ethics, law, obits, religion

Sarah Weddington’s death brings out the pro-life trolls…

Sarah Weddington has just died. She was 76 years old, and had been in poor health. Nowadays, some people might think that 76 is kind of young for a person to die, but Sarah Weddington had already made history by the time she was 26. She definitely led a full and impressive life, even if pro-lifers don’t think so.

Back in 1971, Sarah Weddington was a recent law school graduate from Texas who was having trouble finding work because she was a woman. That year, having never before tried a case, she and her co-counsel, Linda Coffee, began presenting arguments on what would eventually be a landmark victory that gave American women the right to have an abortion. The two went before the Supreme Court, and on January 22, 1973, the court ruled that a Texas state law banning abortion except to save the life of the mother was unconstitutional. Weddington’s work on Roe v. Wade was groundbreaking, and whether or not pro-life advocates want to admit it, that law has actually saved a lot of lives.

Weddington got involved with Roe v. Wade because she was friends with women who were helping university students and others find doctors who would illegally perform abortions, or directing them to countries were abortions were legal. One of the women involved with this effort asked Ms. Weddington if she knew if they could be held liable, and prosecuted as accomplices. Weddington did not know the answer to that question, but said she would research the matter for free.

That was when she got in touch with Linda Coffee, who was a fellow University of Texas law school graduate, and had more experience in the matter. It was 1969, and Coffee was representing Norma Jean McCorvey, a homeless woman who was seeking an abortion. In December 1969, Coffee wrote Weddington a letter, asking if she’d like to join forces as co-counsel for McCorvey’s case. The two met a couple months later. and the wheels of progress toward women’s reproductive choice in the United States began to turn.

It was in December 13, 1971 that Weddington and Coffee began to plead their case to the highest court in the USA. Weddington was a star who enjoyed the public stage. Linda Coffee, while brilliant, was not as impressive to look at and didn’t enjoy the limelight as much. According to The New York Times, Coffee could come off looking “bedraggled”, and Weddington was younger and prettier. She had blonde hair and blue eyes, which in those days, apparently made her more “optically appealing”. In those days, maybe being “pretty” was considered especially important for women. Come to think of it, sadly, not that much has changed in that regard. But at least in 2021, more of us recognize how wrong and unfair that mindset is.

But Sarah Weddington’s life wasn’t just about Roe v. Wade. She was a person in her own right, a woman who pioneered in a profession that typically favored men. She was a young woman at a time when women were expected to stay home, raise babies, and be help meets to their husbands. She chose to become a lawyer instead, which says something about her intellect, courage, and tenacity. One would think that people might respect her for the person she was, rather than just focus on her impressive landmark work on Roe v. Wade.

Of course I know that expecting people to be decent is probably hoping for too much. Weddington’s death has brought out the pro-lifers, who feel the need to voice their objections to allowing people to choose whether or not they wish to be pregnant and give birth. They love to bring up cardiac activity in a 22 day old embryo as a sign of life that should be respected. And yet, these same people so often have very little regard for people who have already been born, nor do they seem to give two craps about providing access to affordable and high quality healthcare to the people who are gestating those potential lives that are so sacred to them. One man wrote this:

…a fetus is not a baby…but it is a human life. It’s a separate being, with its own unique human DNA. That’s why there is such passion from the pro-life side of this debate…and why the pro-choice side is loathe to concede the humanity of the fetus.

I started to write the below response to the man who brought up the “humanity” of a developing fetus. I looked on his Facebook page. I see that he’s a fireman, and has probably saved a lot of lives. I commend him for doing that work. I do wonder, however, if he’s thought about what happens to the people he saves… I’m sure it feels good to help someone escape a burning building. But once they’re out of the building, then what?

Does he simply vote for “pro-life” candidates, even if they’re all about gun rights and keeping healthcare outrageously expensive? Does he support making birth control more accessible and affordable? Does he vote for paid time off for new parents? Affordable and accessible childcare? Affordable housing? Work policies that make it possible for people to raise their children? But anyway, I did not post the comment below, because I didn’t want to argue with a stranger, and I figured it wouldn’t make a difference, anyway, except to rally the like-minded.

Why don’t you have more regard for the people who have already been born and will be affected by the burden of gestating that potential life? Do you make it a policy to vote for leaders who want to make healthy pregnancies, anti-violence, affordable healthcare access, and family friendly work policies a priority? Or are you just concerned about saving that *potential* human life who has no concept of life or death?  

