condescending twatbags, Duggars, rants

Nurie’s new baby, why the WSJ sucks, and disrespectful jerks…

Wow… I have a lot to write about today. I could write several posts, or I could just stick with one. Since I’m feeling kind of lazy, I think I’ll just stick with one post. I see Jetpack’s SEO tester likes my title and gave me the “green light”.

First thing– I know a lot of people find my blog because I occasionally keep up with fundies. My posts about Nurie (Rodrigues) Keller get a lot of hits. I noticed a lot of hits last night, as Nurie’s nutty mom, Jill, announced that Nurie delivered her son, reportedly named Nehemiah, on October 11th. Mother and son appear to be healthy and happy, which is a good thing. Jill also shared many photos and reported that Nurie and her husband, Nathan, will be going live to discuss all of the details of the birth.

Nurie and Nathan and their new arrival in a shot publicly shared by Nurie’s mom, Jill.

Personally, I think if I were a brand new, first-time mom, I’d want to take a few days to rest up and recover before going on camera to talk about birthing. But evidently, Nurie is raring to share her precious bundle of joy with everyone. So if you’re interested in the details, you can tune in on Facebook at 4pm– I assume eastern time– and hear all about it. Or you can just follow the Duggar Family News page and/or group, like I do. If not for them, I probably wouldn’t know anything about the Rodrigues family.

I seem to remember that Nurie was due October 12. Looks like they were very accurate in predicting the lad’s arrival.

I’m glad for Nurie that she has a healthy son. She looks genuinely happy, radiant, and beautiful in the post pregnancy photos I’ve seen. I don’t really follow her family, but I know a lot of people think they’re interesting. I wish health and happiness to the Kellers… and I hope they keep their son away from his Uncle Josh Duggar. But I suspect that won’t be too much of an issue, as Josh’s trial looms next month.

Speaking of the Duggars… I also learned that Jill Duggar Dillard, wife of Derick and former fundie Kool-Aid drinker, just had a miscarriage. I am genuinely sorry to hear about that, especially since I know that she and Derick very responsibly waited before trying for another baby after their son, Sam, was born in 2017 in what was reportedly a medically dramatic fashion. I hope they will soon have a rainbow baby, if that’s what they want.

Very sad news for the Dillards.

As for Anna Duggar, she’s reportedly ready to give birth any day now. As far as I know, her due date hasn’t been publicly announced, but based on the pictures I recently saw of her accompanying Josh to a court proceeding, she looks ready to pop. Hopefully, this baby will be her last… particularly with Josh. But, as they say, God only really knows.

Now… on to the next topic.

A year ago, I decided to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. It was late October 2020, we were locked down, and there were articles I wanted to read. They were offering a good deal, and I don’t mind supporting journalism, even though the WSJ is a bit more right wing than I am. Little did I know when I subscribed, the Wall Street Journal makes it fucking difficult to unsubscribe. Like– it’s SO easy to subscribe to the paper online. No issues whatsoever. But, unless you live in an area with local laws that require businesses to allow people to unsubscribe in the same way they subscribed, you have to fucking CALL the WSJ to get them to turn off your subscription.

Fuck this noise.

I became aware of this issue a couple of weeks ago, when the paper sent me a notice that as of the end of October 2021, the WSJ would start charging me by the month. I didn’t like that option. I prefer to pay for subscriptions by the year, if I can. Also, I noticed that the monthly charge was significantly higher than what I paid when I signed up. I don’t mind paying more for content if I use it, but I almost never read the WSJ. I pay monthly for the New York Times, and it’s pretty expensive. But I use it all the time, can share articles with my friends, and have even shared the subscription with Bill and my mother-in-law. I can’t do any of that with the WSJ.

I was originally going to pay by the year if I could, but even that required me to call the fucking customer service center. The WSJ does have an office in Germany, but that would mean having to deal with language barriers. I don’t even enjoy calling people in the United States. I really hate doing it in Germany, where my terrible German skills are of even less use on the phone.

Then I realized that it doesn’t sit well with me that the WSJ basically forces subscribers to waste time running the gauntlet of long phone queues and high pressure sales tactics by requiring them to speak to a person in order to deal with their subscriptions. If their paper was really worth a damn, they wouldn’t have to resort to these kinds of shady maneuvers to get people to keep paying for their content. I mean, one of the best votes of confidence for a product is when it sells itself. If you have to make it super annoying and inconvenient for people to opt out, that kind of says something about the quality of the product you’re offering.

