnd, the rain came downWe dodged the rain inside the places remaining on that listEntering museums, markets, and moreThe portraits, the history, and the famous cafésThe North Sea churningAnd, we were ducking into another doorWe said goodbyes, again, with tears not noticed through the constant rainI departed Amsterdam leaving our hearts and memories in a sacred moundThe canals, the houses, and the endless narrow streetsThe North Sea churningAnd, the rain came downLee Harris, September 2011 (REVISED)[...]

The Day After


Greeting all of those Crousers, Wheelers, Hoopers, other family, and church folk would seem exhausting.It wasn’t.There was no fatigue. The next day, Billy found himself drawn to another group.To another face or two.Familiar.“Hey, Billy,” said the brother in monotone.“Hey,” the response.“Is this my other flakey son?” asked the woman.He knew her face.Their eyes. Their cheekbones.Billy just nodded.And there ahead of all the cousins, aunts and unclesHe stood with a smirk firmly attached,With those father’s eyes twinkling,And, ever so gruffly,He asked, “You lost?”----------- Lee Harris August, 2011[...]

11 Months


The move to Chapala is complete. There are only a few "housekeeping" items that I need to do -- such as changes of address. My house is just three blocks to the boardwalk along the lake and three blocks, more or less, to the central plaza. Perhaps, the only negative about this location is the proximity to "rocket central". I don't mind them. The cats have another opinion. And, when they come out of hiding you may ask them about those rockets.

10 Months


Ten months ago I began submitting photographs and occasionally sharing my blog postings on Facebook.  FarmVille was responsible for most, if not nearly all of my Facebook activity.  It was great therapy or distraction for someone mourning.  This evening, I am going to reproduce (with one spelling correction) a posting made on Facebook.

Here is what was on my mind:

I returned to my FarmVille estate today and found that nothing had changed. It was the result of having the miracle of an unwithering potion and a number of facebook FarmVille friends. Thanks.
The truth is -- I found another means of losing myself and avoiding the ever flowing tears and pain. The end of May was my 9th month of escaping to the farm. It was good. But, it seems that after 9 months of anything (read school) I have to change gears, distract myself in other ways, and rest.
And, I did. I almost immediately was seduced and hooked on Civilization V. My friends will tell you that I missed many of our breakfast dates due to all night conquests and battles. June was lost to the game, chronic insomnia, and, on occasion, too much sleep.
June was my tenth month and the hardest. We would have shared our 22nd anniversary.
My world has gotta change. It begins with a fresh start in the village of Chapala. The cost of living there is less -- greatly so because there are fewer gringos, canucks, and Europeans. Much Much fewer. My Spanish must improve now more than ever. I accept the challenge with delight.
I'm making plans. There are things I want to do. And, a promise to fulfill for Billy.
Healing comes with time. And, it is astoundingly augmented with the presence of good, caring, and peerlessly patient friends.

Fat Chance


From an editorial by the Times Herald in Port Huron:

"....ending the health care perk for the majority of Michigan's legislators is a needed reform Lansing should enact. The trouble is there is no guarantee the legislation will become law. 
This isn't the first time House members have passed a bill to eliminate the benefit. Two similar bills were previously passed, but they never received enough support from the Senate.
The legislation's passage this time ought to be a foregone conclusion. After all, the Legislature has pursued a fairly aggressive agenda of spending cuts.
Shared sacrifice has become a mantra legislators used to defend efforts to require public employees to pay 20% of their health insurance costs. To allow their lavish perk to remain would be the height of hypocrisy.
Michigan can't afford the lawmakers' health care benefit. The Legislature has no choice but to do away with it."

It is never going to happen.  Republicans in Michigan have proven to be mean spirited hypocrites.  Shared sacrifice is a joke.

GOP: Thieves


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Karlton O. Johnson: Knuckle Dragging Dumbass


Please Read:


Meet --  Principal Karlton O. Johnson of Blanche Ely High School in Pompano Beach, Florida

What a callous unthinking ignorant bigot!!!!

Thanks to Towleroad for the heads up.

It's Okay!


Unless you live in Tennessee. Knuckle Dragging Politicians.............

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Reinventing Michigan: Destroying Public Education


None of what Gov. Snyder makes sense.

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Right-Wing Social Engineering


See Governor Rick Snyder: Tax breaks for the wealthy of nearly $2 Billion created a deficit in the Michigan budget that the Republican Party decided would be filled by making cuts to programs for the disabled, increases in taxes for the retired, eliminating tax credits for the working poor, and MORE, while simultaneously shifting K-12 education money to higher education and other purposes hence creating a humongus shortage in money for schools.  Stupid kids means more pliant slaves workers - or something like that......

School Districts will fail because of the Republican Plan to starve public education.  Then, in come the Emergency Financial Managers.

... and none of it had to happen.  Attacking the wellbeing of the poor and disabled is cowardly.  And, morally wrong.  Attacking the public education system in Michigan is immoral.

Creating major crises when none existed all in the name of REINVENTING Michigan is moronic.

Social Engineering, indeed.