complaints, condescending twatbags, controversies, Germany, healthcare, law, Reality TV, true crime, YouTube

Strong women sure do scare weak men…

Sorry about this super long post. I have a lot on my unusually clear mind this week. 😉

The week is grinding on, and I’ve been doing my best to stay occupied as I eagerly wait for Friday, when Bill returns from Stuttgart. As much as I complain when Bill is out of town, I have to admit it’s not all bad. For one thing, it gives me a chance to catch up on shows like My Feet Are Killing Me. I binged a few more episodes of that show last night. Thankfully, none of them gave me nightmares, although some of the issues people present with on that show are heartbreaking. I imagine the pain I’m in when I wear shoes that don’t fit well, knowing that when I take them off, the pain will go away. The people on that show have to deal with excruciating, unrelenting pain. It must be so rewarding for the podiatrists when they see their patients walk with less agony and/or better looking feet.

In some ways, I find My Feet Are Killing Me a less annoying show than Dr. Pimple Popper, because there are several doctors. “Dr. Brad” gets on my nerves, though, because he comes off a bit like a frat boy to me. And, maybe I’m a cranky old broad, but I don’t like it when doctors introduce themselves with their surnames, but call their patients by their first names. I’d blame it on living in Germany for almost 8 years, but I didn’t like it in the States, either. However, I would be preferred to be called by my first name than some cutesy pet name like “hon” or “sweetie”. If I’m going to be paying you out the ass for healthcare, you can call me Ms. or Mrs. And get offa my lawn, while you’re at it.

I’ve also been teetotaling while Bill is away. I usually try not to drink alcohol when he’s not home. There are a few reasons why I do this. The main one is to give my poor old body a break. Another reason is that in case of an emergency, I don’t want to be under the influence of booze. If I had to take one of the dogs to the vet, or had some kind of medical or other emergent issue, I wouldn’t want to be the slightest bit bombed. And finally, I like to remind myself that there are other ways to spend my time. It’s also comforting to know that I can still choose not to drink, given my family’s alcoholic history and my own enjoyment of the “sauce”. 😉

Watching videos of people in the United States getting busted for DWI is one way to remind myself of how things can quickly spin out of control after a drink or two. Germany is stricter about drinking and driving than the US is. The blood alcohol limit is .05 here, and if you get busted, they can and will force you to give a blood sample. There’s also a 500 euro fine for a first offense, and other penalties I won’t get into with this post. I almost never drive, but if I am alone, I might need to go somewhere, and I’d rather not go by bus. At least here, there are a lot of options for those who need a ride. We don’t have train station in our town, but we do have plenty of buses and taxis. However, anywhere I’d go would probably require me to drive, because I’d most likely be taking my dogs.

I spent a good portion of yesterday watching footage of people being arrested. Most of the videos were entertaining enough, but there was one guy who really gave me pause. This guy was a real character– memorable in EVERY way. After watching him interact with the cops incidents in both Vermilion and Lorain, Ohio, all I could do is feel sorry for this man’s family… especially his wife and kids. In fact, his stepson even commented on one of the videos, confirming to everyone that stepdad is a real jackass most of the time, with a few exceptions. Behold, Dorsey Fields…

Bwahahahaha… he’s loud, profane, and just plain embarrassing. Look at that gaping maw!
God help the people who have to deal with him. He’s belligerent, entitled, and probably needs medication other than alcohol.

The video below was actually from an earlier incident in a neighboring town. It happened maybe a month before the above video footage was taken. In the below video, Mr. Fields was busted for impersonating a police officer. As he was being arrested, he protested the officers scratching his 2004 model car. That beard, too… It’s too much.

He must have quite the rap sheet!

As I was watching Dorsey Fields in action, I couldn’t help but think he was naturally entertaining. Under different circumstances, maybe he could have been a character actor. He has a good voice for acting or speaking– it’s clear, distinctive, and doesn’t have a strong accent. He has personality, although it’s not a very pleasant personality, based on these videos. He’s also often hilarious, whether or not he means to be. Throughout his many rants in these videos, I can see glimmers of a gentler person… maybe when he’s totally sober and medicated, he’s even a very nice or otherwise redeemed person. According to his stepchild’s comment, Fields is bipolar. This was posted about 14 months ago or so.

Izzy (2 months ago): This is my step dad, I currently live with him and he acts like this everyday. I just recently turned 18 but ever since I was 11 we always fought. I have no remorse for him. After everything he’s done to degrade me, make me feel like shit and emotionally manipulate our family this is deserved and i’m glad people are seeing how much of an asshole he is. He also knows about the video but refuses to watch it, I read the comments to him but he still doesn’t think he’s a total asshole. Also he doesn’t own any businesses, my mom owns two restaurants that he didn’t contribute to. He isn’t a CEO of anything either and the car isn’t his. He is bipolar but I don’t think that excuses him being an asshole since he’s pretty much always been like this. I hope this video and these comments help him realize he needs serious help.

EDIT: Thank you for all the positive comments, support, and advice. I wasn’t expecting a lot of sympathy, but regardless I deeply appreciate it!! I genuinely hope his mental health, attitude, and behavior improves. Honestly sometimes he’s a cool dude and we have a lot of memories together, but most of the times he’s a total POS which sucks. Hopefully one day we’ll see his positive side more.

