celebrities

Pregnant as “all get out”!

No, not me. As many readers might know, I follow the Duggar Family News group on Facebook. That group follows and snarks on the Duggar family, but it also follows a few other “supersized” families. One such brood that they like to watch is the Rodrigues family, headed by weirdorama mom, Jill.

The Rodrigueses have 13 children, all of whom are very skinny. Jill Rodrigues is very prominent on social media. I don’t really follow them at all, except for what I see in the Duggar Family News group. They’re easy to make fun of, mainly because Jill appears to be a bit of a fame whore. She wears tons of makeup, always has her hair styled in an 80s fashion, and has a weird habit of name dropping the Duggars.

Eldest daughter, Nurie, was homeschooled and got married earlier this year. Her husband is Nathan Keller, who is Anna Keller Duggar’s brother. That means that Nurie is Josh Duggar’s sister-in-law.

When Nurie had her nuptials, she wore a second hand wedding gown that it’s said was purchased for her at a thrift shop when she was about 12 or 13. Nurie is now 21 years old and has been married for just over two months. Photos are now circulating in the Duggar Family News group with Nurie holding her belly. Many people are speculating that she might already be pregnant, hence the title of today’s post.

I don’t actually care too much if Nurie’s expecting. She’s over 21 and married, and has probably been having sex. Sex leads to pregnancy, particularly when you’re that young. And she’s a fundie Baptist, so she probably would like to be pregnant. Either way, every time I see a picture of her, I see two big rows of white teeth framed by heavy lipstick. She’s always smiling. Maybe it’s the glow of the Lord. Maybe she’s just happy to be on her own.

I actually think Nurie is quite pretty. I wouldn’t choose to wear as much makeup as she does. And while I don’t know what her mother is actually like, I get the sense that she and her siblings are regularly trotted out for her mother’s purposes.

For some reason, Jill Rodrigues seems very interested in following the Duggars’ example and being famous for having a big, religious family. But one other thing I’ve noticed is that Jill seems to want to auction off her daughters to marriage as they come of age. Usually, this happens when the daughter is about done with homeschool and “graduates” from high school. This is something that others have noticed, too.

Jill will post a picture of one of her kids, usually one of the daughters who is getting close to marriage age. She posts about what a “godly” person the young woman is, or she writes about what a “servant’s heart” she has. The youngster is almost always fully decked out in makeup, dressed up, with big white teeth showing in a cringeworthy smile that looks a bit strained. It has the feel of a livestock auction. Like, I’d want to go up and check out her teeth and feet, looking for soundness or athletic potential. It’s really creepy.

Nurie supposedly decided at age four that she wanted to be a Christian. Maybe I’m overly cynical, but I have a strong suspicion that Nurie had nothing to do with her conversion to religion. But it makes for a nice story for true believers, I guess. People in the Duggar Family News group are speculating that Nurie hasn’t announced her “pregnancy” yet, because they’re waiting to find out if Jill is also pregnant. But it could be that Nurie just has a belly because she’s been eating more and the rest of her body hasn’t yet caught up.

Know who else is pregnant? Kendra Duggar, wife of Joseph Duggar. She is due with her third baby and she’s just 22 years old. And, once again, her mother is pregnant, too. When Kendra was pregnant with her first baby, Garrett, her mom, Christina, (in her late thirties then) was also pregnant with her eighth baby. And now, Christina, aged 41, is apparently preggo again.

I always wanted to have kids. It didn’t work out for me. Now that I see the way the world is going, I’m kind of glad I don’t have to worry about my children trying to navigate things while donning face masks and visors. But I guess if you are a strong believer in religion and you think God is in control of everything, a baby represents hope and perhaps a future voter who will help swing the government in a way that suits your religious views.

Anyway… it’s interesting to see who ends up with whom in these big ass fundie families. Supposedly, Kendra’s sister, Lauren, is courting James Duggar. If they get together, that would mean their children would be “double cousins”. Maybe that isn’t such an odd phenomenon in the world of fundie Christianity. I think I’m just glad I’m not in it. Mainstream Presbyterianism was enough religion for me.

Incidentally, having a prominent beer gut apparently feels much the same as being pregnant…

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true crime

Women in Alabama ought to be up in arms!

