dreams, music, politicians, politics, slut shamers, social media

Strange morning dreams, and rude comments from MAGAts….

I’ve been having some interesting dreams lately. Yesterday morning, I dreamt that Richard Carpenter had quit playing music and become a dentist, and he was MY dentist. I don’t know how good Richard is at math and science, but based on his looks alone, I could totally see him as a dentist. But, because I do admire his piano skills so much, and I’m sorry I dreamt he changed careers, I decided to download a few of his solo albums. As I write this, I’m listening to this year’s Richard Carpenter’s Piano Songbook, in which he plays intricate piano instrumentals of his biggest hits with his sister, the late Karen Carpenter. And, as I write this, I realize I’m turning into my dad. This is the kind of thing he’d probably enjoy himself. He used to play Carpenters albums in the car when I was a kid. If I was lucky, that’s what he would play… otherwise, it would be straight up Muzak. Thankfully, I’m not that bad off yet. If I ever become a Muzak fan, please just put me out of my misery so I can be beamed out of this existence.

Then this morning, after I fell back to sleep after waking up at 4:00am, I had a dream that I went back to my parents’ former home and place of business in Gloucester, Virginia. Somehow, I had forgotten that they had sold it to Deborah, the lady who worked for my dad for about 20 years before he finally let her take over the business. Before Bill and I went to my old house, I dreamt we were at some kind of pond in Germany. I was standing on the shore, looking for fish. I saw a whole lot of them. One was a giant goldfish– size of a frying pan, which jumped out of the water and bit the air. A German woman standing next to me managed to get a shot of the magnificent leap. I was about to try to do the same, when all of a sudden, an iPad came flying through the air at me. It was somehow magnetized with a powerful force, causing it to stick to me and push me to the ground. I couldn’t get up.

Then, I was at my old house– Deborah’s current house– walking around, noticing how my mom’s needlework shop was full of kids’ bikes, and there was a water slide made of foam rubber cushion installed near the front porch. Just as I was about to try out the slide, I remembered it wasn’t my house. I figured we better leave, but as we were about to leave, a bunch of people showed up, claiming they were Deborah’s friends. They were an odd group– people who would be considered “weird” in many circles. I have no idea if Deborah has any friends who resembled the ones in my dream. There were also cops, and they wore black uniforms instead of the brown ones they wore when I lived in Gloucester. I should also note that Deborah, herself, was not in attendance.

That’s when I woke up for good… and I looked at Facebook on my iPad, and saw a bunch of notifications for comments people made to me last night, after I dared to post to Nancy Pelosi that I had already voted straight blue and wished her husband, Paul, a speedy recovery. Now… on the surface of it, I don’t see why this statement should have attracted rude and angry comments, and inappropriate reactions, from MAGA trolls. I don’t understand, either, why they are hanging out on Nancy Pelosi’s Facebook page, harassing her supporters and well-wishers. Even if I still voted Republican, I would wish Paul Pelosi a speedy recovery from the injuries he received at the hands of David DePape, an unhinged QAnon supporting person who broke into the Pelosis’ home and attacked her 82 year old husband with a hammer. Why wouldn’t I wish him, and his wife, well? That’s called just being a decent human being, don’t you think? He’s not in office himself. He’s just married to a high powered Democrat. No one deserves to be violently attacked, especially in their own home, but I don’t see why I should wish Paul Pelosi ill, simply because his wife is a powerful woman who pushes Democratic policies.

As for my votes, I figure I have every right as an American person over the age of 18 to choose the people I think will do the best for the country. I do not think that Republicans, especially as they are today, will do the best for America. Even if I believed that voting “red” would improve the economy and help people with their bills– and I don’t believe that, by the way– I have seen way too many people with questionable morals and narcissistic personalities running for office. Decent humans who actually care about others and want to do what is best for America are in very short supply in the Republican Party. Sorry… I just can’t align with folks like Lauren Boebert, Ron DeSantis, Marjorie Taylor (Greene), Matt Gaetz, Glenn Youngkin, Kari Lake, Greg Abbott, any Trump family member (besides Mary), or any of the other truly disgusting and hateful people who are stumping for the Republicans right now. I won’t do it, even if it means my stocks will finally go up again. Voting for decent, professional, caring people in leadership matters more to me than money does. I’ve been broke before, too… so I do know how important money is. But if bad people run the country, do you really think they will want me to hang on to money? My answer to that question is “no”.

I simply don’t believe that if the Republicans get all the power, they will make American better, let alone great. They are interested in enriching themselves and staying in power, PERIOD. So, because I have the ability to do so, and a functioning brain, I’m choosing NOT to vote for Republicans… probably ever again, if I’m honest. As a legal, law-abiding, adult American, that is MY call to make, just as it’s your call to vote for Republicans, if you want to do that. Leaving me horrible comments, especially on a Democrat leader’s Facebook page, is NOT going to change my mind. Laughing at me will only cause me to use my block button, because by laughing, you’ve shown that you don’t have any respect for me, anyway. So why would I want to read anything you post or see your profile picture? We have nothing in common.