I don’t think most people who are vehemently pro-life actually care about other people. If they did, they might consider why a person might feel the need to make that decision and why it’s very personal and not any of their business. A person who feels the need to terminate a pregnancy may have very painful and personal reasons for making that decision. Many pro-life people care only about their religious convictions, and they want to impose their beliefs on everyone else.  

More often than not, it seems to me that MEN who are upset about abortion are really just angry that this is a decision that women can make without their input. They don’t think it’s fair. Well, a lot of women don’t think it’s fair when men have their fun in bed, but don’t actually do anything to support that *potential* life they’ve helped create. It’s not their name on the doctor’s bills. It’s not their body that is forever changed and potentially harmed by pregnancy. It’s not their life that is potentially upended.  

Unless you are the type of pro-life person who advocates for real change in US policies that support positive changes all of those babies being born, I’m not too concerned about your opinions regarding “humanity”. It’s sad that 50 years on, we’re still arguing about what should be a fundamental right for all pregnant people.  

According to The New York Times obituary, Sarah Weddington isn’t just a lawyer who argued for women’s rights to choose abortion. She was also herself the recipient of an abortion. In 1968, having recently graduated from law school, after having earned a college degree a couple of years ahead of the usual schedule, Weddington, who was then dating her husband, Ron Weddington, got pregnant. The two went to Mexico, where the former Sarah Ragle had a safe and legal abortion.

When she and Ron came back from Mexico, Sarah realized that she was very fortunate to have been able to get an abortion. Many pregnant people of that time period were not so lucky. Sarah became aware of women who had done terrible things to themselves in an attempt to abort. She wrote in the Texas Monthly in 2003:

I had had an abortion myself, during my last year in law school. I was not as sophisticated as I should have been about preventing pregnancy. I was seriously dating the man I later married, Ron Weddington, but I was determined to finish law school, and I wanted to put Ron through law school. There were a lot of considerations. And so we decided to have an abortion. You couldn’t look in the phone book then, but Ron found a name of an abortion doctor through a friend. We made an appointment and drove to Mexico. I will never forget following a man in a white guayabera shirt down an alley, and Ron and I having no idea where we were headed. I can still remember going under the anesthetic and then waking up later in a hotel room with Ron. Driving back I felt fine; I didn’t have any complications. But it made me appreciate what other women went through, who did not have someone to go with them or did not have the money to pay for a medically safe abortion, as I did.

Later, I heard stories of women who had not been so lucky. Some had beaten their own abdomens or jumped down stairs to try to induce an abortion. Others had eaten mixtures of chemicals and cleaning products. I’ll never forget seeing a photograph of a woman lying on a black-and-white checkered bathroom floor who had died from having an illegal abortion. Doctors told me about women whom they had seen hemorrhaging or in shock or with infections, who had stuffed all kinds of things into their uteruses because they were desperate to have abortions.

Don’t “pro-life” people care about the women who feel so desperate to have abortions that they’re willing to do things like take poison, stab themselves with coat hangers, or go to “butchers” who render them sterile, make them sick with infection, or even kill them? Don’t these people, so passionate about the “sanctity of life” and the “humanity” of developing embryos, give two shits about the situations facing the people whose personal situations don’t lend themselves to being pregnant? And who gets to decide when a person’s life is “threatened” enough that abortion becomes okay? And why should those situations be anyone else’s business?

Sadly, a lot of religious “pro-lifers” think that Sarah Weddington is now burning in Hell. One man commented thusly on Weddington’s obituary:

No, we’re not delighting in her passing. We’re simply stating that she will probably spend eternity with the Prince of Darkness. Even after her evil actions before the court, she could have repented and asked for forgiveness. I highly doubt she did either.

What the fuck?

I think about “Christian” people like Jim Bob Duggar, who recently lost his bid to become an Arkansas State Senator. His time as a reality star offers a treasure trove of proof of what religious people actually think about other people. Mr. Duggar’s wife, Michelle, famously counseled their daughter, Jill, to be “joyfully available” when Jill’s husband wanted sex, even if Jill was “big pregnant” and didn’t feel like having sex. Michelle told us all that being sexually available to her husband is a woman’s lot in life, and that no one else could righteously fulfill that need, other than a man’s wife.