I’m sure the WSJ offers a good product to people who are right wing and want expert finance news. But I am neither of those things. I occasionally like some of their travel pieces and it’s sometimes fun to read the comments on some articles. Otherwise, I rarely use my subscription, and I don’t like being stuck paying for subscriptions because it’s inconvenient to call and cancel. Although we can easily afford the 10 euros a month, I decided that I don’t want a subscription to a paper that employs annoying and deceptive sales tactics to keep people paying.

I asked Bill if he wouldn’t mind helping me call the German call center, since his German is better than mine is. But then I did some research and found a way to turn off the auto-renew. It involved a little duplicity, but it was ultimately effective. By the way, as I was researching how to unhook myself from the WSJ, I discovered another subscription service that might be useful to some. It’s called DoNotPay, and it bills itself as a “robot lawyer”. If I’d wanted to, I could have subscribed to that service and they would have fixed this WSJ problem for me. The fact that there’s a dedicated page on the DoNotPay Web site for unsubscribing to the WSJ is really telling, isn’t it?

As it turned out, there actually is a really easy way to unsubscribe without having to call. All you have to do is change your billing address to a place where the ability to unsubscribe online is required by law. When you do that, you’ll get the option to unsubscribe online. So that’s what I did. The WSJ really should make this option available to everyone, especially since we’re in the 21st century, and calling people on phones is becoming an obsolete practice. It’s the decent thing to do. But– as this is a paper that caters to Trump supporters– I guess I can understand why wringing money out of people by inconveniencing them is the way they do business. What a pity.

And finally, disrespectful jerks on the Internet…

Apologies to those readers who hate it when I complain about commenters on Facebook. I’m gonna do it again today. I’ll try to be brief.

I genuinely like to read news articles and editorials. I genuinely enjoy reading what other people think of items that are shared on social media. What I don’t like, however, are the disgusting and disrespectful comments left by so many people. It really does irritate me, because I wonder if those people are that obnoxious and rude in person.

Here’s an example of what I mean. This morning, Rachel Maddow shared an opinion piece about why religious exemptions should not be allowed for the COVID-19 vaccine. I thought it was a good article. It made a lot of sense. I understand why some people want to be allowed to opt out of taking the vaccine. Personally, I think doing so for religious reasons is kind of absurd.

There are plenty of things a person can’t do in the name of religion. What if you belong to a religious group that requires human sacrifices as a condition of being a believer? Should society allow such a religious organization to carry out those human sacrifices in the name of their religion? How about if a religion promotes the idea that people shouldn’t wear clothes, since clothes aren’t from God? Should we just allow people to walk around naked in public everywhere, because that’s the way God made them?

Over the past 19 months or so, it’s become very clear that COVID-19 spreads through the air. Everyone has to breathe. A person can be infected with COVID-19 and not know they’re infected. They can spread the virus to people who will die if they get sick with it. It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs are. If you’re a human being, you can spread COVID-19. Vaccines have been proven to help limit the spread and severity of COVID-19. And we’ve seen plenty of “religious” people swearing off the vaccine, only to die of COVID. Seriously, all you have to do is Google.

A lot of the people who are against the vaccine are politicians and religious people, and also conservative talk show hosts… How fitting is it that these people who are using their lungs to spread misinformation and hate are winding up dying as their lungs fail, thanks to a rogue, novel virus that so many of them will admit is very real?

So… on to the disrespectful jerks… I noticed a woman wrote something along the lines of, “There shouldn’t be religious exemptions for anything in the 21st century.”

She got a few “angry” reactions to that comment. But one guy– a southern, Christian, God fearing MAGA zealot, complete with a pretty blonde wife and a love of hunting and fishing– posted “How much did your husband pay when he ordered you?”

I hadn’t yet had more than a couple of sips of my morning coffee at that point. I almost responded in kind to the guy, but instead, I wrote “What a disgusting and disrespectful comment. Shame on you.”

What prompts people to write such personal and insulting comments to total strangers, anyway? It just makes me wonder if this man was ever taught anything good by decent people. Is this how he speaks to people in person? Is that how he got his pretty wife to marry him– by insinuating that she’s a mail order bride?