Poor Izzy. Wonder what his or her mom sees in him. She sounds like a very ambitious, hard working person, and she deserves better treatment than what this guy obviously delivers. I have to admit, though, these videos were the highlight of a hot afternoon. Which brings me to my next topic, and the subject of this post. I’ll bet most guys like Dorsey Fields aren’t very nice to their women. Strong women scare weak men. It’s obvious to me, especially in the comment sections of news articles about abortion. I’ll bet ol’ Dorsey is a Republican, too, and he comes from a state that strongly wants to deny women the right to terminate their pregnancies. Honestly, I think the existence of guys like Dorsey Field are one of the main reasons the ability to get abortions should absolutely remain legal.

Last night, I was reading an article in the Washington Post about how Democrats are working to come up with ways to get around Republican oppression regarding women’s health and access to abortions. On Rachel Maddow’s show, I heard about pro choice groups creating bulletproof vans that provide abortion services and can be driven to borders near anti-choice states. I think it’s sad that such a personal procedure might have to be done clandestinely in a motor vehicle, just so people can maintain control over their own reproduction. On the other hand, bravo to those who are not taking this shit lying down and FIGHTING BACK against zealots who want to force women to be pregnant when they don’t want to be.

Oh, but the comments from some of the men are so very telling. On the article I read last night, there was a really nasty character named Max who was leaving disgusting, insulting, and downright racist comments toward an atheist woman from Tunisia who argued for choice. He wasn’t the only one making vile comments to her; there were at least two other guys who were being overbearing, rude, and MEAN to this brave woman who dared to express an opinion. I got so disgusted by Max’s comments that I blocked him, even though I didn’t engage him. I also reported him for racist hate speech. I know I’m not the only one.

I wish Max’s vile commentary against pro-choice women was an anomaly in the wake of the reversal of Roe v Wade, but it isn’t. Every day, I read more insulting comments from MEN who claim to be pro-life and lament about “murdering” babies. But they have no thought whatsoever for the horrible, dehumanizing, demeaning, and cruel comments they deliver to living, breathing, former fetuses. Most of these men also expect women to find them attractive enough to fuck. George Carlin once famously asked his fans if they’d ever noticed that people against abortion are people they wouldn’t want to fuck in the first place. I’m here to tell you, I find most pro-life men utterly repulsive, not because they claim to be against abortion, but because they are usually just mean spirited, insufferable, uncaring dickheads.

Take, for instance, this op-ed that appears in The New York Times today. The piece is called “Please Laugh About My Abortion With Me.” Lots of men are commenting. Most probably didn’t bother to read the article, written by Alison Leiby, who does stand up comedy and has had an abortion. She has a comedy show called “Oh God, a Show About Abortion.”, which she performed the evening of June 24, 2022, which was the day Roe v Wade was overturned and millions of American women lost significant rights to their privacy and bodily autonomy. One wouldn’t think this would be a subject we should laugh about, regardless of how one stands on the abortion issue. Leiby has actually been performing this routine for a few years, having found that writing jokes helped her process the experience of having an abortion.

I’m a big fan of turning trauma into something creative. I do it all the time on my blog. Not everyone enjoys what I do. That’s to be expected, of course. But it is one way of taking back my power, and maintaining my mental health. For example, a few years ago, when our former landlady was driving me batshit crazy, I was writing short stories about her. I figured that was better than doing something violent. Her former tenant, who has since committed suicide, sent me a very shaming private message, mocking me for calling what I do “creative”. That’s the thing about creativity, though. It’s very subjective, and it doesn’t have to be “good” or “popular” to be healing. You don’t have to like someone else’s creative pursuits. Other people might like it and be helped, or even healed by it. The beauty of creative pursuits is that reactions often vary, and as long as the work means something to the creator, it’s worth doing on some level. I thought Alison Leiby’s article on joking about abortion was outstanding. Sadly, a lot of people will comment on it without reading, simply because their minds are firmly closed.

Maybe if the former tenant had been more open to good old fashioned venting in a blog, or turning her trauma into some other form of creativity, she might still be alive today. And it’s not that I don’t empathize with her, either. I’ve felt suicidal many times in my life. I think if I didn’t have a creative spirit fighting to get out, I might have one day done the ultimate anti-life thing, like she did. In fact, when I was suffering from debilitating depression and anxiety in the late 1990s, I studied voice. It helped me stay afloat when I saw no other reason to stay on this shitty planet, where an anti-choice total stranger once told me I should be forced to give birth, as they also called me a fat, murderous, “CUNT”. No lie– someone actually said that to me– and no, I have never been pregnant or needed an abortion. He said it because I’m a woman with an opinion he didn’t like. Why would I want to birth a baby in a world in which my child could possibly come into contact with a hateful, disgusting, rage-filled, disrespectful moron like him? He can’t even restrain himself from calling a perfect stranger a “CUNT”, and he thinks innocent babies should be brought into a world where he is on the loose, ready to hurt them with his vile misogynistic views?

Why is it that the most disgusting, reprehensible, sexist, racist, power hungry men are usually the ones who insist on making women stay pregnant, as they shame the women for getting pregnant and insist that it was a 50/50 decision. You can’t tell these guys that women often give in to men who want sex… or they are FORCED to have sex. And the ones who want to get birth control or even have sterilization procedures, often have to deal with doctors who don’t want to fulfill their requests.

So there I was last night, reading the comments about women’s rights to abortion care in the news. I was bewildered by men who were passionately railing against women who “murder” their babies, yet had no trouble totally trying to destroy and dehumanize the women who disagreed with them. These were already born people– folks who were once fetuses themselves, whom these guys claim they care so much about today. All I can do is imagine these angry, horrible, hateful men cursing out a beautiful baby girl, calling her a slut or a murderer or any other vile name… who someday might be knocked up by one of their grandsons, and might fervently wish to end the pregnancy for whatever reason, that is absolutely none of their business. As long as it’s HER body, it must be HER choice. That’s the way it WILL ultimately be, no matter how much yelling, threatening and cursing these guys do. It would so serve them right if many more women of childbearing age simply stopped having sex with any man who doesn’t embrace her absolute divine right to control her own body.