Alabama is in the news again for its increasingly misogynistic views and policies regarding females, particularly those of color. In May of this year, Alabama’s female, Republican governor, Kay Ivey, signed an unconstitutional bill into law that outright bans most abortions at all stages of pregnancy.

Meanwhile, the Internet is abuzz today due to the case of 28 year old Marshae Jones, who was five months pregnant with a girl last December when she was shot in the stomach during a fight with another woman. The fetus did not survive the shooting, which would have been sad enough. What really has people alarmed, though, is that Ms. Jones has now been charged with manslaughter and was just released from jail on a $50,000 bond.

How can this be, you ask? Well, police say that Ms. Jones started the fight that got her shot in the stomach. She did not take steps to keep herself out of harm’s way. Because she was pregnant, they conclude that she should have done all she could to protect her unborn fetus. Since she allegedly started the fight that ended with her being shot and her unborn child’s death, police reason that she should be charged with manslaughter.

But I say hold on there, coppers… what about the woman who did the shooting? Ebony Jemison, who was fighting with Ms. Jones in the parking lot of a Dollar General store over the paternity of the unborn child, was initially charged with manslaughter in the death of the fetus. That charge was dismissed after the grand jury failed to indict her. So evidently, Ebony Jemison is now free, even though she shot someone. However, based on reports, she did shoot in self-defense, as she was evidently trying to get away from Jones when she fired her weapon.

Now… having read about this case, I’m pretty dumbfounded. Do I think Marshae Jones was right to get into a violent altercation with another woman over the father of her unborn baby? No, not particularly. Pregnant or not, I think it’s stupid to get into violent fights with other people, particularly if they’re packing heat. However, losing a pregnancy should not be a crime. I’m sure Ms. Jones had no idea she would be shot and her unborn child would be killed. This situation, like others involving pregnant women that have resulted in incarceration, seems to put pregnant women at a different legal status than other people. That’s not fair, and it could set a horrible precedent for other women who might lose a pregnancy that others might deem was due to their negligence.

Complicating matters is the fact that Ms. Jones is a black woman, and I think we know what kind of record Alabama has towards promoting the rights of people of color. This situation is appalling on many levels and reeks a bit of The Handmaid’s Tale to me. Before you know it, pregnant women in Alabama will wind up practically incarcerated by their own accord, trying to avoid being arrested for losing a pregnancy.

The officer who was quoted about this case, Lieutenant Danny Reed of the Pleasant Grove Police Department, had this to say: “When a five-month pregnant woman initiates a fight and attacks another person, I believe some responsibility lies with her as to any injury to her unborn child. That child is dependent on its mother to try to keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical altercations.” There’s something about that statement that totally skeeves me out. He sounds like a legalistic cretin who hates women and wants to control them.

I’m glad to see people are outraged about this and saying “Hell no.” This is a slippery slope we really don’t need to be on. I’m also glad to read that prosecutors may choose not to prosecute Marshae Jones for the death of her unborn daughter. It’s not that I don’t think what Jones did was stupid and the loss of her baby was avoidable. It’s just that this could really cause problems for a lot of other pregnant women. Pregnant and breastfeeding women in the United States are already under a microscope, with people calling the cops on them if they think they’re doing anything to harm their unborn fetuses. I’m reminded of Tasha Adams, the woman in Toad Suck, Arkansas, who was arrested when a waitress called the cops on her for drinking while breastfeeding.

Pregnant women should NEVER be prosecuted for losing a pregnancy, regardless of whether or not it was her fault. That’s is a dangerously slippery slope and it will cause a lot of problems. Where do you stop? Should we prosecute women for smoking, drinking, walking after dark alone, or not wearing a seatbelt while pregnant? Should we prosecute them for getting into car accidents, falling down stairs while wearing high heels, or eating food that makes them sick? You see where I’m going with this? And again, I really doubt Ms. Jones knew Ms. Jemison was going to shoot her.

Incidentally, this case predates Alabama’s new law against abortion, so it has no official bearing on this case. However, the fact that people in Alabama want to force women to be pregnant when they may not want to be is a good indicator of how women are treated there. Makes me glad I don’t live there myself… although they obviously could use some more blue voters.

