Sept. 23, 2012

    To be unaware of or unresponsive to other’s body language can be a great asset. Sometimes I “rock” (a classic, autistic movement) just to keep my own focus undistracted.

I observe myself making choices all the time to NOT respond to others in order to keep my own focus.

Today on Facebook, I wrote that a friend had clarified her boundaries for me when I told her she was   confusing me. Sometimes I thought she wanted to be a friend; at other times, she was distinctily unwelcoming.  I got some input from another Facebook friend, Vicki, whose husband and two children are Asperger Syndrome people:

“I actually think it’s a deficiency in neurotypical relationships that people don’t seem to be able to talk clearly & openly about boundaries. Good for you & for your friend for talking this out.”

Here is a picture of me with my two daughters, Anya on the left, and Megan on the right. Boulder, Colorado, 2010 or 2011.

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from Sept. 22, 2012 Wall Street Journal:
30,000 protest at the gates of an Islamic extremist group that (it is said) killed 4 Americans (U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 other Americans) in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city (pop. 1 million). Libya has many heavily-armed mini-armies since Gadhafi was ousted; these groups fought Gadhafi. These militias (Libya’s Islamic radicals) attack Muslims who “don’t abide by their hard-line ideology).
World’s Most Violent Cities: Karachi, Pakistan is one. Here are some more:
The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in 2012
January 26, 2012 by in History, Misc, Places
Tourists and travelers looking for a good destination in 2012 should be aware of problem areas all over the world in terms of crime and stability so they can know what they’re getting into if they decide to go to one of these places. Some of the best tourist countries and destinations in the world have their unsafe areas and regions, so let’s take a look at some of the most dangerous cities in 2012.
Please keep in mind that statistical crime data is very difficult to obtain in many of these unstable regions, so the order of the list is approximated instead of calculated.
10. Caracas, Venezuela
Caracas is a city torn apart by drug trafficking and an abundance of petty crimes. Robbery is commonplace even in broad daylight, and the police have very little control over criminal activity. Many locals blame the government who is apathetic to these issues, much more protection is needed for many cities in Venezuela because it’s geological position makes it a drug running haven.
9. Mogadishu, Somalia
The capitol of Somalia is still in turmoil and the outlook for 2012 is not bright. Civil war has torn apart the city (and the country) for two decades and political violence is very easily sparked. Accurate statistical data is almost impossible to obtain because of how belligerent local militias are, but it’s safe to say that Mogadishu is quite dangerous, an essentially lawless city with an abundance of bandits. A huge amount of it’s citizens abandoned the city three years ago leaving behind bombed out shells of buildings, but it remains as violent as ever.
8. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

While Rio de Janeiro has some fantastic beaches and beautiful landscapes, you should not be lulled into a false sense of security should you visit. There are many slum/shanty areas where about %20 of the population lives in economic turmoil, and this struggle has given way to an ongoing conflict between drug traffickers and the local police force. Tourists and travelers are advised to stay away from the mountainous regions and poor areas of the city, especially at night. The police are there to protect you, but be aware that bribery is commonplace with them and that you may need some money to get out of a bind.

7. Grozny, Chechnya, Russia

In the mid 1990′s a very destructive conflict began between Chechnya and Russia. Grozny was left in shambles after a barrage of shells, missiles, and dynamite tore the city asunder- there were thousands dead and the toll on the city was massive. While the fighting apparently ended in 2006, it remains a very dangerous place full of crime both organized and petty. It’s especially dangerous for western tourists because of high kidnapping rates.

6. Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

The drug cartels in Mexico show no signs of slowing down their business, and Ciudad Juarez is one of the worst affected areas. The drug trafficking groups in Mexico are notoriously violent and stop at absolutely nothing to move their product, they have control over the region and can do pretty much whatever they want. This city has been called one of the most violent places in the world outside of war zones, and the police force is known to be corrupt. The blame for this violence is often attributed to the Mexican government, but others blame the ongoing American war on drugs that facilitates the illegal drug trade.

5. Bogota, Colombia

Bogota’s main problem lies in the drug trade and extremist political groups rebelling against the Colombian government, but fortunately there have been some improvements since the 90′s. The north side of the city is absolutely more safe that the southern regions, it’s advisable to stay in this area and no to wander past the city limits. Bogota is a great tourist destination with lots to see, just be careful and don’t stray too far from safe areas.