Anyway… I really liked Alison Leiby’s op-ed. I think people should read it, so this link will take you to her unlocked article. Like George Carlin before her, Alison Leiby has figured out that we really can joke about anything. Sometimes telling jokes can be very healing. Sometimes reading and writing profane rants is healing. Sometimes singing– even if it’s terrible singing– is healing. Dancing can be a wonderful way to relieve stress and make something constructive out of something damaging, as is practicing any form of art, no matter what it is. Yes, you can laugh about abortion if you want to, and it won’t send you straight to Hell. Just open your mind and use it for thinking, instead of judging.

There’s no need to be scared, weak and misogynistic men of the USA. This isn’t your fight; it belongs to women, because women are strong enough to fight for their rights. And in spite of what so many scared, hateful, horrible anti-choice men think, strong women WILL prevail in this fight. I hope some of the women who are married to belligerent drunks who drive while intoxicated will also have the courage to leave… and maybe embrace masturbation or celibacy, while they’re at it.

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funny stories, healthcare, law

“Officer, my fetus has personhood, so you can’t ticket me for driving alone in the HOV lane!”

I got quite a chuckle last night when I read the story of Brandy Bottone, a quick thinking pregnant woman who was ticketed near Dallas, Texas for driving alone in the HOV lane. On June 29th, Bottone was busted by a sheriff’s deputy at a HOV checkpoint on the Central Expressway. The current rules state that there must be at least two people in a vehicle to use that lane. The cop asked Bottone if it was just her in the car, or if she had someone else with her. Bottone, who is 32 years old and due August 3, reportedly said, “Oh, there’s two of us.” When the cop asked where the other person was, Bottone, who was then 34 weeks pregnant, said “Baby girl is right there.” as she pointed to her enlarged middle.

The deputy who cited her said that it had to be “two bodies outside the body”. While the penal code in Texas recognizes a fetus as a separate person, the Texas Transportation Code doesn’t. I’d actually love to see if that distinction is expressly written in the Texas Transportation Code. Did the people who made the rules think about pregnant women, put upon by Texas’s onerous pro-life laws, consider that a pregnant person might try to find a loophole in the regulations pertaining to HOV lanes? If they did, I would be surprised.

Bottone explains that she got in the HOV lane because she needed to pick up her six year old son, and couldn’t be late. Bottone said that she explained that this was a “living child according to everything that’s going on with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. ‘So I don’t know why you’re not seeing that.'” Bottone was issued a $215 citation, which she plans to challenge in court this month. I say, good for her!

The cop who stopped Botone wasn’t interested in her argument and waved her on to another officer, who issued the ticket. Bottone said that the cop told her the ticket would probably be dropped if she fought it, but Bottone was angry that she was cited in the first place. She also says that she’s not “pro choice”, but she does think that women should have a choice in what they do with their bodies. It sounds to me like Bottone actually is pro-choice; she just doesn’t want an abortion for herself. That would describe most people who are “pro-choice”.

According to the Washington Post, an appellate lawyer in Texas named Chad Ruback had this to say about Bottone’s argument:

I find her argument creative, but I don’t believe based on the current iteration of Texas Transportation Code that her argument would likely succeed in front of an appellate court,” he said. “That being said, it’s entirely possible she could find a trial court judge who would award her for her creativity.”

Ruback added, “This is a very unique situation in American jurisprudence.”

Ruback also said that it sounded more to him like Brandy Bottone just wanted to get out of paying her ticket. This isn’t about someone making a point about personhood or the overturning of Roe v. Wade. She just used the current political turmoil for her own purposes. It’s likely that the law will be changed, too, since she pointed out the loophole.

Naturally, I had to look at the comments. One guy wrote this:

Good Lord. The law is about getting other vehicles off the road to reduce traffic! To keep it simple they allow children . Can a fetus sit in their own seat???? She needs to pay her ticket!

A woman responded with this comment: Good lord. The fetus can’t live outside the womb and relies totally on the mother and yet she can’t make her own decisions about her body. That’s the real crime.

Another wrote this: …yet if you were driving a car that killed that fetus due to negligence on your part it would be reckless manslaughter. So yeah the fetus either counts or doesn’t. Can’t have it both ways.

Still another wrote this: …according to Texas state law a fetus is a sentient being provided with all the same “rights” as a born person. So, with that logic in mind the ticket is erroneous. And with the current SCOTUS position that a fetus is a living being deserving of rights she can now absolutely appeal the ticket with the argument that the fetus is a second passenger.

Bwahahaha… yeah. I noticed he got tons of rightfully indignant comments from those who think Texas’s intrusive laws are bullshit. But this was MY response, and I think it also has merit:

That fetus sits on her internal organs, making her need to pee like a racehorse. She doesn’t have time for traffic jams. I say, let her off… and let all the other pregnant ladies use the HOV lane.  

One guy commended me for my “logic”, to which I added this: I say the fact that the fetus DOESN’T have its own seat should absolutely work in her favor!

The same guy who exclaimed indignantly that Bottone should pay kept commenting more of the same. He said:

A passenger has to be in a SEAT of the vehicle. Two people are not allowed to be in the same buckled seat!