If you disagree with someone’s opinions, why not just write that and explain why, instead of insulting them and insinuating that they’re a mail order bride? The original commenter, by the way, appears to be a well-educated young mother who lives up north. I didn’t see any reason why anyone should suspect her of being a mail order bride. I think if a person is going to be snarky and rude, they should at least be astute. That MAGA loving zealot didn’t even hit the mark of being insightful about the commenter. I wonder how he’d like it someone insulted his wife in such a way.

Yesterday, USAA posted a meme in support of “National Coming Out Day”. USAA is a bank and insurance company that is well-known for serving military and government employees. It’s also based in Texas and has come out publicly in support of Greg Abbott, the infamously medieval governor of Texas. So lots of commenters were pointing out that it’s tone deaf to be in support of the LGBTQ community, while also supporting a governor who wishes to deny fundamental medical rights to women. Others were annoyed because they think USAA is “virtue signaling”.

I noticed a few people were making anti-abortion statements. One guy made a comment about how some people “enjoy aborting babies”. Once again, I had to interject. I wrote, “No one ‘enjoys aborting babies’. What a crappy thing to write.” I think it would be a very rare individual who took any joy or pleasure in having or performing an abortion. It’s just something that needs to be done in some regrettable situations. Either way, it’s no one else’s fucking business. Especially when so few people who are supposedly pro-life care about supporting the lives of people who have already been born… for example, by getting vaccinated against COVID-19 or not toting their guns to places where people can be easily shot and killed. When the so-called pro-lifers start giving more of a damn about people who are already born and have a concept of life and death, then I might pay more attention to their lame protests about abortion.

Sigh… well, it’s time to end today’s post. I have some research to do. We’re going to attempt to take a trip at the end of the month. Also, I have to put in my guitar practice. So I leave you with my wishes for a happy Tuesday. May you not encounter any disrespectful jerks today.

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politicians, politics, Trump

“Twin bed Jed”… pro-life and pro-gun, and can’t hold a candle to his opponent, the queen…

I had a good laugh this morning as I read an admittedly fluffy news article about state politics in Arkansas. Jed Duggar, aged 21, is running for a Republican seat in the Arkansas House of Representatives. This young man with a cheesy grin and a soul patch, has taken on the Democrat incumbent, Dr. Megan Godfrey, who is 35 years old, a mom, and worked as a schoolteacher before she ran for office.

Jed, who sleeps in a twin bed in the same room as his twin, Jeremiah Duggar, is being slammed for calling Dr. Godfrey a “princess”. Godfrey’s young daughter, obviously astute like her mom, reportedly said “But Mama, you‘re the queen.” Indeed, Megan Godfrey is not only very smart and experienced, but she WAS also homecoming queen at the University of Arkansas. And she had a very witty retort for Twin Bed Jed.

You go, Megan Godfrey! I truly hope she kicks Jed’s ignorant ass.

Jed Duggar, on the other hand, is a graduate of the School of the Dining Room Table and says he wants to “grow jobs”, although he’s never had a job that didn’t involve working for his father. He’s been called out for accepting illegal campaign donations from a guy who lives in Louisiana, and his own dad, our very own Jim Boob, only donated $300 to his campaign, while some of his brothers and brothers in law each donated $500.

Jed never went to college and will never be pregnant, but he thinks he knows what’s best for women and wants to force pregnant women to give birth. He champions denying women the right to have abortions as he encourages people to buy weapons that may put already born people who have an actual concept of life and death at grave risk. Yep, he follows that well-known Republican mantra that the only lives that matter are those of the unborn. As Carlin said of Republicans, “If you’re pre-born, you’re fine. If you’re pre-school, you’re fucked.” Jed is following that observation to a tee. And as a Republican, Jed doesn’t support helping those pregnant women, especially once they’ve given birth.

“I grew up in Springdale all my life”… I don’t think the job is quite done yet, Jed. By the way, his channel has only 44 subscribers! That’s nineteen fewer than I have!

Sadly… the fact that Jed Duggar can’t hold a candle to his political opponent in terms of education, experience, and class is meaningless to a lot of people. He’ll get votes because he’s a young white man who is “pro-life” and “pro-gun”. He’s from a famous fundie family that is on reality TV. He’s somewhat good looking, I guess… the cheesy smile and relation to a notorious sex pest is somewhat of a turn off. But he’ll still get votes.