I don’t make a habit of following social media pages made by Republicans. I don’t sit there and harass Republican voters for leaving supportive messages for their candidates. Frankly, I’ve got better things to do with my time. In fact, as an American, I believe that everyone has the right to vote their conscience. I am also smart enough to know that if I was inclined to try to change people’s political beliefs, I’d likely get further by being nice about it, rather than being insulting. Too bad some of these MAGA trolls aren’t busier making their lives more fulfilling somehow. Maybe they should go to church or something.

I totally agree with Beau on this. The Republican Party is not about helping the people. It’s about money and power, and they WILL come after yours, even if you vote for them.

I was telling Bill about my strange dreams, and he was especially interested in the one about the iPad that was so powerful that it was holding me down to the ground. What a concept! I spend too much time online, and way too much time being irritated by social media. I don’t like all liberal ideas, and would actually rather have the choice to vote for more moderate candidates who have chances to win. But I prefer liberal agendas to the truly distasteful fascism I’ve seen coming from the right wing these days. I’d rather vote for “woke” policies, even if I don’t really like the whole “woke” thing, where women have privacy and bodily autonomy, than align with people who cheer for guns as they try to force women to gestate at all costs. And as they force women to stay pregnant when they don’t want to be, can’t afford to be, or it’s not safe for them to be, they offer no solutions or support to those women, or the babies they will birth. All they do is slut shame. I think access to abortion and healthcare privacy are both very important, so I will always vote for candidates who support that. I care much more about already BORN people. The MAGA trolls can just fuck off.

I am glad to spend another year abroad. This year, on Election Day, I will see James Taylor perform. I have had tickets for his Frankfurt show for awhile now. We were going to see him in February of this year, but COVID numbers were too high then. It looks like the show will still be going on this Tuesday, and we have second row seats. This may be my last time seeing James perform in person, so I look forward to that. It will be a nice diversion from the disasters at home in the United States. Hopefully, my dreams then will be inspired by James Taylor, rather than MAGA morons.

ETA: Sadly, James Taylor had to postpone again. COVID has invaded the band.

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poor judgment, religion, slut shamers, Twitter

Inappropriate stickers leave youth pastor in a sticky situation…

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m very grateful that my parents weren’t really into religion when I was coming of age. Yes, I did go to church when I was growing up, and my parents were/are lifelong Christians, but church wasn’t the center of our lives. Well… except maybe the musical part of it. My mom was a church organist, and my dad was always in the choir. But while I never had a long chat with either of them about this, I get the sense that neither of them were into the musical part of church solely because of their devotion to religion. My dad loved to sing. My mom loves music, too, and she was/is a talented musician. Being able to play the organ was a nice side job for her– another source of her own money, besides running her own business.

Consequently, I grew up in a mainstream Presbyterian church. I won’t say there were never any tears at church, because there were. But that was mainly due to being bullied by my peers, not because I was exposed to some creepy youth pastor or being asked inappropriate questions about my sexuality. On the whole, my parents didn’t force me to attend “youth groups” or engage in activities with youth pastors. Once I was old enough to work, they quit forcing me to go to church at all. I never had to deal with a young, charismatic “man of God” who did things like hand out stickers like the one below:

Ugh… this is so very inappropriate and disgusting.

The Washington Post shared an article about 35 year old Cory Wall, a now former student pastor at Fairview Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist megachurch in Greer, South Carolina. According to the Washington Post, Mr. Wall has “been placed on administrative leave and will not be involved in student leadership while it conducts an investigation.” The church has also put out statements on its website and on Facebook indicating that Wall “acknowledges that he made a poor decision and a mistake by making a sticker available that was offensive to some…” 

Who was supervising this “student pastor”, anyway? Shouldn’t someone have been making sure he didn’t do foolish stuff like this?

Um… “offensive to some”? Really? This is a man who was working with impressionable adolescent girls and felt it was appropriate to hand out stickers mimicking the “I <3 hot moms” social media trend. I think it was offensive to the vast majority. I’d also love to know who made these stickers. What kind of company would manufacture such a product? Obviously, that was a unethical company that values making money over decency. Although– I suppose there could be legal adults who <3 youth pastors, too. Still, what are the odds that the person ordering these stickers is going to be handing them out to soccer moms? I’d say the chance of that happening is pretty close to zero.

I remember what it was like to be 14. That was not an easy year for me. Between hormonal fluctuations, growth spurts, and metamorphosing from child to teenager, I remember a lot of tears during that time. Fourteen year olds need mature, understanding, compassionate, and stable adults leading them. At my most generous, I could describe Mr. Wall as being extremely tone deaf. At the worst, maybe he might be someone akin to Josh Duggar. I hasten to add that I don’t actually know if he is that bad– but it does seem to me that handing out stickers like these to girls makes him appear predatory.

I know some people might conclude that Wall is definitely a “dangerous pervert”. I can’t come to that conclusion simply based on what little I’ve read. I would need to know Wall before I could make a judgment that serious. He might just be very immature and socially delayed. However, given that he was studying for a leadership position in a very large church, and was presumably choosing to work with children, he definitely shows a lack of good judgment and character. He’s clearly not ready to work with the youth.