I like how he added the word “buckled”, as if that matters. I mean, seatbelt use is required in Texas, and in fact they will enforce the law, possibly to the point of even arresting your ass if you disobey it. But I’ll bet money this commenter is all for forced birthing, and if that’s the case, then maybe he should think about the value of giving pregnant women this one perk. Because they are about to become people with different civil rights simply due to the fact that they’re hosting developing persons in their bodies.

It seems to me that conservative lawmakers want to have things both ways. Pretty soon, the people are going to challenge them in ways they never dreamed of, as they try to call developing fetuses persons with rights, as they don’t grant them rights when it’s expensive or inconvenient. Brandy Bottone may not prevail in her court case, but I have a feeling that she won’t be the only one to use this defense in similar situations. A Pandora’s Box has been cracked open, and pretty soon things will get very weird, if something isn’t done to protect a woman’s right to choose.

I do wish Brandy luck, both with her traffic ticket, and her soon to be blessed event. And good for her for being a quick thinking person who came up with a clever response to a stupid, overly intrusive law.

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disasters, ethics, healthcare, history, law, music

Some people seem to want to WHITEwash the past… and send America back to 1950…

This post has more language in it than usual… proceed with caution.

Bill and I had a really beautiful day yesterday. You can read about it on my travel blog. I love that we still have beautiful days, and that I live in a country where I don’t have to worry about gun violence. I love that I don’t have to worry about the government butting into my private healthcare decisions. I love that I’m 50, and I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant. I love that I don’t have to be around creepy MAGA conservatives who seem to be hellbent on controlling women. I feel very fortunate to be where I am right now… but I worry about the future. I’m not a German citizen. I’m not even an ordinary resident.

I used to love my country. When I lived in Armenia, I missed the United States. When I lived in Germany the first time, I missed it less, but was still proud of being an American, where I believed I was “free”. I’m sad to say, I’m not so proud of being American today. I don’t feel like I would be “free” in the United States anymore. And I can’t stand how polarized people are now. There’s no more civility or empathy or decency. There’s just violence and wicked insanity perpetrated by people who care more about money, religion, and power than they do human beings. I’ve watched as some people I used to know as “decent” and kind, are now more concerned about high gas prices than they are the well-being of their friends and neighbors.

Word. It’s interesting to live in a country that knows all about this shit that is happening in the United States today.

In the eight years since I last lived there, I’ve watched the United States gradually turning into a dystopian hellhole, where a pregnant 10 year old rape victim was forced to go to an adjoining state for an abortion. She was lucky enough to be able to get the very necessary procedure done in Indiana. If this had happened a few weeks from now, the Ohio child who got pregnant because of some depraved pervert, probably would have had to go even further away than Indiana to get an abortion. Indiana politicians want to force women to birth, too. They just didn’t have a trigger ban law against abortion, like Ohio does. In Ohio, there’s no right to abortion in cases of rape and incest. It’s just so cruel and infuriating… I think the people who denied this poor baby an abortion are the vilest sorts of people who belong in the deepest parts of Hell! There’s no way a ten year old CHILD is prepared to give birth on ANY LEVEL! Cases like this are why abortion must be legal and safe.

My heart breaks for that girl, and all of the other girls who are going to be forced to stay pregnant because of some sick MALE politician! It’s absolutely SICK to me to read that women who have ectopic pregnancies are being forced to wait until they’re near death before a doctor will do anything to save them. It makes me so angry! And it makes me sad. Women will die, and they don’t care.

A little musical wisdom from Joni Mitchell circa 1995… See the lyrics at the end of this post.

In Texas, there’s a proposal to stop teaching children about enslaved people. Instead, the powers that be want to change the language to people who were subjected to “involuntary relocation”. Why? Because some geniuses are afraid of making White children feel badly about their heritage. Last year, Texas passed a law to eliminate topics in school that would make children “feel discomfort”. I don’t think it’s the kids who feel uncomfortable. It’s the privileged White MALE adults who feel that way. They can’t stand to see Confederate statues coming down, and buildings being renamed… So they try to change the culture to one that favors them… as if it were 1950 again, only worse. In 1950, there was a veneer of respectability and civility. Or, at least that’s how it seems to me when I look at footage from that era. But it was really only respectable for White MALES. America was NEVER great for anyone but White MEN. This policy, on its surface, may not seem to relate to forced birthing… but I think if we look deeper, it relates very well. Basically, what these MAGA fuckheads are trying to do, is enslave women and force them back into the home. They are desperately trying to stay relevant.

I’ve been reading about how the mostly MEN in the religious far right are wanting to make abortion even less possible to get, even for people who really need it for their health. They want to make women slaves. They want to pass laws that restrict women’s movements. They want abortion to be banned nationally. They don’t care that women will die because of this. From the Washington Post:

Just moments after the Supreme Court released its decision on Friday, Florida state Rep. Anthony Sabatini (R) wrote to Gov. Ron DeSantis, urging the Republican to call a special session that would allow the legislature to pass a six-week abortion ban.

The 15-week ban that DeSantis signed into law in April, which allows more than 90 percent of abortions to continue, does not go far enough, Sabatini said.

“The problem is not the governor … it’s cowards in the Republican legislature who have been blocking [the six-week ban],” said Sabatini. Now that Roe has fallen, he added, he is hopeful that the governor and the legislature will “respond to pressure.” (A DeSantis spokesman pointed toward the governor’s statement on Friday pledging to “expand pro-life protections.”)