Many people don’t even care if a political candidate has any real experience. In fact, many people have no idea who or what they are voting for when they hit the booths. At least if you vote absentee, you can look up the candidates before you choose, right? Unless you’re fed up with Republicans and just vote straight blue, like I did. It isn’t the wisest strategy, since there are presumably decent people who are Republicans… but right now, I am super pissed off at the Republican Party for giving us Donald Trump and his ilk and voting blue is the only way I can make my point… besides writing another pointless blog post.

Moving on…

Something kind of funny happened yesterday. Thanks to the sudden rise of COVID-19 cases in Germany, Bill has decided to do his part to help stem the tide by working at home yesterday and today. At around lunchtime, I went down to the dining room and was looking at Facebook. A woman was asking about living in Stuttgart and taking care of the dog she was bringing. Since Bill and I spent six years living near Stuttgart, I responded to her.

I said, “I just advised a woman to…”

And Bill cut in with, “Fuck off?”

I had a good laugh. Obviously, it’s time I cleaned up my language! We’ve been married awhile, too, so he knows me well. But no, this time I didn’t use the f-word. I told the woman she should join Stuttgart Friends, which is a local Facebook group that has a lot of information for newcomers. It didn’t exist when we lived down there the first time (I actually joined Facebook when we lived in Germany the first time), and was the source of much irritation for me when we were in Stuttgart the second time. But it is a good place to learn about moving to Germany, and it’s also a good group to leave once you get the hang of things.

I do enjoy having Bill at home during the day. I’m glad we still get along so well, especially since our anniversary is coming up.

And… in fairness to Bill, I DID just tell one of his ex friends to go fuck himself. So I guess it makes sense that he thought I’d tell some random lady on social media to fuck off. But this time, I swear, I’m innocent!

As for Trump and the presidential debate… I missed it. I wouldn’t have watched it even if I had been in America and not sleeping while it was going on. It doesn’t matter what either of them say because I’ve already voted. If it weren’t so glaringly obvious to me that Trump needs to be ousted, I might have tuned in. But, in my mind, Trump’s time in the White House has been about four years of sheer embarrassment and foolishness, and I truly fear for the future if he wins again. The man is becoming more and more unhinged as the days pass and his followers are becoming more emboldened and entrenched in fascism.

I know not everyone agrees with me, but I think anyone who still supports Trump is some combination of crazy, stupid, and selfish. Sadly… there are many people like that in America who will keep voting for him and his ilk, so I’m steeling myself for what happens in November. But, at least Bill and I will celebrate another anniversary! Hopefully, I won’t tell anyone else to go fuck themselves.

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politicians, stupid people

Once again with feeling– YOU CANNOT RE-IMPLANT AN ECTOPIC PREGNANCY!

Yesterday, as I was waking up on my last day in Poland, I read an article a friend of mine shared about Ohio’s relentless push to end abortion. The article, which came from a site called Insider.com, was based on a news item that was in The Columbus Dispatch. Since I am in Europe, I can’t read the original article without a VPN. Fortunately, I have a VPN, and am now reading the article. I know I have at least one regular reader in Ohio who has commented to me about how frightening the pro-life agenda is in Ohio right now. The article I just read is not very comforting.

House Bill 413 proposes that “a fetus would be legally considered a person, and those performing an abortion could be charged with aggravated murder.” Furthermore, anyone providing an abortion “shall suffer death or be imprisoned for life.” I hasten to add that at least this bill doesn’t subject women who seek abortions to the death penalty, unlike recently proposed legislation in Texas. I guess the lawmakers figure the poor pregnant people are “misguided” and need a firm hand to help them make decisions more in line with their way of thinking.

My first reaction to this? Wow! It seems very strange to want to impose the death penalty on abortion providers when one is arguing for the pro-life movement. After all, every abortion provider was once someone’s unborn fetus, too. Why kill competent healthcare professionals for helping their patients? Why put them in prisons, where their skills will erode and they will cost taxpayers money while potentially enriching shareholders at privately run corrections facilities? It makes no sense to me at all.

I have come to understand that this kind of extreme language is par for the course when it comes to pro-life wingnuts. However, one thing that I cannot wrap my head around is the insistence that ectopic pregnancies can be made viable. In the Columbus Dispatch article dated November 15, 2019, it is stated:

Exceptions for saving the life of the mother are limited — including a requirement to attempt to implant an ectopic pregnancy into the woman’s uterus. Critics say the procedure is not supported by science and puts the woman’s life at even greater risk.