The article I read in the Washington Post was informative, but the Twitter thread about this was even more telling. Many people were posting about their own experiences in churches with creepy youth pastors. Some were pointing out that church is where children should be the safest. And yet, there’s a lot of evidence pointing to how unsafe churches can be, especially the ones where pastors and other church staff intrude into subjects like sexuality. There are many churches in which church leaders feel perfectly fine about asking young children about their sexual habits and will defend their right to do so. I know there are many churches in which sex, even just masturbation, is considered dirty and sinful, and yet these churches are the ones that often end up in the news because children are victimized by church leaders.

I used to live in South Carolina, and I grew up in Virginia. I have also lived in Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas. I know church is a big deal to a lot of people in the southern states. It’s a huge part of the culture. It seems like some people down there think the more pious and churchgoing a person is, the better their moral character is bound to be. These folks invariably vote Republican, too, which is definitely not among the more “Christlike” of American political parties. They talk about morality and family values, being “decent” and clean cut, and working hard for a living. But then behind closed doors, there’s a lot of dark, creepy, illegal, and abusive behavior toward which many people turn a blind eye because these are supposedly men of God. It’s especially egregious when this is done to defenseless children, many of whom are easily manipulated, threatened, charmed, and victimized– particularly by “cool” adults who, for their own perverse purposes, make them feel admired, appreciated, or loved.

I have no doubt in my mind that if someone hadn’t tweeted about how gross these stickers are, being handed out by a “youth pastor”, it probably wouldn’t have been addressed. Because, as I pointed out above, apparently no one was actually supervising Mr. Wall, the “student pastor”. If he’s a student, he ought to be monitored, right? And then weeded out, if he can’t pass muster… or does really stupid shit like this. Imagine what would happen if a pediatrician gave out “I <3 hot kiddie docs” stickers. Or a teacher gave out “I <3 hot teachers” schwag. Or hey, what about a babysitter passing out “I <3 my hot babysitter” merchandise? It would be deemed completely beyond the pale. And this youth pastor is supposed to be a man of God? Sounds to me like he’s looking to be “worshiped” and “idolized” by young girls who have been conditioned to pray and obey, and have probably been “slut shamed”, to boot. It’s a recipe for abuse.

Some people are saying that Mr. Wall should go to jail for handing out these inappropriate stickers. I am not yet ready to go that far. I mean, if he’s done something besides handing out gross stickers that indicates that he’s really not safe in society, then yes, send him to jail. It could be that he needs counseling, and to be steered away from work with young people, at least at this point in his life. On the other hand, if a person is already 35 years old and they don’t know how yucky this is, I don’t know if there’s much hope to hold out for their reform. Someone probably should, at least, check out what he’s viewing on the Internet. I hope Mr. Wall will consider a new career path.

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healthcare, politicians, politics, sexism, slut shamers

How I feel when a man mansplains avoiding pregnancy…

Sigh… It’s not even 8:00am, and I’m already feeling a bit irritable, mainly because my nose was all clogged last night and I evidently slept with my mouth open. I was parched when I got up, and had a bit of a headache. It’s just another day of COVID… which hasn’t made me very sick, but has definitely been a real pain in the ass to deal with. Adding to my frustrations are the horrors of the world today.

Then I opened Facebook and saw the below post by Amy Klobuchar.

Yes, Amy. This is very important stuff!

The first comment I saw was this:

Codify reproductive rights and that will take care of contraceptives. Those men in black robes need to be shut down. I shouldn’t have to fight for this again at 76 !

Shockingly, she received laugh reactions and a shitty response from another woman, who stupidly wrote this:

So I’m sure you need birth control or an abortion at your age.

Seriously? This clueless bitch doesn’t think that older women might want to engage in the fight to bodily autonomy, just because they aren’t going to be affected by pregnancy or necessarily need birth control anymore? At least one person commented to that effect. But then I saw a comment from a man named Scott:

or you could use your time productively and promote not becoming pregnant in the first place. But that is never a thought is it?

Wow… does Scott have any fucking idea of what he’s writing about? Does he know how many of his fellow men pressure women to have sex with them? Does he realize that a lot of men can’t be bothered to use condoms? Even fewer of them will consider having a vasectomy. I have no issues with men who don’t want vasectomies, by the way. If you’ve read this blog, you know why I feel that way. But I do think that if you’re going to have the nerve to mansplain to women about personal responsibility and pregnancy, you really should walk the walk. Somehow, I doubt Scott does.

A woman addressed Scott with this comment:

do you have any clue how many people choose to have babies and who end up aborting a fetus because of miscarriage, the inviability if the fetus or other pregnancy complications?

Apparently not because anyone who did wouldn’t be thinking about every abortion being a problem. When pregnant women die because of a medical emergency that was preventable I guess that means you’re not as prolife as you think you are.

Scott came back with this ignorant comment:

the life of the mother should always trump the life of the baby.

This is not what most abortions are about though, and you know it.

First off… Scott doesn’t know what other people know, and what they don’t know. Secondly, while the life of the mother *should* always “trump” the life of the developing fetus, the sad fact is, that DOESN’T always happen. Especially right now!

Last night, I read a sad and disturbing news story on NPR about a Texas woman named Elizabeth Weller, who very much wanted her baby girl to be born. But Weller’s waters broke at 18 weeks gestation, which meant the pregnancy wasn’t going to be viable. It was May 2022, a month before Roe v Wade was overturned. Texas still has that shitty law from last year, which pretty much bans all abortions and has had a chilling effect on the treatments physicians are willing to give to pregnant people. This lady went to see her doctor, who told her that she could either terminate the pregnancy, or go into the hospital and try to carry the pregnancy until the 24th week of gestation, when developing fetuses start becoming viable.