I HATE these people. I feel nothing but rage and contempt toward the MALES who dare to take privacy and rights away from women. I don’t want to feel this way. It’s not natural or normal for me to feel this toward others. But I am absolutely appalled and offended by the extreme arrogance of these MALES… and I wish I had gone to law school, so I could be a part of the group of feminist lawyers who will make them dearly pay for this stunt. In Missouri, according to the Washington Post:

In Missouri, where abortion was banned almost immediately after the decision came down, state Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman (R) worries that the state Supreme Court may find protections for abortion in the Missouri Constitution, as other state courts across the country have done in recent years. On abortion-related issues, Coleman said, the state courts are out of step with the legislature, with a history of blocking legislation to defund Planned Parenthood facilities.

Right now, Coleman said, her priority is passing a constitutional amendment — by way of a statewide referendum — that makes clear there is no right to abortion in Missouri.

Coleman is also eager to restrict abortion across state lines, an idea she surfaced in legislation earlier this year and is now being discussed by antiabortion lawmakers across the country. The issue is particularly pertinent in Coleman’s home state of Missouri, where, even before Roe fell, thousands of people streamed across the Missouri-Illinois border for abortion care every year.

Coleman’s bill, which failed to pass in the 2022 legislative session, would allow private citizens to sue anyone who helps a Missouri resident access abortion outside the state, using the novel legal strategy behind the Texas abortion ban, which empowers private citizens to enforce the law through civil litigation. (Mary Elizabeth Coleman should be deeply ashamed of herself. She needs to be drop kicked out of politics.)

Even some younger women are eager to screw over other women by denying them privacy and essential healthcare. Also from the Washington Post:

Kristan Hawkins, president of the national antiabortion organization Students for Life, said she has been in talks with legislators in Missouri, and plans to bring a similar idea to a conference she’s hosting in D.C. this weekend, where over 200 antiabortion leaders will gather to discuss their post-Roe plans.

“I think we can say, ‘Look, if you travel out of state for an abortion, that abortionist can be held liable,’ ” Hawkins said. (Fuck you, Kristan Hawkins! You are a traitor to women!)

I hope that the businesses who have vowed to help their employees access abortion services will put their money where their mouths are, and move the fuck out of these hellhole states where women are becoming second class citizens. That is the only thing that will make these Republican motherfuckers listen to reason. And I hope women of childbearing age who are as angry about this as I am stop having sex with these MALES who want to force them to bear children they don’t want. Either that, or they take the motherfuckers to court as soon as they get pregnant and FORCE them to PAY. How dare they?!

I would expect this kind of thing to be happening in some third world hellhole. I would never expect it in the so-called “land of the free”. But the United States’ MAGA group of misogynistic fuckheads isn’t alone in their campaign against women. In Brazil, a pregnant ten year old was taken away from her family to protect the fetus, after a FEMALE judge failed to convince her to stay pregnant voluntarily. Fortunately, good sense eventually prevailed, and the girl got an abortion a month later. I hope that girl gets the hell out of Brazil someday and lives somewhere more humane.

I’m glad that the Fourth of July is not a holiday in Germany. There’s nothing to celebrate in the United States tomorrow. Our country is getting more and more ridiculous by the day. I don’t think I want to go back there. I know I’ll probably have to, though… and that makes me feel scared. The United States is turning into Gilead. God help us.

Sex Kills (Joni Mitchell)

I pulled up behind a Cadillac
We were waiting for the light
And I took a look at his license plate
It said, “just ice”
Is justice just ice?
Governed by greed and lust?
Just the strong doing what they can
And the weak suffering what they must?
Oh, and the gas leaks
And the oil spills
And sex sells everything
Sex kills

Doctors’ pills give you brand new ills
And the bills bury you like an avalanche
And lawyers haven’t been this popular
Since Robespierre slaughtered half of France!
And Indian chiefs with their old beliefs know
The balance is undone, crazy ions
You can feel it out in traffic
Everyone hates everyone
And the gas leaks
And the oil spills
And sex sells everything
Sex kills

All these jack-offs at the office
The rapist in the pool
Oh, and the tragedies in the nurseries
Little kids packin’ guns to school
The ulcerated ozone
These tumors of the skin
This hostile sun beating down on
Massive mess we’re in
And the gas leaks
And the oil spills
And sex sells everything
And sex kills
Sex kills
Sex kills
Oh, sex kills
Sex kills

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Joni Mitchell

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complaints, healthcare, law, money, politicians, politics, religion, social media, social welfare

Something I hadn’t thought about here on the “Road to Hell”…

I meant to write about today’s topic yesterday. It was inspired by a New York Times opinion piece I read the other day that pointed out some unintended consequences of our new post Roe v. Wade reality. But I got mired in a contentious Twitter conversation that led me astray and got me so pissed off that I donated money to the pro choice cause. Yesterday, I decided to write about that decision, instead of the new insight I gleaned from that very wise opinion piece, written by Tressie McMillam Cottom, a Black woman who is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science, the author of “Thick: And Other Essays” and a 2020 MacArthur fellow. The piece she wrote, titled “Citizens No More”, really drove home some of the ways life for women in the United States could change if we don’t nip this anti-abortion nonsense in the bud.

For a long time, I have been writing about the potential negative health consequences that could arise in the wake of making abortion illegal. What I hadn’t considered, though, is that criminalizing abortion will likely also affect women in the workplace. Tressie McMillam Cottom spelled it all out in her opinion piece. She writes:

I grew up choosing where and how I work because Roe v. Wade gave me many of the same basic rights of personhood as men, for example. Millions of women have, to different degrees, been able to do the same.