Now… I distinctly remember back in May 2019, writing a post about this very same ludicrous argument that ectopic pregnancies can somehow be salvaged by technology that doesn’t yet exist. At that time, idiot lawmaker John Becker, who apparently has zero knowledge about pregnancy, anatomy, or physiology, proposed House Bill 182, which would prohibit most private insurance coverage for abortion. The bill included language addressing treating ectopic pregnancies (when the fertilized egg attaches outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes). When this was big news, Becker said:

“Part of that treatment would be removing that embryo from the fallopian tube and reinserting it in the uterus so that is defined as not an abortion under this bill,”

Back then, I wrote that no ectopic pregnancy I have ever heard of could be salvaged. Indeed, ectopic pregnancies are true medical emergencies, and they almost always end with the termination of the pregnancy and possibly a significant downgrade in the woman’s fertility, since there is a good chance the affected fallopian tube might also have to be removed. More importantly, there does not currently exist any medical procedure that would allow a physician to “re-implant” an embryo into a woman’s uterus. The technology simply isn’t there yet. If it was there, a lot of women who have ectopic pregnancies would be all for getting the procedure done. Contrary to what the pro-lifers in Ohio seem to believe, most pregnant women look forward to being mothers and don’t plan to terminate their pregnancies. I fail to see why ectopic pregnancies need to be addressed by the pro-life crowd.

As I recall, Becker got a pretty good backlash for his ignorant and tone deaf comments on the ectopic pregnancy issue. I thought maybe his fellow lawmakers would get a clue and at least consult someone in the maternal healthcare field who knows more about pregnancy than they do. But no… they’re still discussing requiring physicians to re-implant non-viable embryos resulting from ectopic pregnancies into the uteri of women who surely have enough trauma to deal with. Under this bill, if the physicians don’t try to save the ectopic pregnancies by using currently non-existent technology, they could wind up facing the death penalty.

All I can do is just shake my head at the sheer cruelty and lunacy of the right wing nutjobs in Ohio who keep pushing this UNCONSTITUTIONAL legislation. They really should be ashamed of themselves, not just for trying to deny reproductive freedom to Ohioans, but for being just plain stupid and ignorant on the topic for which they claim to be so passionate. Ectopic pregnancies are not viable and they have nothing to do with abortion. Pro-lifers need to get a clue and stop pushing this nonsense before more innocent people die. Then, they need to take it a step further and realize that there are situations in which an abortion is the appropriate medical decision and sometimes should be allowed for the health of the mother. And then they need to butt the hell out of other people’s private healthcare decisions.

And… just to bring Donald Trump into this– I just read that he’s been trying to push a rule that would allow healthcare professionals to refuse to treat people on religious grounds. The measure, which would have gone into effect yesterday, was struck down a federal judge who, thank GOD, realized the chilling effect that could have on our already horrendous healthcare system. U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup was the third judge to reject the measure, writing “When a rule is so saturated with error, as here, there is no point in trying to sever the problematic provisions. The whole rule must go.”

Alsup continues, ” [the Trump administration rule] upsets the balance drawn by Congress between protecting conscientious objections versus protecting the uninterrupted effective flow of health care to Americans.” Then he cites a scary hypothetical scenario, quoted below, in which “ambulance drivers” (who really should be referred to as EMTs or paramedics), could legally abandon a pregnant person en route to the hospital needing an emergency abortion. I would assume an ectopic pregnancy would be one of those situations, although I sure would hope that anyone choosing to work as an EMT or paramedic would know better, and understand that without surgery that will effectively terminate the pregnancy, someone with an ectopic pregnancy will likely DIE without medical intervention. Those who are truly pro-life should recognize that the person who is growing the fetus deserves care and protection, too.

“Under the new rule, to preview just one example, an ambulance driver would be free, on religious or moral grounds, to eject a patient en route to a hospital upon learning that the patient needed an emergency abortion,” wrote Alsup. “Such harsh treatment would be blessed by the new rule.”