Weller and her husband decided that it would be best to terminate the pregnancy, even though they really wanted the baby. They knew that even in the unlikely event that she was able to maintain the pregnancy until the 24th week, the baby would likely be born with serious birth defects. But when Weller’s OB-GYN tried to arrange the procedure, she ran into significant obstacles. Doctors would not help Elizabeth Weller as long as her fetus still had a heartbeat. They told her she’d have to wait for the fetus to die in utero. In other words, she’d have to get really sick and put her health on the line before they would take action. So much for the life of the mother, eh?

This is not the first time I’ve read a story like this. I’ve seen stories like Elizabeth Weller’s from several different states. I’ve also seen many smug, self-righteous, arrogant comments from people like Scott, stating that if a woman’s life was in danger, the doctors would help her. What Scott doesn’t seem to realize is that right now, doctors are afraid of being arrested or sued for giving women abortions, even when an abortion is clearly medically indicated. Elizabeth Weller was forced to go home and wait until she had a high fever and was passing discharge from her vagina that smelled bad enough to make her retch. This is not good medical care, people. It’s torture. It’s cruel and nonsensical to treat women this way. This should not be happening. Moreover, nobody should have to justify or explain why they want or need an abortion! Especially to sanctimonious dickheads like Scott!

Scott continued his mansplaining, though, with this comment:

men have no say in getting you pregnant, only you do.

Seriously, Scott? Where the fuck have you been?! Tell that to the disgusting male RAPIST who impregnated a ten year old CHILD!!!

I wish it was only men who were making these ignorant comments, but there are plenty of old biddies weighing in, too. A woman named Kaye keeps commenting on Klobuchar’s post that abortions are not contraceptives. Duh, Kaye. This post wasn’t about abortion, it’s about making sure that women have access to contraceptives. There are politicians and judges who are considering taking away those rights. That’s what Amy Klobuchar is posting about.

I don’t think people like Scott and Kaye have really considered what taking away reproductive rights will do to our society. I can think of quite a few consequences just off the top of my head. Here’s a list:

  • Health care costs will go up, because women will have to wait until they get very sick to get abortion care. That will mean more needlessly complicated and costlier interventions.
  • Fewer people will want to be OB-GYNs, because they will be too constrained by uninvolved parties in delivering care, and they will have to pay even higher malpractice premiums than they already do. OB-GYNs have among the highest malpractice insurance premiums already.
  • There will be more children with special needs, and more children in the foster care system.
  • There will be more child abuse, because people will be having babies they aren’t prepared to parent, and they won’t necessarily want to give them up for adoption.
  • There will be more poverty, because children are expensive to raise.
  • There will be less privacy, because some folks will feel the need to intervene in other people’s personal business.
  • More men will be accused of rape, and that will mean more of them will go to prison.
  • More women will be accused of “murder”, and that will mean more of them will go to prison.
  • Some women will stop having sex with men voluntarily, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I hope no woman lets Scott have sex with her, given his caveman attitude.
  • There could be an uptick in domestic violence and divorce, as women won’t want to risk getting pregnant. Men will be sexually frustrated, which might cause them to drink more alcohol and engage in violent behaviors. There could be more drunk driving, and we all know what that leads to.
  • There may be an uptick in mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. Some people may even turn to suicide, if a situation seems desperate enough.
  • Women will be less healthy. Some will die.

I’m sure if I felt like it, I could sit here and think of even more consequences to this ridiculous idea that women shouldn’t be allowed to control their own healthcare decisions. Politicians are already talking about trying to restrict potentially pregnant people from leaving their states to access abortion care. It’s absolutely SICKENING that they’re talking about this. I grew up hearing about how lucky I was to be an American, because we’re so “free”. Tell me, what is so “free” about passing laws that punish pregnant people for making decisions about their own bodies? Why in the world should someone like Greg Abbott, current governor of Texas, have any say whatsoever in decisions a woman makes regarding her own reproduction? The United States is turning into a police state, especially for WOMEN!!!!

I, for one, am glad that the 76 year old woman on Amy Klobuchar’s Facebook page is willing to speak up for other women. She’s old enough to remember when women had far fewer rights than we have now. She remembers what it was like to be a woman of childbearing age who had no right to terminate a pregnancy. In those days, people had more privacy, though, because there was no Internet. Nowadays, the Internet can trip up a person, as creepy social media sites collect information about users. Oppressive jerks like Scott want to put women behind bars, simply because they think they should have a say in what another person does with their own body!

I’ve said it before. I’m so tired of thinking and writing about abortion. It’s not something I will have to face. However, this issue is a slippery slope. No, it doesn’t directly affect me anymore, but who’s to say that the next invasion of privacy and intrusion into healthcare practices won’t affect me? Has Scott considered that this issue is just the tip of the iceberg? He’s very naive if he doesn’t realize that the powers-that-be will eventually be coming after freedoms that are important to him. Many of those folks truly believe that they have different rights and privileges than the rest of us have. I am reminded of Martin Niemöller, who wrote a very famous poem about the dangers of looking the other way:

Americans better wake up. The abortion issue is just the beginning, and it’s distracting us from a more sinister situation that is brewing. Niemöller, by the way, wasn’t all that innocent himself. He wasn’t all that interested in fighting Naziism until the Nazi movement threatened him directly.