I agree. It was the same for me, my entire life. I was born months before abortion became available to all women in the United States. My whole existence, I’ve known that if I ever needed or wanted to have an abortion, I could get one. In fact, I grew up in southeastern Virginia, and I distinctly remember that Hillcrest Clinic, an abortion clinic that opened in Norfolk, Virginia the year after I was born, used to run radio ads on the station I listened to before school every day. I remember hearing the commercials about how a woman could access safe, compassionate care if she wanted to terminate a pregnancy. It was not a big deal to me, because I heard those ads all the time. I never thought twice about them.

Here’s a news clip about the Hillcrest Clinic, an abortion clinic that used to operate in Virginia when I was a young woman.

Then came the 1990s, and I remember reading in the news that abortion clinics were being bombed and doctors who performed abortions were being targeted, harassed, and in at least a couple of instances, murdered. Dr. Barnett Slepian was one abortion provider who was executed in 1998 by a gun toting anti abortion zealot. Another was Kansas physician Dr. George Tiller, who was shot in both arms years before he was finally murdered in 2009. On December 31, 1994, 22 year old John Salvi came into Hillcrest Clinic and opened fire, shattering the doors, but not injuring or killing anyone. The day prior, Salvi had stormed into two abortion clinics in Massachusetts and opened fire, killing two receptionists and wounding multiple clinic employees and volunteers. In many of the violent cases involving abortion providers being assassinated, pro-life zealots justified the killings, claiming they were “saving the unborn babies”. It seems ridiculous to me that highly trained physicians who simply wanted to help women were killed by people claiming to be “pro-life”. But life in the United States is often kind of confusing and odd, isn’t it?

I was a young woman in the 90s. Fortunately, I was not sexually active at the time, and I never had any gynecological issues, so I never needed to consider taking birth control, let alone having an abortion. But I knew that if I ever did need abortion services, and I was still living in Virginia, I could go to the Hillcrest Clinic in Norfolk.

The years went on, and lawmakers did more and more to restrict abortion access and discourage women from ending their pregnancies. They passed new laws, forcing clinics to upgrade their facilities to the point at which they were almost like hospitals. Hillcrest Clinic finally got to a point at which they could no longer operate. Ironically, it was because fewer women needed or wanted to have abortions, probably because they were getting educated about sex and had access to effective contraception. Hillcrest Clinic closed its doors in 2012, after serving the community for about 40 years.

Along came 2002. I finished graduate school and got married. Getting pregnant at a bad time was never an issue for me. But the same could not be said for my peers. I do know some women who did seek abortion care, and none of them has regretted their decision. I know they are living productive lives now, with families they formed when they were ready to be parents.

Now, with this new reality of conservatives trying desperately to force women to give birth, those choices are in jeopardy, even for women who never get pregnant. Tressie McMillam Cottom explains:

With Roe v. Wade toppled, we do not have the same rights in all labor markets. In a global market, an empowered worker is one who can migrate. With Dobbs, women cannot assume that we can safely work in Idaho the same way that we can in Oregon or Washington. I cannot negotiate wages or time off with an employer with the same risk profile as those who cannot become pregnant. An employer who offers lower pay in a state with abortion care indirectly benefits from women’s inability to take our labor on the open market across the nation. Thanks to a rogue court, women’s lives are now more determined by the accidents of our birth than they were a week ago.

Those accidents of birth include circumscribing women’s lives by making them dependent upon corporate beneficence. Some companies, including Dick’s Sporting Goods, immediately issued statements that they would offer reimbursements to employees for traveling for abortion services. The largess of Dick’s and other companies is noteworthy. But it requires women to disclose their health status to a boss they have to hope is well meaning. That says nothing of also hoping that corporate management or leadership does not change. Well-meaning employers can come and go. They also vary in how well meaning they are in terms of pledges of their employee support.

Those two paragraphs made me stop in my tracks. All along, I’d been focusing on health and happiness. It never occurred to me to consider how not being able to access abortion could affect women in the workplace, even in states where abortion access is guaranteed (for now). I also hadn’t considered that the companies who offer women help in getting abortions would also be requiring those women to discuss their private healthcare decisions with their employers. And, as the article also points out, some companies, such as Starbucks, have placed conditions on their offers of assistance. From the article:

 [Starbucks noted that] it cannot guarantee that benefit to workers in unionized stores. Union drives at Starbucks have increased worker power. Many of those workers are women and people who can become pregnant. Potentially attaching support for abortion care to non-unionized labor is a perfect example of why corporations should not be arbiters of human rights.

So basically, people who can get pregnant will have to decide what’s more important to them– access to abortion services, or worker’s rights.

I noticed in the comment section that most people were arguing about the morality of abortions. It seemed that very few had bothered to read Tressie McMillam Cottom’s opinion piece, which I thought was very sobering and kind of scary. I decided to leave a comment that people really should read her piece. If you click the link in this post, you should have free access to the link, as I am a New York Times subscriber and allowed to gift ten articles per month. If you are a person of childbearing age and can get pregnant, you might want to consider what is at stake. It will affect all women who work, unless it’s obvious that you’re beyond childbearing. Then, you’ll just experience age discrimination. 😉

I want to also bring up another alarming news article I read yesterday that complements Tressie McMillam Cottom’s piece. According to the Washington Post, some Republican lawmakers are trying to draft legislation that could block pregnant people from crossing state lines. Again, I’m gifting the link to this article, since I am also a Washington Post subscriber. From the article:

The National Association of Christian Lawmakers, an anti abortion organization led by Republican state legislators, has begun working with the authors of the Texas abortion ban to explore model legislation that would restrict people from crossing state lines for abortions, said Texas state representative Tom Oliverson (R), the charter chair of the group’s national legislative council.