Jim Bob and Michelle now, of course, have a son named Josh who is sitting in jail, awaiting sentencing for getting his sexual “needs” fulfilled illegally. Their son apparently didn’t get the message that his sexual “needs” should only be fulfilled by his wife– not that Anna hasn’t done her share. Jim Bob stated that he thinks rapists should be executed. I wonder if he’d like to start with his son, Josh… who was once a “precious” embryo in Michelle’s womb. Granted, even Josh has “value”, I guess. He is the father of seven, after all, and I’m sure his children deserve all the regard that any born person deserves. Life is about to get even harder for those kids and their mother, though…

I find it curious that Jim Bob Duggar, who is apparently so concerned about the rights of the unborn, thinks that already born people are expendable and should be executed for any reason… and that being truly “pro-life” can co-exist with also being “pro-gun”. Guns are literally devices that are intended to wound or KILL living beings, all of whom I assume were God’s blessings to someone or something.

As disgusted as I am about Michelle Duggar’s comments about being “joyfully available”, I also wonder how many times she felt forced to have sex with Jim Bob, a man with chronic halitosis and poor social graces, because his dick was stirring. And how much attention did Jim Bob pay to Michelle’s menstrual cycles, so he could force her to pop out as many of “God’s blessings” as humanly possible?

Seriously–there are men who are like this. Some of them even work(ed) for the federal government. And a lot of these men– many of whom vote for pro-life Republicans and screech about small governments and their personal liberties– don’t seem to realize that not so long ago, there were some communist countries that were all about forced birthing. And there are some countries where a woman can wind up in prison because she had a miscarriage. That doesn’t sound very “freedom-loving” to me. But even those countries are starting to understand that this is a decision that should be up to the person directly involved with being pregnant, not governments, law enforcement agencies, or MEN who will never have to face being pregnant.

The bottom line is that Sarah Weddington did a huge serve to many women when she took on the fight to allow women to choose. No one is forced to have an abortion in the United States. It’s a CHOICE. And it’s a choice that should be private, involving only the person who is directly involved in the pregnancy.

Whatever the pro-life men think of Sarah Weddington’s marvelously courageous work on allowing women to choose abortion, I think she was a brave and incredible person, and there was so much more to her life than Roe v. Wade, although that was VERY important work. She was a teacher, a traveler, and a brilliant woman who fought for other women. She has no reason to ask forgiveness for the very important work she did.

It’s too bad that some people think she’s gone to Hell, simply because she didn’t have the same views about religion that they do. More often now than ever before, it’s clear to me that a lot of religious people aren’t actually very good people, when it comes down to it. They care more about their “holy book” and religious platitudes than actually helping people. At least Sarah Weddington did not live to see the day when her work was ruined by Donald Trump’s stacked Supreme Court and so-called “freedom loving men” who only care about freedom for wealthy white people with dicks.

May Sarah Weddington rest in eternal peace. I’m sure wherever she is now, it’s better than down here.

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Duggars, lessons learned, musings

So much for “gifts from God”…

This is kind of a weird post. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the meaning of life and all… Using Boob’s picture again, because he looks so sheepish.

Earlier today, I reposted a blog entry from 2012. I originally wrote it on a Sunday morning, when for some reason, I had the Duggar family on my mind. I remembered how Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar would talk about how children are a “gift from God”, and they would always accept however many children God wanted them to have. On the surface, that seems like a nice plan. If you believe in God, and you think God has a plan for your life, maybe it does make sense to let the good Lord above plan your family. How many parents, when questioned by some busybody about the size of their family, can think of which child they wouldn’t have wanted to have?

But then the practical side of thinking jumps in to remind me that while children can be a blessing, they can also change a person’s life irreparably, sometimes for the worse. Raising children is a time and resource heavy commitment. Many times, things turn out beautifully. And sometimes, disaster strikes, such as it as with the families whose children go on to do terrible things. Recently, I watched a 20/20 special starring Sue Klebold, mother of Dylan Klebold, who was one of the school shooters at Columbine High School in 1999. Watching that video really put a human face on the parents of children who somehow go haywire.

I can’t even imagine what this woman has been through…

My own mom used to tell me about how she hadn’t planned for her children. She certainly wasn’t expecting me, when I showed up eight years after my closest sister, nor did she really want to have a fourth child. I used to be kind of hurt by those comments, and being a sensitive, yet talkative type of child, I would often tell others about it. One time, an aunt told my mom what I said, and my mom was embarrassed. She was angry that I had repeated her words, even though I was a child at the time, and it’s really hurtful to hear your mother say she didn’t want a fourth child. I think hearing that comment repeatedly when I was growing up really screwed me up in some ways.