As I close today’s rant, I want to share this July 25th video by Rachel Maddow, which shows how it’s later than we think. We’ve got idiots like Marjorie Taylor Greene talking about turning the United States into a “Christian Nation”. Listen to Rachel’s talk about former 50s era politician Gerald L.K. Smith, and his “America First” party. Listen to what Mr. Smith said back in the day, and compare it to what Marjorie Taylor Greene is saying now. It’s scary as hell. Mr. Smith was a racist, Nazi sympathizer, and anti Semite, and he wanted to be president. Smith died in 1976, but there are lots of other people just like him who are in politics now. They want to be in charge. Abortion rights and access to contraception are just the beginning of what they want to take away from rank and file citizens.

This is a fascinating look at the past… and the future, if we don’t take action. Listen to the clip she includes about Doug Mastriano, who is the Republican nominee for the governor of Pennsylvania. Scary shit!

So, you see, this issue isn’t just about abortion. And we should all fight against ignorant people like Scott and Kaye, and do our best to defeat people who want to take away our freedoms and rights to privacy. I have seen some very scary ignorance regarding pregnancy and abortion from people like Scott and Kaye. There will be real consequences if we don’t reverse this trend now.

Now to move on to guitar practice, before I have a stroke.

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family, politics, rants, sexism, slut shamers

“Sweater hams” and a new kid in town…

This morning, I was reading an article about a very busty, but tiny, nurse who has gotten a lot of complaints about the way she wears her scrubs. She made a video for Tik Tok, and it went viral. I’m nowhere close to being as tiny as she is, but I’m about her height with huge boobs. I know the pain. I’ve had big “sweater hams” my whole life. I worry about them a lot, since I’m 50 and hate visiting doctors for things like mammograms. I have had back issues, though I’m sure my back pain isn’t anything like hers.

A crappy video about the woman’s Tik Tok.

I could relate to the nurse’s comments about people sexualizing her, telling her that her body shape was a problem for them. They told her she looked “inappropriate”. The top of her scrubs made her look too sexy. Honestly, if you’re really sick, are you going to care what your nurse’s scrubs look like? Short of getting surgery, which this nurse may one day decide to do just to alleviate the back pain, I don’t know what she’s supposed to do. Sizing up might not be a good solution, since the scrubs might not fit the rest of her properly. Maybe she could have them tailored, but that would be expensive and time consuming. Her body is covered. I figure that’s what should matter.

I did have a laugh in the comments on God’s page about this story. One commenter wrote:

I’ve been told by teachers I was “dressed inappropriately” while wearing a sweater… Look it’s not my fault I have big sweater hams. It is however the ADULT TEACHER’S fault that they are looking at a minor with inappropriate thoughts.

Everybody went nuts at the term “sweater hams”. I think I’ve heard that before, but it’s not a very common euphemism for big tits. In any case, I can relate. I have big boobs, too. This time of year, they aren’t much fun to deal with, because it’s hot outside. Naturally, there was a mansplainer, who wrote this:

I want to roast some serious ham. Just because I think the phrase “big sweater hams” is the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard. You don’t have meat. You are not meat. You are a person. Ham is delicious. Women are not meat.

Um… she was just being funny, guy. Read the room. Most everyone thinks the concept of “sweater hams” is hilarious. This is not the time for you to be giving someone a hard time for saying something unconventional. Why do people have to confront others for expressing themselves?

Amy Klobuchar is a very vocal liberal. Conservatives like to hang out on her social media and harass people.

Yesterday, I was reading Amy Klobuchar’s Facebook page, and she posted about Steve Bannon’s guilty verdict in court. It was the end of a long day, and I wrote that I wouldn’t be happy until he was behind bars. And two obvious conservatives, a man and a woman, decided to leave me crappy comments, which I ignored. Why do people do that? Why harass strangers over sharing their opinions? These folks don’t even like Amy Klobuchar’s politics. Do they just want to spread misery and rudeness to strangers? I don’t see the appeal. It would be one thing if it was a news story. This is a liberal politician. They aren’t gonna vote for her. They just want to be assholes to people who support her work. I don’t understand the motivation. That behavior doesn’t change hearts and minds. I won’t be voting for a conservative politician because two random Trumpies confronted me on Facebook.

And finally, I got some news this morning from one of my cousins. My Uncle Ed, a man with whom my last conversation occurred in 2017, and ended on a very bad note, is apparently on his deathbed. He’s 85 years old; and last month, he suffered a bout of pneumonia. Apparently, he’s been struggling the whole time, and is now probably on the verge of death, if he hasn’t already crossed the bar. My cousin, who is a gay man, sent me a DM last night, while I was asleep. He lamented that his brother, who is a colossal Trump supporter, chose that time to argue about politics. It got ugly.

