March 17, 2013

Mexico: America’s on-the-job construction apprenticeship training program

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 11:45 pm

Been anywhere near an active construction site lately? I have. And the first thing that you will probably notice on almost any construction site in America these days is that almost everyone there is both skilled and hard-working. And the second thing that you might notice at each construction site in America is that almost everyone there is speaking Spanish.

“Where did those guys learn all those amazing and intricate construction skills?” you might ask after watching almost any construction crew in action.

“They learned them in Mexico.”

You want to receive excellent on-the-job training? Want to sign on to an excellent apprenticeship program in carpentry, woodworking, plumbing, roofing, whatever? Want to go to an outstanding trade school or attend a five-star-rated “technical institute” (as they used to be called in America back in the day)? Then just swim the Rio Grande backwards. Become a wetback in reverse.

No one here in America seems to be learning these skills any more. Plus, in many schools in America now, they don’t even teach woodshop in high school any more. So if you wanna learn construction skills, go south of the border. Or if you want to hire a good already-trained journeyman carpenter, Mexico is your go-to source for qualified craftsmen.

Just like there used to be a brain-drain of highly-skilled doctors and computer geeks coming to America from other countries, now we also have a brain-drain of highly skilled carpenters, steel-workers, stone-masons and bridge-builders coming to America from Mexico.

And that’s just sad; that strategically-important construction skills are no longer either the birthright or the passion of Americans born here these days — because almost no one is teaching them here now. And, more important, almost no one born here in America is even interested in learning these skills.

Mexico has become our new source of future skilled labor.

PS: Like it says on that famous T-shirt, “Illegal immigration began in 1492″. But instead of hating undocumented Americans, we should be grateful to them for helping to build America.

PPS: All those strong young American men and women who used to go into the building and manufacturing trades? They are now mostly specializing in becoming trained killers — heartless killers being sent to foreign lands where they don’t belong and instructed to murder children.

“The US war on Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans. But the cost could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades when interest payments are included, according to study released on Thursday” according to AntiWar News

And according to journalist Robert Parry, even the pope approves of this kind of carnage

And as for the rest of us? It’s like Mark Morford of the San Francisco Chronicle just wrote, “37% of [Americans] are completely lost”

September 15, 2010

Dental Tourism: The price of saving a tooth

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 3:08 pm

Recently I’ve been having lots of trouble with my upper right-hand bicuspid — but it’s been years since I’ve been to a dentist and I’m not all that familiar with the price of having one’s tooth fixed. But I figured that it might cost me perhaps a hundred dollars, possibly two. “‘How much will this cost?” I naively asked my dentist.

“Hmmm. I would say around $3,000.” $3,000 for one tooth? Yikes! The cost of dentistry has truly gone up. At this rate, a full decent smile is gonna cost me approximately $100,000 — if all of my teeth start acting up. But my dentist is a wonderful person and really does try to help. “Perhaps you could have the work done over at the UCSF school of dentistry,” she suggested. That sounds like a good idea. The the last time that UCSF worked on one of my teeth, it cost me about $25.

So I scooted on over to UCSF on the N-Judah trolley and had them look at my tooth. “We could do the necessary work for approximately $1,400,” they said. Crap on a cracker! Even the dental schools have been hit by stagflation. Good grief.

And I can’t see any help coming from any kind of single-payer dental care health plan here any time soon either, so it looks like America’s teeth are gonna have to be in big trouble. Plus with all those greedy right-wingers doing everything that they possibly can — both in Washington and locally — to insure a steady stream of cheap labor here as well as abroad, Americans are not going to be able to afford very much quality dental care on their own any more — and so, if current trends continue, we’re all gonna become a nation with no teeth fairly soon. Literally. Everyone in America will be toothless by the age of forty at this rate. Eeuuww.

And only the Tooth Fairy is going to benefit from this.

But my right upper bicuspid was still aching, so I wrote to some friends who live in Mexico about the possible costs of dental tourism. I figured that I could take a Greyhound bus to Tijuana, then hop on a Flecha Amarilla down to Puerto Vallarta and not only get my teeth worked on for cheap but also be able to buy lemon meringue pie from the pie girls on the beach in Yelapa.

“I go to a clinic in Puerto Vallarta called ‘Just Smiles’ — located on Basillo Badillo in old town,” wrote back my friend Robert. “The new crown they gave me cost me just $300 (USD).” That’s do-able. Sort of.

And here’s some input from my friend J.R., who knows Vallarta like the back of his hand: “I’ve been going to my dentist here for about 28 years but he’s not the cheapest: Dr Fernando Peñalva, Clinica Dental Plaza Marina, 21-0165. His website is at And also check out for more information on dentists.” Okay.

I know that my friend Stewart goes to a dentist in Nuevo Laredo, but he hasn’t yet answered the e-mail I sent him asking for details. I guess Stewart’s still miffed at me for taking a stand on the Israel-Palestine issue. It seems like nobody can take a stand in favor of Palestinians these days without getting yelled at.

And then my friend Sterling wrote, “Don’t forget San Miguel de Allende. I forget the name of my dentist there, but she was good! Also a friend of mine from college met a Mexican dentist at a fat farm in Arizona and married her. They now live in Mexico City and both look really skinny in their wedding pix — but I’ve lost track of them too.” Leave it to Sterling to throw in a little hot gossip.