I really think we’re seeing a lot of these ridiculous, extreme, church sponsored pro-life rules being proposed because we have an incompetent jackass in the White House who will champion and embolden these people into pushing their sick and intrusive agendas. Extreme Christians have gained too much power and are trying to force their religious views on the entire country. I really hope that people will open their eyes and vote against Trump in the next election. He’s destroying lives, and that will, in turn, destroy the country. We need to get him out of power, pronto, and elect someone decent who will restore humanity to our government before it’s too late. Trump admires dictators, disrespects women, non-whites, and the poor, and cozies up to the ignorant simply to win their votes. This anti-woman legislation that punishes women who are pregnant and threatens healthcare providers with the death penalty is a huge step backwards into the Dark Ages. We simply must elect more competent and compassionate people.

For more on Ohio’s House Bill 413 and all the craziness it proposes in its over 700 pages, have a look at this link.

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true crime

The asshole gene…

This morning, I read a sad news story about a transgendered black woman who was found dead in Dallas, Texas. Muhlaysia Booker, aged 23, was shot and killed in Dallas, yesterday. That would have been sad enough. But Booker was also in the news a month ago, since she was attacked in a parking lot at a Dallas shopping center. Cellphone footage of the parking lot attack made national headlines.

The cellphone footage of the attack last month is absolutely horrifying.

Edward Thomas, 29, the man who attacked Ms. Booker last month, was arrested, and it appears that he had nothing to do with Ms. Booker’s murder. As Thomas was beating Ms. Booker last month, other people in the crowd shouted anti-gay slurs and some other men were kicking her before a group of women helped her escape. Ms. Booker suffered a broken wrist and a concussion and had to be hospitalized. What was the motive for the attack besides hate? A lousy $200. Thomas was offered that much to beat the ever loving shit out of a transgendered woman. Thomas was charged with aggravated assault and serious bodily injury.

Muhlaysia Booker, who was no doubt still recovering from last month’s attack, is now dead. She was only 23 years old and, besides being transgendered, was also black. Of course I didn’t know Ms. Booker, but she obviously didn’t have an easy time of it during her short life. Last year, 26 transgendered people were murdered in the United States; most of them, like Ms. Booker, were black. Not including Ms. Booker, three transgendered people have been killed this year. All were black women who were fatally shot.

This story would be sad enough if I hadn’t read the comments that followed the article. But, dopey me, I just couldn’t resist. I read, with much dismay, ignorant, hateful comments, mostly posted by white men. Behold, the comments by just three white guys:

Notice that this person is more concerned with unborn fetuses than someone who had already been born.
Such civility… not.
This guy was rather persistent, and soon made it clear that he’s a Trump fan…
And sadly, people were wasting their time responding.
Something tells me that if someone referred to this dude with a female pronoun, he would be very “butt hurt” about it. He might even cry.

Notice that one of the commenters brought up how “liberals” are upset over a transgendered black woman being murdered in cold blood, but they aren’t angry about the “murder” of unborn babies. Judging by the sheer disrespect and downright hatred these men have shown toward the deceased Ms. Booker, I am not convinced they care about unborn babies, either. It appears to me that they are disenfranchised, cowardly, little boys who feel emboldened by bullies like Donald Trump.

It’s very hard for me to believe that most of these men are actually “pro-life” so much as they just want to control and enslave other people. Most of them are very immature, ignorant, and completely lacking in compassion and empathy. It’s hard for me to imagine a human– or humane– side of these white guys who are commenting here. They seem to have inherited the “asshole gene”. It looks like the “asshole gene” is very prevalent these days, as uniformed twits show up on comment threads and reveal themselves to everyone with the stench of their hateful views.

I don’t know a whole lot about transgendered people. I have never been exposed to them. I did go to a high school that was somewhat recently in the national news, thanks to a transgendered student who wanted to force school officials to let him use the boys’ restroom. But I graduated in 1990, and he graduated many years after that. I read with much dismay, ignorant and hateful comments from people in the community that I called home for almost 20 years. I still have many friends there and consider it my hometown, even though it’s not where I was born. I know there are many good, decent, kind people there, but I also know that many of the people I thought of in that way would silently cheer on these guys with the “asshole gene”, callously commenting on a tragic story shared by The New York Times.