People can get really weird when someone close to them is about to die. I mean, my cousin– the infamous “Timmy”, whom I’ve written about before in this blog (and whose name isn’t actually Timmy)– is not acting strange when he argues about politics. He does that all the time. It’s just that he’s choosing to do it now, when his father is at death’s door. Instead of coming together with his brothers, including the one who wrote to me, Timmy is acting like an asshole. I suspect it’s because it’s his way of coping.

In July 2014, when my dad was dying, one of my sisters similarly acted like a huge asshole. I never confronted her about it. I wanted to at the time, because what she did was extremely inappropriate. My dad was in the hospital and had to be put on a ventilator. My sister, who has a habit of minimizing and discounting other people’s opinions and painful experiences, had (and maybe still has) a chip on her shoulder about the fact that I don’t hang out with my family much anymore. I specifically didn’t hang out with my dad much, because my dad was a source of a lot of pain. He regularly humiliated me, insulted me, and when I was younger, physically struck me. I finally got to a point at which I didn’t want to endure that treatment anymore, so I withdrew. And having sisters diminish that, and basically tell me that it was up to me to swallow more shit, made me want to withdraw from them, too. I’m happier and healthier for it.

Well, as my dad was dying, my sister somehow got the idea that I wouldn’t be coming to see him in the hospital. She kept sending me emotional blackmailing emails. In one email, she sent a picture of my dad in his hospital bed, wearing a huge CPAP mask. I knew this was not a photo my dad would have consented to. I doubted our mom would have approved, either. She had sent it to be manipulative, and to shame me into doing what she felt was “right”.

What really pissed me off, though, was that she absolutely didn’t need to do that. I was going to go see him, even though we were in the middle of trying to move from Texas to Germany. It wasn’t necessary for her to make the situation more painful than it already was. And even if I had decided NOT to go, that would have been my privilege. I am an adult, and I make decisions for myself. I was really tempted to lash out at her, but I decided that would make things worse than they needed to be. So I “thanked” her for the information, and Bill and I went to see my dad for the last time. He died two days later. I remained pretty upset about the photo my sister sent. It was inappropriate, unnecessary, and totally disrespectful. She wonders why I don’t want to go home and spend time with the family? It’s because of shit like THAT! I just want to live my life in peace.

So, when I read my cousin’s comments about his brother’s behavior, it made me think of my sister’s behavior. It’s not uncommon for “Timmy” to behave like a political blowhard. He traded booze for religion and politics, and has turned into an insufferable turd. But I know, deep down, he’s not really like that. I know that he’s a good person, underneath that MAGA facade. I assume most of the jerks I run into online are also, deep down, not terrible people. They say these things because they’re afraid. They think their lives are going to change, and they can’t control it. So they lash out with hate. It’s bad enough when that negativity is directed at a stranger, but it’s heartbreaking when it’s toward a supposed loved one.

Right now, my cousins need each other. They are sharing the experience of losing a parent. They are understandably under stress. I’m sure that arguing politics is one way to stop thinking about the huge loss they are about to endure. I love my uncle very much, even though the last time we communicated, he called me a “liberal nutjob”, and reminded me so much of my dad when he was on one of his worst benders. I know that overall, like my dad, his brother, my uncle is a decent person. But, like so many of us, he’s lost the plot and fallen into the abyss of political and religious bullshit. And it’s taken a huge toll on family relations, which is a real shame.

Which brings me to the “new kid in town” part of this post…

It occurs to me that my Uncle Ed may, if he hasn’t already, be crossing into the great beyond. I imagine my dad, his brothers, Carl and Brownlee, and his sisters, Jeanne, and Susan, his wife, Nancy, and his parents, Pappy and Granny, will all be waiting there to usher him into Heaven. That’s if Heaven exists, of course… and if they all went there. All of them were devout Christians. Ed will be the next “new kid” in town. And as I ponder that, I ponder this awesome album I downloaded by J.D. Souther, who helped write the song made famous by The Eagles. Below is a link for your consideration…

This whole album is gorgeous. I love J.D. Souther’s music. He’s underrated. This particular version of “New Kid in Town” is just sublime.

Well… I don’t know if Uncle Ed is gone yet. I do know that his mother, my Granny, died fifteen years ago yesterday. So if he has passed, it’s kind of an interesting time to go. My love goes out to my family who will miss him. I have many great memories of him, and the fun we had at family events. Before Trump changed him, he was one of my favorite people. I hope he finds much joy and peace as he becomes the newest family member to join the party in Heaven.

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healthcare, law, politicians, politics, slut shamers

Pro life activist makes a dumb comment about ten year old rape victim and abortion recipient…

Mornin’ folks. I’m sad to report that I’m sick again. I have a sore throat, slight hoarseness, cough, and congestion, and I’ve had several near misses with the urge to hurl. Some may recall that I was sick a month ago, too. That time, it appeared to be a garden variety cold. I did two COVID tests and both were very negative. Like, there wasn’t even a hint that I might have the virus. This time, I think my luck might have finally run out, since I read this morning that COVID is now initially presenting with a sore throat, and not with a fever and loss of smell and taste.

I actually feel significantly better now than I did a couple of hours ago. Once I ate breakfast, did some coughing and clearing of my throat, and drank some fluids, the pain in my throat lessened. I still feel kind of icky, but it’s not too bad. I haven’t tested for COVID, because I don’t have any tests at home. Hopefully, this won’t linger. What sucks the most is that right now, there’s a heat wave in Europe. There’s nothing worse than being sick when it’s hot as Hell outside.