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complaints

Just pop, already…

Like a lot of people, most of them in Britain, I’ve been waiting for Meghan Markle to have her baby. Well… maybe I’m not waiting with “bated breath” or anything, but I am curious as to what the little tyke will be like. Meghan and Harry, of course, are doing things differently than other royals have done in the past. They’ve decided to keep the details of the birth “private” until they’ve had a chance to celebrate as a family.

I suppose I understand that thinking on one level. I guess even Britain’s royals have the right to some privacy. On the other hand, Meghan and Harry are very public figures. It’s true that Harry didn’t choose to be royal, but they are “working royals”, so that means they kind of have a duty to the people. If they weren’t working royals, people would be less interested in their lives and their offspring. If they want to live private lives, they should probably give up being royal and go live privately on their own pounds. They should name their baby Fred or Judy or something and eat Beanie Weanies for lunch.

Every day on my newsfeed, there’s at least one new story about Meghan Markle and the status of her womb. Thanks to their decision to be secretive, speculation is at an all time high. I think that deciding to birth privately has made people all the more determined to invade their privacy. It seems inescapable to me… and I think maybe they should just get over themselves and stop with this “privacy” nonsense. It’s a pipe dream. I get that Harry doesn’t like the paparazzi. He has every right not to like the media (even if he did marry an actress), but unfortunately, putting up with the press is part and parcel of being royal.

I have to be honest, not that anyone cares, but I’ve found myself not really liking Meghan Markle that much. There’s been a lot of drama this year. The royal family had finally stopped having so many scandals and were acquiring more respectability. Now, there’s all kinds of scuttlebutt coming out about Harry and William, Meghan and Kate, Meghan and the royal staff, Meghan and her father, Meghan and her bodyguards, etc. I find it annoying, although I’m sure other people find it fascinating. Plus, every picture of Meghan shows her with that same smile on her face and her hand floating over her enlarged middle like a satellite.

My Google newsfeed is mostly full of stories about the British Royal Family, mainly because I opted out of anything about Donald Trump or any stories that I have to use a VPN to read. That leaves the British Royal Family and The Duggars, along with assorted articles about such varied subjects as worm infestations in dogs, cruise ships, and whether I should join the Army or the Air Force. Here’s a clue. I won’t be joining any military services. I’m not sure how that got on my feed in the first place.

Anyway, I’m ready for Meghan to pop already. I know she has to do it on her own time, but I’m tired of reading stories about gamblers in Britain betting on her baby’s birthday. I’d rather read about Kate Middleton getting pregnant again. I won’t be surprised if she has another child, even if being pregnant does make her sick. Once Meghan pops, I can turn my attention to Jessa Seewald, who’s also about to pop. These women are popping all over.

On another note, I see CNN has gotten into the fun game, as they’ve provided a Royal Baby Name generator on their site. There was a time when it was considered a serious news source. I guess it’s not anymore. I’d like to write something clever, but I’m distracted by the noise outside my window. They’re doing roadwork that involves jackhammers.

Edited to add: Ask, and ye shall receive.

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movies, Trump

Are we in 1970s era Romania?

This morning, I watched a video by Rachel Maddow about a Trump administrator who has been tracking girls’ pregnancies in an attempt to force them to give birth. Scott Lloyd, the very pro-life former head of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement and author of a paper entitled “Why you can’t be pro-life and pro-contraception”, was featured on Maddow’s piece revealing how, as recently as June 2018, his staff members were tracking the menstrual periods and pregnancies of girls between the ages of 12 and 17 living in shelters run by his office. I could explain what was in the video, but I really think you should watch it yourself. It’s extremely creepy. Or, if you’d rather read an article, here’s an irreverent one by Emily Alford on Jezebel.com. If you have time, you should also read this article about Scott Lloyd’s “work” with migrant families.

So how did we find out about Lloyd’s shenanigans? It’s due to the bravery and determination of a girl who had come to the United States for help. Despite being in a foreign land and not yet of age, she managed to get help from attorneys who sued on her behalf.