I don’t understand what difference it makes what gender Ms. Booker identified as. She was a human being who felt great pain in her last weeks of life. People were unspeakably cruel to her, simply because of who she was. Someone felt that it was worth $200 to beat her up in a parking lot, while a pack of rabid, hateful, homophobic men stood by and joined in the fray. Many of these people would have supposedly done anything for Ms. Booker when she was still in her mother’s womb, but they don’t give a shit about her now… and continue to spew vile hatred, even after she’s been gunned down in cold blood.

I’m sure if I met any of the three men whose quotes I’ve highlighted today, they’d probably be alright to talk to face to face. They might even convince me that they’re decent people. They’re probably “Christians”, and they wear the cloak of self-righteousness that comes from identifying as “Christian”. They have no problem forcing an eleven year old rape victim to give birth, since all life is “sacred”. But they also have no problem cheering on the death of a transgendered black woman, who no doubt felt every blow as people attacked her in parking lot. She probably felt the gunshot wound, too.

This being said… Edward Thomas, the man who took $200 to beat up Ms. Booker, is himself a black man. I guess that just goes to show that when it comes to hatred for the transgendered, there is no racial harmony. If you are a transgendered person– particularly if you were born with male parts but identify as female– your life will be in danger. If you also happen to be a person of color, your life will be worth nothing to some people. They’ll kill you simply for being yourself.

There are people out there who think the world would be better if it was like it was in the 1950s. I’ll admit, when I look at television shows and movies from that era, it does look like things were more… “whitewashed”, I guess. I can’t fathom how it must have been to be someone who didn’t fit in, back in those days. Maybe it was a “great” time to be a white person. For other people, I don’t think it was the best of times. As a society, Americans were making some strides into accepting people for who they are. But then, Donald Trump arrived, and hateful people have now been emboldened like the rabid vermin they are, coming out of the woodwork to literally stomp on people like Muhlaysia Booker.

See… this is why I remain very much “pro-choice”. The world is not a kind place, especially for those who aren’t like the “norm”. Every time I see some pro-life activist bring up the “millions of babies murdered in utero”, I think about how a good percentage of those babies might not have really been welcome in this world. The truth is, if you don’t fit neatly into the mold, your life will mean absolutely nothing to a lot of people, anyway. And, as you can see from the comments in The New York Times, many of those so called “pro-life” people are only pro-life when it comes to the unborn. After all, the unborn make no demands on or offenses toward anyone but pregnant women.

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Trump

Who is this Menstrual Moderator, anyway?

I got curious about Scott Lloyd, Trump’s former head of the Office of Refugee Reassignment (ORR), so I went Googling after I wrote yesterday’s second blog post about how Lloyd has been barring pregnant migrant teens who were raped from accessing abortions. I discovered that Mr. Lloyd, like me, went to college in Virginia. He graduated from James Madison University, which had been my first choice school. Alas, they rejected me. Their loss.

Lloyd then went on to attend law school at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. In law school, back in the fall of 2004, Mr. Lloyd shared a six page essay he wrote with about 80 of his fellow students. It was for a course called Catholic Social Teaching, which explored religious, ethical, and legal thinking on issues including abortion, health care, and poverty. In the essay, Mr. Lloyd wrote about how, as a young man, he had gotten a woman pregnant and she had opted to have an abortion against his wishes. Although Mr. Lloyd had accompanied his former partner to an abortion clinic and helped pay for the procedure (mostly in one dollar bills), he was clearly very upset by the memory. He wrote:

“The truth about abortion, is that my first child is dead, and no woman, man, Supreme Court, or government—NOBODY—has the right to tell me that she doesn’t belong here.” 

So… because Scott Lloyd had premarital sex with someone he had no plans to marry, and evidently did not choose to use a condom, he thinks he has the right to dictate to every other woman what she should be doing with her uterus. His personal experience with “knocking someone up”, and then his anguish over her decision to choose abortion, has put him on the path to taking away other women’s rights to choose. But not before he became so distraught over his former partner’s choice to have an abortion that he developed a drinking problem that led him to passing out on park benches and elevators and once even got arrested for disorderly intoxication.

I don’t want to diminish Mr. Lloyd’s pain. I do have some empathy for men who want to raise their offspring. Unfortunately, when it comes to pregnancy, there simply isn’t an equal playing field. Until the fetus is fully gestated, it remains a part of the mother’s body. Pregnancy remains a risky situation for some women. It can lead to health problems or even death. Add in the personal costs to having children– the medical bills, potential of lost income, career delays, and everything else that comes with childbearing, which very often falls to the mother, and I can’t agree that the father should have a say in whether or not the mother chooses abortion. I will never agree that it’s a man’s right to force a woman to stay pregnant. The idea of that is completely repugnant to me, almost as much as the idea of abortion is.