Yesterday, I mentioned a satire story that’s been rattling in my head. I told Bill about it, and he was enthusiastic and was adding ideas. Last night, when Bill came home, we brainstormed some more. It was surprisingly fun. Maybe I’ll actually get down to writing it… especially if it turns out I need to be housebound. I think it could be a good story.

Now to get on with today’s topic. I hate to write about abortion again, but I just have to… I happened to see a video yesterday that blew my mind. A few days ago, MSNBC posted the below video to YouTube.

They sure are denying reality, aren’t they? The featured photo is a picture of Eric Swalwell’s visible reaction to Catherine Glenn Foster’s lunacy.

By now, many people have heard about the ten year old Ohio girl who was raped, resulting in a pregnancy. By the time her pregnancy was revealed, she was six weeks and three days beyond conception. Since Ohio currently bans almost all abortions beyond six weeks, the girl could not get the healthcare she needed in her home state. Her doctor called Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an OB-GYN in Indiana, where abortions are currently permitted until the 22nd week of gestation. Dr. Bernard agreed to help the girl. This poor ten year old CHILD had to travel from Ohio to Indiana to get her abortion.

Meanwhile, Republicans were quick to discount and try to debunk the story about the pregnant ten year old rape victim. They dismissed the story as “liberal talking points”. Many people were saying that it couldn’t be true, that a ten year old baby girl got pregnant. Some were even “slut shaming” the girl, saying she needed to keep her legs closed. 😮 Indiana Attorney General, Todd Rokita, went on the offensive, claiming that Dr. Bernard didn’t properly report the abortion, when actually, she did. Dr. Bernard’s lawyer has since sent Mr. Rokita a “cease and desist” letter, threatening litigation to defend against his malicious and defamatory statements regarding the doctor’s work. Rokita may also face disciplinary action for the false and unverified statements he’s made regarding this case.

Ohio’s attorney general, Dave Yost, likewise scoffed at the story and cast doubt on its veracity. Yost said that he had not heard anything about a ten year old rape victim. I guess it doesn’t occur to him that not only do Americans have healthcare privacy, but minors’ and sexual assault victims’ privacy is especially protected, and for good reason. Yost, nevertheless, went on Fox News and said:

“We have regular contact with prosecutors and local police and sheriffs — not a whisper anywhere,”

He continued:

“I know the cops and prosecutors in this state… There’s not one of them that wouldn’t be turning over every rock, looking for this guy and they would have charged him. They wouldn’t leave him loose on the streets … I’m not saying it could not have happened. What I’m saying to you is there is not a damn scintilla of evidence.”

It is true that this ten year old girl was raped at least twice. One of those assaults led to her conceiving with her rapist, a 27 year old man who has since been arrested. It’s absolutely terrible that this crime happened to the girl. We mustn’t forget that this happens to other girls around the world. She’s not the first ten year old to get pregnant. Any ten year old who has sex is a victim of rape. Ten year olds CANNOT consent to having sex. When that news came out, Dave Yost’s only comment was “We rejoice anytime a child rapist is taken off the streets.” He later added, he’s “absolutely delighted that this monster has been taken off the street. If convicted, he should spend the rest of his life in prison.” No apology for casting doubt on the girl’s story, which turns out to be true. No reconsideration of the dumb comments he made regarding this case.

I think a lot of Republicans were jubilant about the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and it never occurred to them that the horrifying repercussions of that disastrous decision would so quickly become apparent. The rape case was reported just three days after Roe v. Wade was overturned, and Ohio’s abortion trigger ban went into effect. I guess I can understand why Republicans thought this was political game playing, since elections are coming up soon, and there’s about to be a desperate fight for power. But, the fact remains that this child was raped, and did get pregnant. Some people, amazingly, think this kid should have been forced to birth, even though pregnancy and childbirth are stressful, painful and traumatic, even for grown women.

Attorney Jim Bopp, who authored model legislation in Indiana in advance of the Supreme Court’s decision, said of the ten year old under his law, “She would have had the baby, and as many women who have had babies as a result of rape, we would hope that she would understand the reason and ultimately the benefit of having the child.” Figures this is an old white guy saying this. Bopp was born in 1948, and is clearly out of touch with reality. Shame on him! Doesn’t he remember what it was like to be a ten year old child?

I suppose all of this crap shouldn’t have surprised me at all, but then I saw the video I posted above. In that video, at about the three minute mark, Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA) questioned a pro-life activist named Catherine Glenn Foster, asking her if she thought a ten year old would “choose to carry”. The activist stammered, hemmed, and hawed, clearly trying to evade making an exception in this case, and not answering “yes or no” to a simple question. Swalwell doubled down, demanding that she simply answer “yes or no”, which she obviously wasn’t willing to do. I was truly flabbergasted when she said:

“I believe it would probably impact her life, and so, therefore, it would fall under any exception and would not be an abortion.”

Swalwell reacted with shock and confusion, saying “Wait. It would not be an abortion if a 10-year-old with her parents made the decision not to have a baby that was the result of a rape?