4. Baghdad, Iraq

Baghdad suffers from a very unstable political climate with many different factions destroying the city in their own way. The infrastructure has been torn apart by bombings and the streets are filled with unpredictable violence. The invasion by the United States in 2003 further escalated violence in the city and it has been a hostile place ever since. A lack of organization and infrastructure further exacerbate tension among Iraqis.

3. Guatemala City, Guatemala

Guatemala as a whole is riddled with crime because of a corrupt government and police force who are not at all equipped to deal with the abundance of criminal activity. The capitol has it the worst, the huge gap between the rich and poor is brought into stark contrast and robbery and violence are commonplace. It’s a shame because it’s such a beautiful city and country, but the corruption runs too deep for the streets to be safe.

2. San Pedro Sula, Honduras

This city in Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world and is considered even more dangerous than areas of Iraq and Afghanistan. Robbery is a rampant problem and almost everyone must carry a weapon of some sort for protection. Even minor disputes are often settled with violence and walking the streets requires extreme caution. Tourists are especially warned, anyone appearing to be a foreigner are specific targets for criminals.

1. Cape Town, South Africa

While Cape Town is a huge tourist attraction and a big city full of things to do, it also has extremely high crime rates and walking down the wrong street at the wrong time can put you in harms way. The disparity between socioeconomic classes is a major factor for criminal activity, and robbery is extremely common. Tourists are advised to do their research and stay in a relatively safe part of the city, don’t walk around unless the streets are well-lit with plenty of people out and be extra careful if you have to use an ATM.

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Employers and workers in different countires contribute widely-varying amounts of money to Social Security.

In the USA workers contribute 5.65% of their salaries and employers contribute 9.7% of the payroll.

Here are some figures from the euro zone:

Ireland: 4% – workers, 4.25% – employers

Spain: 6.25%, 31.08%

Italy: 9.19%, 31.78%

France: 9.9%, 32.68%

Portugal: 11%, 23.75% (WSJ article focused on Portugal’s upcoming changes: workers will pay more, employers will pay less)

Greece: 12.05%, 22.6%

Germany: 20.43%, 20.85%

Slovenia: 21.1%, 16.1%

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A columnist in the WSJ was writing about his income. He said that, by calling himself relatively poor, he was describing “a quality problem.” In other words, this man couldn’t always have the amount of quality in his food, housing, etc. that he wanted. I don’t have to choose between food and groceries, he said, like some people do. So, he understood that he wasn’t poor, only dissatisfied.

That’s what I have experienced financially for over 35 years: a quality problem. I recognized it as such early on, and I have never resented it (well, almost never). Instead, I have made it a mission to find ways to exploit it: such as camping while saving money for my next trip. Many more inventive, creative discoveries await me in this field!

Yesterday I went to Dr. Raheel, my doc who was born in Afghanistan. My “bad cholesterol” is totally out of whack. I have been over-indulging myself with yummy food for months. Making my coffees half-and-half plus a little coffee; having day-old chocolate croissants every morning; eating fudge and ice cream whenever I wanted. Oh, it’s just real bad! Now, if I value my heart, I have to cut way, way back. It’s not about looking/being “fat” (which is such a vanity issue); it’s about having a heart that will keep beating. I have really been stressing my heart out, and I could sometimes really feel it working overly-hard. It’s a lot more work for my body to digest rich foods now, especially after a life-time (starting in earliest childhood) of eating lots of sugary, heavy sweets (like Mom’s wonderful homemade brownies and cookies).

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As an Aspie, I often purposely, consciously reject Neuro-typicals’ values as flawed or unnecessary or excessive. I don’t think people with Asperger Syndrome are usually considered as making this decision consciously, but I believe that at least some of us do.

My responses toward NT men are often so negative (because they EXPECT certain NT responses, and I don’t give these) that I occasionally worry that my health is affected. Negative reactions have physical, not just psychological, effects, and I do have to pay attention to this.

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Women’s Rights in the news:

Human Rights Watch urged the Afghan government to take immediate steps to end the unlawful imprisonment of women and girls accused of “running away.” Up to 70 percent of the approximately 700 female prisoners in Afghanistan have been imprisoned for running away, nearly always for fleeing forced marriage or domestic violence, a March 2012 Human Rights Watch report found. (Sept. 18, 2012)

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Here is a picture of me with my son, Seth. It’s almost two years old.

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