Of course, now my mom is a different person. I think she really enjoys being on her own. These days, when I call her, she’s happy to hear from me. It’s as if those early years no longer exist. I like my mom. I always have. But she’s a lot easier to deal with at this time of our lives than she was when I was younger and needed her. Although she was always a God fearing woman, I don’t think she necessarily saw her children as “gifts from God”. She was never much of a “hands on” type. In my own experience, she basically left me to my own devices, most of the time. On the other hand, I don’t think she’d necessarily want to send any of us back.

So what does this have to do with the Duggars? Jim Bob Duggar is still apparently proud to call his eldest son Josh his own, even though it looks like Josh is on the way to the slammer. I can’t say I’d be surprised if Josh manages to get away with what he’s accused of doing. However, I also think it’s very likely that Josh will soon have a new address outside of society.

As most readers know, Josh Duggar is now on trial for some truly monstrous crimes. He is charged with receiving and possessing child pornography. These accusations have come from the federal government, and follow some truly sickening and troubling revelations from the past about Josh’s sexual proclivities. Personally, I think the accusations against him are probably true, but we’ll see what comes out as the trial progresses. It’s probably a good thing I live in Germany, where the coverage of this case isn’t everywhere. Instead, we’re just talking about COVID-19 mandates and the new government. It may be different without Mutti around.

Do the Duggars still think of Josh as a “precious gift from God”? Do they still think of Jill Duggar Dillard as a gift from God, even though she’s broken out of the toxic fold? It looks like most of Josh’s brothers and sisters are okay people. Or, at least they don’t have terrible issues with abusing women and children. Too many of them are “pro-life” and “pro-gun”, though, and that combination, to me, is kind of confusing. How is it that a person can be so focused on making babies, only to see them senselessly murdered by some gun toting nut or horribly abused by someone like Josh?

I’ve often wished abortion had been an option for my mom. Maybe she would have been happier if I hadn’t been born, even though I think I turned out okay. She did tell me that even if it had been legal the year I was conceived, she wouldn’t have done it. I think she thinks it’s immoral. I would submit that raising a child you don’t really want is also kind of immoral. Maybe she wanted me more than she realized.

I wanted to have a baby when I was a lot younger. Now, I think maybe it was a good thing I never did. I’ve seen a lot of people whose lives were permanently altered by children. Some people hit the jackpot and ended up with wonderful kids who are bright, talented, kind, and loving. And some people ended up with children who have done really terrible things. I guess, at least, we can’t say Josh has ever killed anyone… that we know of, anyway. There are worse men than him in the world.

I do think it’s interesting that in 2012, when I wrote today’s repost, I was thinking that Josie Duggar was the child who would cost the Duggar family the most. She was born very prematurely and had some significant medical issues. I have no idea if the Duggars have medical insurance, but all of the second hand buying, homemade laundry soap, and coupon clipping in the world won’t make a dent in hospital bills.

Now, I think that Josh is going to be the child who is the most expensive. He’s the reason the Duggars lost their lucrative TV show. He’s running up enormous legal bills. He cost four of his sisters their innocence. And he’s cost the family their reputation, although I recognize that the rest of the family– save for the parents– shouldn’t have to pay for Josh’s significant problems.

And I can’t say that I see Josh as a gift from God. I think if I were a Duggar, Josh Duggar would make me question that particular view. But he was their first.. and as I like to say, first children are sometimes turn out like first pancakes, especially when the griddle isn’t hot enough. Maybe Ma and Pa Duggar would have fared better with him if they’d waited longer to warm up the grill. Nah… they waited three years before making the disaster that is Josh Duggar. Who knew that years down the line, he would doom their family to infamy?

Anyway, if Josh goes to prison, Jim Bob still has his rekindled political career to focus on. Maybe he can make his mark on the world by being “pro-life” and “pro-gun” in Arkansas. Too bad he didn’t retire the gun that hangs between his legs.

Edited to add on December 8, 2021

This lady made a video that I think pretty much sums up my point in the post that begat this one. The Duggars weren’t satisfied with what they had. They pushed for more, and the kids suffered for it.

Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar are called to repentance. Dayum.

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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 few of them won’t 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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