Then I heard back from my step-brother Sam, who is a frequent visitor to Mazatlan. “Here’s a link to go to for information on dentists in Maz:” And the site even comes with a video and links for free price estimates. “I love Mazatlan,” said my step-brother Sam.

So I went to the site and here’s what they said: “Need a Dental Implant, including an abutment and crown? Cost in USA: $4,400. Cost in Mazatlan, Mexico: $1,845 — An insane 59% savings! And what if you have all of your teeth missing, on the top or bottom? You may be considering: MDI Upper Arch, based on 6 Mini Implants (Denture secured by mini-implants). Cost in USA: $17,000. Cost In Mazatlan, Mexico: $4,200. A huge 74% Savings for These Dental Implants! Let’s see the difference with dental crowns: Procedure: Crown or Veneer, Metal-Free Porcelain on Zirconium. Cost in USA: $1,500. Cost In Mazatlan, Mexico: $500. A 66% Savings For Affordable Dental Work in Mexico! And here’s yet another dental work comparison: Bridge, 3-Unit Porcelain on Gold. Cost in USA: $3,800. Cost In Mazatlan, Mexico:$1,500.”

I need a bridge! But is it the Brooklyn Bridge that somebody is trying to sell me here? Sam says not.

So. All I have to do now is win the lottery, wait until the weather here turns really cold, dig out my swimsuit and go off to Mexico for new teeth. Or else I could win the lottery big-time and have my teeth done right here at home by my own wonderful dentist. Or else Congress could enact a law that would give all the rest of us the same wonderful single-payer dental plan that Congressmen now hog all to themselves.

PS:  Someone just recommended Poland and Budapest.  “They’ll even pick you up at the airport.”


October 21, 2009

Tales from the FOXholes, Part 10

Filed under: Commentary,Opinion,Toon,Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — RS Janes @ 12:37 pm


August 7, 2009

Lou Dobbs’ Mexican Birth Certificate


May 18, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Suspicious Minds Edition

Big Media ‘Pandemania’ Hides More Important News

Instead of ‘Swine Flu’ how about ‘Hamthrax’? **

For a couple of weeks in late April and early May, American news consumers were fed a near-constant diet of panic-stricken speculation by the US Big Media of an approaching Swine Flu bug that could have killed millions. Yes, it could have, but it didn’t. As tragic as it is that any have died from the H1N1 flu virus, only three Americans, and fewer than 100 people worldwide, have been killed by this flu. Many more die of car accidents, malaria and tuberculosis in a month than have expired from H1N1, yet cars are not banned and extraordinary precautions are not prescribed to save us from the ravages of malaria and TB. For that matter, about 3,000 people die each month of complications from conventional flu in this country.

One moment for a definition of terms: News is a declarative statement that ends in a period: Such-and-such happened to so-and-so at this-or-that place due to these conditions. The old ‘who, what, when, where, why, and how.’ Speculation, on the other hand, ends in a question mark. News is supposed to be what already happened, and the facts thereof. Speculation considers the endless possibilities of something that happened, or might happen in the future. That’s not news; that’s basically gossip. Look at how much of the ‘news’ these days on the cable channels and in the broadcast media ends in a question mark, especially where the H1N1 virus is concerned.

Our if-it-bleeds-it-leads Big Media love this kind of doomsday scare story: they can invite on legions of junk scientists trailing random letters of the alphabet after their names to nod sagely at how awful things might turn out in the various ‘worst case scenarios,’ engage in endless solemn crosstalk between earnestly-doltish anchor-jocks and speed-freak peppy anchorettes designed to make them appear as if they were born with frontal lobes, and suck in those viewers who don’t pay any attention to the world around them unless terrified by Hollywood disaster-movie plots, thereby cranking up ratings for the bottomless pit of ennui that is the cable TV 24/7 news cycle.

But there’s another aspect to this Swine Flu distraction that is little noted by the overpaid glitz-blisters and schlockmeisters who have floated to the top of the American media septic tank.


April 16, 2009

The Tattlesnake – Short Cuts in New Ruts Edition

Double-Dipping Teabag Hag: The Ol’ Tattler’s failing peepers can’t be sure, but I believe I saw the same woman who was sporting the insulting ‘Kerry Band-Aid’ at the GOP convention in NY circa 2004 wearing a hat adorned with hanging teabags yesterday at one of Fox News’ corporately-sponsored tea parties. Just a quick impression: She’s probably the head of the Pig Whistle, Louisiana, chapter of the DAR, the treasurer of the local ‘I Love Sarah’ Fan Club, chairwoman of the county Republican Party, and a good Southern Baptist who, in the name of the Lawd, beats her kids regularly “just to keep the li’l buggers in line.”

BTW, shouldn’t the videos of these astroturf ‘spontaneous events’ be repackaged by some bright young Republican sociopath into a TV reality show called “Just How Stupid Are You?”

Meantime, over at Rachel Maddow last night, a good point was made – I think by Ana Marie Cox — about the anti-tax FNC Teabag Party nonsense. She pointed out that most of these dismal events were held in public parks – in other words, land paid for and maintained by taxpayer funds. If you hate taxes and government so much, go hold your damn teabag party or your own private property and don’t make those who think you’re nuts foot the bill, not only for the land, but the clean-up afterwards. And would all of those tax-haters sprouting gray and white hair at those FNC rallies please return their Social Security checks and refuse medical treatment courtesy of the government?


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