Scott Lloyd sought to block a teenaged rape victim from getting an abortion. The 17 year old girl was one of many youngsters who had come to the United States hoping for asylum. She was sent alone to a shelter, run by Lloyd’s office. Lloyd determined that he would make it his priority as head of the Office of Refugee Resettlement that no girls would have access to abortions. The 17 year old had arranged her own transportation at her own expense to and from her doctor’s office, but Lloyd’s staff basically held her hostage at the shelter, trying to force her to stay pregnant long enough so that it would be illegal for her to have an abortion. Somehow, the girl managed to get herself to lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and they sued. The girl got her abortion, but only because she had the gumption to sue for the right, which is currently protected by U.S. law. In the wake of the lawsuit, it came to light that countless other girls, some as young as 12, were being forced to remain pregnant, even after they were raped.

To make things even creepier, staff members at the shelters were providing spreadsheets to Lloyd, detailing very personal information about the girls. He tracked their periods, whether or not they were pregnant and if they had asked for an abortion, how they became pregnant, and how far along they were. Lloyd also directed a staff member to read to one girl what happens during an abortion. He also tried to force them to see medical providers who subscribed to his pro-life views.

As I was listening to Maddow’s show this morning, I was reminded of a different country and a different time period. In the 1960s, Romania had a very liberal policy regarding abortion and birth control. Because many women were in the work force and there was a low standard of living in Romania, abortion and birth control were allowed. In fact, abortion was used as a family planning method there, because there wasn’t much birth control available and what was available was expensive. I wasn’t surprised to read about the abortions used in that manner. It was the same way in Armenia when I was there. I knew one woman who had seven abortions because there was no money for birth control and the men were reluctant to use condoms.

Anyway, in 1968, the Communist Party decided that the birth rate in Romania needed to be higher. They wanted Romania’s population to rise from 23 million people to 30 million. That’s how Decree 770 was created. Nicolae Ceausescu, who led Romania during that time, authorized the decree, which required all women to be monitored by gynecologists every month. Women who had miscarriages had to endure extensive investigations to be certain that the miscarriages weren’t actually abortions. All abortions and contraceptive methods were declared illegal, except for women over age 45 (later reduced to 40 in 1974, then raised to 45 again in 1985), women who had already borne 4 children (later raised to 5), women whose lives would be threatened by pregnancy or childbirth, or women who were rape or incest victims. Actually, it sounds like Ceausescu’s regime may have been more liberal than Lloyd’s policy is!

Decree 770 led to many women having babies they couldn’t afford. The children often ended up in orphanages, not because they were actually orphans, but because their parents couldn’t take care of them. The mortality among pregnant women was at its highest ever during Ceausescu’s regime, when Decree 770 was enforced. The Securitate, Romania’s secret police, kept a close watch on surgeries done in hospitals to enforce this very creepy and intrusive policy. Moreover, many children born during this regime were malnourished and suffered from physical, mental, and emotional handicaps, or were raised in horrifying conditions that led to a rise in child mortality. Many women sought illegal abortions, which were extremely risky for many reasons, legal and medical.

As I sit here listening to Rachel Maddow’s spot on this topic for the second time today, I am once again amazed at how the United States has allowed a monster like Donald Trump to run the country… and appoint disgusting, perverted creeps like Scott Lloyd to run government agencies, particularly when they have absolutely no relevant experience. All Lloyd is good for is pushing Trump’s revolting agenda.

It’s going to take a long time for the United States to recover from this disastrous administration and its attack on anyone who isn’t a white, Republican male. It’s going to take an even longer time for the United States to regain its reputation after electing this ignorant buffoon to office.

If you are interested in watching a fascinating film about abortion in Romania during Decree 770, I highly recommend the movie 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days. It’s in Romanian and set in 1987, when Decree 770 was still law. Although the subject matter isn’t very pleasant, it’s definitely eye-opening… and for me, it’s a little creepy, because the sights and sounds remind me of 90s era Armenia.

If you can stomach the subject matter, this is a pretty fascinating film.

Truly, I think it’s beyond sick that Scott Lloyd, paid by our tax dollars, was tracking the menstrual periods of migrant girls who have come to the United States looking for help. It’s even sicker that he’s doing everything in his power to prevent these young girls from getting help after they’ve been raped and gotten pregnant. It’s absolutely shameful that instead of helping these girls, Scott Lloyd was victimizing them again and invading their privacy in what should be among the most personal aspects of their lives. And even though he’s been censured by the court, he was still obsessively tracking these girls’ periods and pregnancies just months ago. What a sick, sick man.

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