“Just because you jump across a state line doesn’t mean your home state doesn’t have jurisdiction,” said Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel for the Thomas More Society. “It’s not a free abortion card when you drive across the state line.” (Figures it’s a MAN who said this. I hope he goes straight to Hell.)

I read about this development yesterday, after having yet another fruitless discussion with two older pro-life people on Twitter– a man and a woman, both of whom were conservative, and both of whom clearly never really stopped and thought about what eliminating abortion will mean to women, and American society as a whole. The first person who took me on was an obviously conservative man, who basically said that people who get pregnant by accident should be forced to gestate. He was kind enough to allow abortion for rape and incest cases. For everyone else it was, “she made her bed and now she needs to lie in it.”

I noted that he seemed to think pregnancy should be a punishment. He disagreed, arguing that birth control can prevent pregnancies, and “personal responsibility” should trump a gestating person’s right to make healthcare decisions about their own body. I tweeted to him that I didn’t think he’d really thought very long or hard about the abortion issue at all. I could have come up with a laundry list of my concerns, to include healthcare privacy and the fact that women in many states will have to prove their need for certain obstetrical procedures. Instead, I wrote that it doesn’t seem wise to me to force people to be pregnant when they don’t want to be, because it could mean that they won’t take care of their prenatal health. And fetuses would be developing in someone who might be very depressed and unwilling to seek medical care. That could then lead to babies being born with medical conditions that might have been prevented if the pregnant person had simply been more “responsible”.

I won’t even go into the huge list of reasons why this mindset isn’t fair to women. Men seem to forget that their health is never affected by pregnancy. It’s just their livelihoods that are potentially affected. What I was really thinking of, though, is that pregnant folks might soon find themselves in a different class of people, with fewer civil rights. This guy on Twitter was insisting that he didn’t think pregnancy should be a punishment, as he was also clearly pointing out that people should be forced to gestate. And, I’ll bet if I pressed him, asking him what he thought should happen to pregnant women who don’t seek appropriate medical care (which, of course, they would have to pay for), he would say the women should go to jail. Sounds pretty punishing to me. Now, granted, he didn’t actually say that during our discussion– which went on for much too long– but I’ll bet money that he would get there. Americans seem to LOVE to see people go to prison.

This isn’t an empty threat. I looked up forced prenatal care yesterday. It has happened. The link leads to one case from 2000, but there are others, and that Washington Post link I provided is about how some extremists would like to make it illegal for pregnant people to cross state lines. That sounds very punitive to me, and it would likely discourage people from seeking medical care. Another unintended consequence is that there will be some women who will stop having sex with people– particularly men– who can get them pregnant. I’ve already seen at least one Reddit thread from a man who is upset that his girlfriend is on a sex strike because of the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

In an earlier blog post, I shared Jessica Kent’s very distressing video about her experience giving birth while she was incarcerated in Arkansas. If we don’t do something about these wackos who are trying to criminalize abortion, there will be more women who experience the hell of being pregnant behind bars. It won’t be good for women OR those precious babies. And, things are already getting shitty in Texas. Yesterday, I watched this woman’s heartbreaking video about the horrible trauma she experienced, trying to take care of her miscarriage in Texas last year.

This video is absolutely horrifying. My heart breaks for her. She had a lot of trouble accessing prenatal care, too.
Sharing this again for those who missed it. This could be a reality for many more women if the pro-life zealots get their way.

The other person who engaged me yesterday was an older woman who had many of the same arguments the man did. She was very condescending to me, and kept preaching about personal responsibility. I didn’t tell her that I was SUPER responsible when I was younger. I was a virgin until two weeks after my wedding day, and was 30 years old when I finally had sex for the first time… with a man who’d had a vasectomy. I also didn’t tell her about my background.

But toward the end of our chat, she wrote that she has a four year old granddaughter who was conceived accidentally. Her granddaughter is the light of her life. And you know, that’s really lovely. I’m happy for her. I wrote that I hoped her granddaughter never needed to have an abortion, which is sometimes necessary for health reasons. And I hoped that her granddaughter wouldn’t lose some of her healthcare privacy rights, due to her sex. The woman wrote back that my concerns about healthcare privacy were “ridiculous”. All I can do is shake my head… as Randy Newman sings, “I’m dead, but I don’t know it…” I think that observation would apply to this woman’s brain.

Clever song. I think this could be the state of women’s healthcare privacy and freedom very soon.

But instead of sharing the link to Randy Newman’s song, I wrote that my concerns about privacy are NOT ridiculous, and a lot of us are very concerned about it, and with good reason. Then I bid her a good night, because I was tired of tweeting in circles and felt my time would be more productively spent cleaning the lint out of my belly button or something.

Well… I could go on. I am kind of rueing exploring Twitter, because now I get exposed to some real twits besides Bill’s ex wife. But at least it gives me another source for my blog, right? And since I mentioned Ex… here are a couple of her most recent comments. I could start a blog that focuses on the inanity of Ex’s Twitter feed. For your amusement…

My daughter is 19, a HUGE fan of yours(read your book), along with TMNT; she wants to be a voice actress more that ANYTHING! Rob, how can I encourage her? I can’t afford acting school in NY, though she was accepted! Please, any advice for a mom who just wants to support a dream?!