Amazingly, Catherine Glenn Foster continued with her bizarre rationale, apparently changing the definition of an abortion, saying “If a 10-year-old became pregnant as a result of rape and it was threatening her life, then that’s not an abortion.

Say what?! Of course it’s an abortion, you twit!

Um… excuse me? YOU believe it would PROBABLY impact her life? Wouldn’t that be true of anyone who wanted or needed an abortion? And because YOU believe it would PROBABLY impact her life, it’s NOT an abortion? That is truly mind boggling! I wonder at which point Catherine Glenn Foster would determine that an unintended pregnancy would not impact the “host’s” life in some way? When is it permissible to force someone to stay pregnant? Would she want to force a 14 or 15 year old to give birth? I have actually known some very mature teenagers, some of whom did give birth. I’ve also known some 25 year olds who probably still shouldn’t be allowed to cross the street by themselves!

Obviously, yes, the girl had an abortion. An abortion is a medical procedure, and there really should not be any shame attached to it, especially in a case like this one. But one of the main reasons why I am so staunchly pro-choice is because I think if you’re going to assign personhood to a developing fetus, abortion has to be wrong in all circumstances, to include cases like this one. Obviously, I don’t think ten year olds should be forced to stay pregnant. If I feel that way about a ten year old, how can I not feel that way about everyone? I don’t like situational ethics applied in selective circumstances. Abortion is either always wrong, like murder is, or there are times when it’s acceptable. And how can we determine for another person whether or not their situation merits being allowed to have an abortion? Especially when we make it so very difficult and expensive to raise children? Why is it anyone else’s business?

I guess Catherine Glenn Foster was trying to say that abortion is a dirty thing that only irresponsible and immoral sluts do. Obviously, a ten year old child isn’t an irresponsible slut… at least not yet. So in her mind, yes, it’s permissible to terminate the pregnancy. We just won’t call that an abortion. Except that’s exactly what it was! And why does she think that she, or any other uninvolved party, should have any say whatsoever in a case like this? In his opinion piece about this event, journalist Steve Benen wrote:

In other words, the head of Americans United for Life believes a 10-year-old impregnated by a rapist should be allowed to get an abortion — because under her preferred definition, that abortion wouldn’t really count as an abortion.

If terminating a girl’s unwanted pregnancy isn’t an abortion, what is it? Is there a preferred word that conservatives would like us to use?

Let’s not miss the forest for the trees. Republicans and their allies have created a situation in which raped children will — in at least one instance, has — cross state lines in order to receive medical care. Unable to defend the legal conditions they’re responsible for, many on the right deny the legitimacy of real stories, while others on the right decide to redefine words for the sake of political convenience.

No one should be fooled. Abortions don’t become non-abortions when the impregnated Americans are sympathetic figures.

Right on, Steve Benen.

As long as I’m complaining about this, let me also add that I read an article in the Washington Post about the slim prospects of an increase of adoptable babies if abortion becomes totally outlawed in the United States. In that article, which I have linked and unlocked for the interested, journalist Sydney Trent included some of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s opinion regarding overturning Roe v. Wade. It made my blood run cold.

“… A woman who puts her newborn up for adoption today has little reason to fear that the baby will not find a suitable home,” Alito said, writing for the majority and summarizing the views of many Americans who oppose abortion. In a footnote, he cited a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report juxtaposing the tiny “domestic supply of infants” in 2002 with the nearly 1 million Americans waiting to adopt.

So basically, Republicans are hoping that forcing women to birth will provide a bumper crop of domestically produced babies for people to adopt. Where is it written that people who get pregnant unintentionally must give up their babies to fertility challenged people, or people who choose not to carry their own babies, for whatever reason? This is disgusting. There are over 400,000 children languishing in foster care today. In 2019, only about 15 percent of the children in foster care were adopted, mostly by their relatives. We certainly don’t need more babies for people to adopt. People who wish to adopt a child should take one that has already been born and needs a home NOW! Foster care is no place for kids to come of age.

I’d also like to add that babies aren’t like puppies and kittens, looking to be rehomed. They grow up to be people who will experience the trauma of losing their birth families. Yes, I know that many adoptees have great experiences with the people who adopt them. But that’s not always true. Case in point, Bill’s ex wife. Moreover, even when the experience is good, the adopted child still wonders about their origins. There’s trauma for them, and most likely, for their birth parents– at least the mother. Do people really think that’s not absolutely horrifying for the birth mom, giving up a baby that she bonded with for nine months? Especially since a lot of people will look down on her for making that choice, and/or getting pregnant in the first place.

I think we’re going to see a lot more children being neglected and abused if this situation isn’t fixed soon. There will be a lot more poverty, and more incarcerations. A lot of women will die, as they are forced to be pregnant when it isn’t safe for them, medically or psychologically. That’s not how things should be in a civilized country, like the United States used to be, before this bizarre bastardization of the Republican Party got into power and fucked up everything.

Well… I think I’ve about had my say on this… at least for today. It’s time to close this post and practice guitar for a bit. Hopefully, I’ll feel better soon, and this won’t turn out to be a really bad sickness. Or I won’t hear more ludicrous nonsense from the likes of Catherine Glenn Foster, who is apparently hoping to change the definition of abortion when the person needing to have one is a sympathetic figure, like a ten year old BABY.

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