That’s right. I am personally– for myself, that is– against abortion. I doubt I would have ever chosen it, and since I’m 46 years old and about to be menopausal, I doubt it will ever be an issue I’ll face. But I can’t say that I absolutely wouldn’t choose it. I don’t think most women plan to have abortions or wish for them. Maybe a few women become jaded when it comes to that procedure, but for most, I’m sure it’s a very difficult decision and traumatic experience. It’s also a very personal choice, especially since the woman who makes it will have to live with her decision for the rest of her life. And while men certainly play a crucial part in creating life, it’s the women’s bodies that make life possible and women are the ones who assume every physical risk during pregnancy.

Mr. Lloyd now lives in beautiful Front Royal, Virginia. I have been to Front Royal. It’s the kind of place where I’d enjoy settling down someday. It’s at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and not far from Washington, DC. In 1993 and 94, I worked at a summer camp not far from Front Royal, which at least in those days, maintained some rural charm. Front Royal has a burgeoning Catholic community, of which Lloyd is very much involved. It’s the location of Christendom College, a Catholic liberal arts college which was recently in the news for mishandling a sexual assault case.

Lloyd attends St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church with his wife and seven children, where the average family includes at least six kids and there hasn’t been a teen pregnancy in fifteen years. Although it’s been a long time since I was last in Front Royal, it sounds kind of like it’s turned into a town much like my mom’s hometown of Buena Vista, Virginia, which has become a LDS mecca since some Mormon investors purchased her alma mater, Southern Seminary Junior College and turned it into Southern Virginia University.

I have never really had a problem with Catholics. I seem to attract them. Hell, before Bill was LDS, he was Catholic and has said if he were to go back to church, he’d probably choose to be Catholic again. However, just as there are extreme Protestants, there are extreme Catholics. The problem with extreme religions of any stripe is that they hijack a person’s common sense and make them believe that they have the right to make laws based on their world views. You see, I don’t think someone like Scott Lloyd has any business whatsoever serving in the federal government. The government in the United States is supposed to be separate from religion and an individual’s religious beliefs. As we can see by Lloyd’s actions as former head of the ORR, those extreme religious beliefs can cause a person to think they are doing the right thing when they rely on those beliefs to act outside of the law.

Scott Lloyd had absolutely NO RIGHT to be tracking the menstrual periods and pregnancies of minor aged migrant girls who are living in shelters run by the ORR. In the United States, women still have the right to access abortions. Mr. Lloyd abused his position as “guardian” of minor aged migrant girls by refusing to allow them to access abortions. Just because they aren’t United States citizens, that does not give him the right to deny them basic civil rights or hold them hostage. Reading about his actions yesterday made me feel nauseous. It’s as if he sees these girls, who were babies themselves not that long ago, as mere “vessels”. They’re just there to incubate the unborn… and then, once those babies are born, they might regain some of their own individual rights. It’s a wonder anyone gets pregnant in the United States these days.

I think now that he’s been exposed, Scott Lloyd should be fired from government service. If he wants to work as an anti-abortion activist, he should either do it on his personal time or get a job in the private sector. Unfortunately, until Trump is evicted from the White House, Lloyd will probably continue his campaign of harassing these young girls who simply need help and understanding as they launch into their lives. Lloyd justifies his actions because some woman he impregnated dared to defy his wishes and claim ownership of her body. For that reason, Lloyd is on a personal crusade, not just to rid the United States of abortion, but also birth control. It’s absolutely insane. In fact, I’d say he needs a therapist. But, according to Mother Jones, Mr. Lloyd has been given a new role, since he so badly fucked up as former head of the ORR (all of those migrant children he cares so deeply about who are now separated from their parents), he’s going to be involved in outreach to religious communities with The Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives.

Well… maybe that job will be a better fit for ol’ Scott. He had no experience working with refugees before he was in his last job, just lots of experience trying to strip women of their reproductive choices. It sounds like Faith and Opportunity Initiatives might be more along the lines of suitability for Lloyd… although really, he should be working in the private sector. Government employees should not be allowed to pursue their personal agendas using taxpayer dollars.

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