Omg … my eyes…. My ears… make it stop! It’s like reliving the day I sang “If” by Bread in 1981 at a school talent show with, literally, the sweetest and kindest guy in the world! Except, alas, it was never to be… still love him with all my heart!!

She once sang “The Sweetest Thing” by Juice Newton to Bill. To this day, he can’t abide that song.

So ends today’s rantings. Hope it provides food for thought.

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healthcare, politicians, politics, religion, Trump

Putting my money where my mouth is…

Last night, I did something I’ve never done before. I donated $500 to NARAL Pro-Choice America. Just now, I donated $200 to Planned Parenthood. I decided to make my donations to these two organizations last night after reading insulting, misogynistic, mansplaining comments from men all day. It started with a guy on Twitter who mansplained the effects of pregnancy to a woman and compared it to a hysterectomy. It ended with disgusting comments from a bearded man who wrote several gleeful comments about forcing “loose women” to give birth. By the time I was ready to go to bed, I was seething, and found myself reaching for my credit card.

When I commented on a Washington Post article about abortion rights that I had donated to NARAL, more men came out of the woodwork to deride, lecture, mansplain, and again, ask me if I wasn’t glad my mom didn’t abort me. I blocked every single one of those fuckheads, as well as the women who were complicit in pushing this view that women shouldn’t be allowed to make private healthcare choices for themselves. All of them can go straight to Hell, as far as I’m concerned. This farcical Supreme Court ruling must not stand. People will die.

On Twitter, when I made this comment to the man who had “mansplained” pregnancy and hysterectomies to a woman, I got many likes. I also got a very nasty, angry, misogynistic response from a man who didn’t want me to have a voice. I blocked that fuckhead, too, as well as the ones who decided to use that discussion to make fun of trans people by asking “what is a woman?”. I don’t have time for those people; I don’t want to hear from them; and I don’t want to waste any time responding to their stupidity. They can go to Hell, too.

From yesterday…
To the guy’s credit, he did come back later with a reasonable response… but many more people than the ones reflected in this screenshot liked my post. A couple wrote that they were about to comment the same thing.

Truthfully, I’ve been wanting to donate to pro-choice organizations for a long time. I firmly believe that overturning Roe v. Wade will make American women less safe, and I feel like I have to do my part to help protect women’s rights to healthcare privacy. Women must have competent medical attention exactly when they need it, not when a lawyer says the doctor won’t be sued or jailed. I know that money is powerful. For once, Bill and I have it, and we can use it for something that might make a difference in the world.

When I posted about my donation, I noticed the immediate reactions I got from men who are happy about the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Some of them “laugh reacted”. Some responded offensively. Some tried to “reason” with me. I know that their reactions cover up their real feelings that more people might do what I did. They’re counting on those of us who are for choice to be complacent, and politically inactive. Historically, I have never cared much about politics. I’ve never voted in any primaries, and I’m not a member of any particular political party. I have never donated money to any political action. I only follow a few politicians. But last night, something in me woke up. I’ve been reading so much craziness over the past few days, some of which is coming from politicians who literally want to change the United States into a theocracy.

Republican Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado went as far as to tell a church congregation she’s “tired of this separation of church and state junk.” That woman actually wants to allow CHURCHES to dictate US law! She actually said that the church is supposed to direct the government. I wonder which church she means. She delivered this speech at Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt, Colorado. It’s a non-denominational church. They hosted Lauren Boebert, who is a well-known gun rights activist and MAGA asshat, and allowed her to spew her political bullshit in their church. That’s a misuse of their non-profit 501 [c] tax exempt status. I think churches that allow these kinds of political statements ought to be heavily taxed. It’s not for churches to tell people how to vote. It’s funny, too, because I just typed “IRS report” into Google, and the first recommendation was “IRS report church”.

As an American, I sure as HELL don’t want Lauren Boebert and her ilk leading my country. Moreover, she’s just plain wrong about what the Founding Fathers were aiming for when they drew up our Constitution. Not that I’m all that impressed with the “slave owners who wanted to be free” that the Founding Fathers were (George Carlin). What Boebert proposes is a Christian version of the Taliban. It’s like we’re seeing Serena Joy Waterford forming right in front of us.

From Father Nathan Monk’s Facebook page… his astute comment regarding Christianity was immortalized by an artist named panhandle_slim_

Even though I am beyond pregnancy myself, and I know that I will never be in a situation in which I will want or need to have an abortion, I think it’s important to preserve reproductive rights for younger people. My husband has a granddaughter who will be turning 3 in a few days. There’s every chance that she might need an abortion at some point in her life. Her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother have all had difficult pregnancies, to include miscarriages, and in her grandmother’s case, dissociating from reality during labor. She should be able to privately access that procedure without interference from an uninvolved person. And as a soon to be member of the LDS church, she shouldn’t be forced to live under laws that are dreamed up by evangelicals and Catholics. We have religious freedom in the United States, and that’s how is should be… that means freedom to practice any religion, and freedom NOT to practice. And no one’s healthcare choices should be determined by laws that are influenced by a specific religion.

So yeah, I’m really pissed off… pissed off enough that I spent $700 to do something about this fucking mess created by Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the rest of that merry band of misogynists. And you know what? It felt really good. We won’t miss the money, and it will go to what I know is a very good cause– that of preventing power mad Republican MALES and clueless women from interfering in and invading the private healthcare decisions of women who want or need abortion care… or any other type of healthcare. Especially since we all know that the message in the below screenshot is so true…

You can count on that and take it straight to the bank. I think Panhandle_slim_ is also responsible for the above sign, which was photographed on the side of a busy street in Savannah, Georgia.
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