Let’s call stupid and bigotry what it really is….

credit: classwarfareexists.com

credit: classwarfareexists.com

 

Point of today – actually two points – we are who we follow and let’s do a better job of calling bullshit when we see it.

“The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” – Pat Robertson

It is obvious I have issues with religion and those who unabashedly profess to be leaders of the masses – many of whom are actually more bigoted, unforgiving, selfish and most everything anti what I was always taught the teachings of the bible are about – one person you won’t see with a WWJD bracelet on is Pat Robertson.  I won’t go into much detail about his first son being born out of wedlock (do what I say, not what I do) or his repeated misogynistic stances regarding women and their place with men (essentially men cheat because their wife doesn’t take care of them as they should) as that would take too much time and space for today.  I happened to be channel surfing and stopped on the 700 Club – not a usual stop but given the SCOTUS decision on DOMA this week, I thought there might be some reaction from Pat.  I was not disappointed as my timing was right on.  He was discussing the issue with Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ, a right-wing, pro-life group that focuses on constitutional and human rights law worldwide (as they define them).  Just for context, Sekulow is also a regular on Fox News.  As expected, the discussion was obviously on the horrible decision made by the court but where did Robertson immediately go? His first question was whether Sekulow had any insight into whether Justice Kennedy had any homosexual law clerks.  He followed it up with a derisive comment on the judge in California who had declared Prop 8 to be unconstitutional, immediately leading the discussion to his understanding that the judge was in fact himself a homosexual.  So no discussion on human rights, equality under the law or anything else other than a view that all these decisions were no doubt just self-serving actions – something I expect that Robertson knows quite a bit about.   What a piece of shit – and well representative of all those who support him and his extravagant lifestyle.  But he is consistent on one level – he pretty much holds both gays and women to the same level of contempt.

“The reason that we fought the [American] Revolution in the 16th century — was to get away from that kind of onerous crown, if you will.” —Rick Perry

I also caught a brief news clip on that illustrious governor of Texas – Rick Perry – another shining example that if you’re from Texas, you don’t have to be very smart to get elected to a high office.  While much of the country was giving high kudos to Sen. Wendy Davis who held up the vote on more limitations on abortion and women’s rights in Texas, Perry was quick to play the “man” hand and pretty much dismissing her accomplishments (not sure Rick could even spell “HARVARD”) and bring it down to some stupid comment on learning from her mothers’ decision not to abort her and therefore reversing her stance on abortion rights.  Key word – “rights”.  Heaven forbid anyone traipse on their religious “rights”.  It was also rather revealing that during Sen. Davis’ filibuster, it was only the men in the room who work to thwart her effort.  Another situation where men work their hardest to control what women do.

So, a quick take away from these two seemingly separate items.  It is really about women and how they decide to deal with all these idiot men.  These people in power only maintain their position if women support them.  Probably a little less influence over Robertson but maybe not quite as much an issue.  At 83 years old, we can only hope he gets to meet his maker before long – and assuming I’m wrong in my lack of belief in God, he gets to explain himself to the big guy.

As far as Rick Perry, one can only hope that the women in Texas begin to understand his concern is not for women and he is willing and able to work against the rights due all women.  In the meantime, I’ll stay thankful none of us live in Texas and the women in my life can still think for themselves.

credit: moveon.org

credit: moveon.org

Another take on the DOMA decision was made this morning on Face the Nation this morning with Bob Sheiffer.  Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council, an American conservative Christian group and lobbying organization shared one of the horrific impacts of the decision.  Let’s put the Family Research Council in some appropriate perspective here – In 2010, the FRC paid $25,000 to congressional lobbyists for what they described as “Res.1064 Ugandan Resolution Pro-homosexual promotion” in a lobbying disclosure report.  The US House of Representatives, in a moment of rationale thought,  passed the resolution condemned the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a bill which, among other things, would have imposed either the death penalty or life imprisonment for sexual relations between persons of the same sex.  Let’s make sure we recognize what kind of christian organization we are talking about here. 

credit: back2stonewall.com

credit: back2stonewall.com

In any case, back to Tony.  He was very concerned of the impact on bakers, photographer and florists who would inevitably lose their religious freedom by being forced to do work with gay couples looking to get married. He in fact indicated that there were already a great number of court cases in play and there were instances where these business people were being forced to sell services to gay couples.  It did take Schieffer a moment to clear the incredulous look off his face as he forced what was essentially a “Really?” out of his mouth.  Tony was firm in his view that when people realize this sort of impact is inevitable, the tide will turn, people will regain their senses and all will be right with the world again.   Can’t say that was an impact that I was really worried about.

Day 3 and Counting

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It’s now been a couple of days since we let Gunther go.  The weight of the loss on my heart isn’t as constant or always so obvious but it remains there waiting for the next moment to raise something that brings back into focus the degree to which our little guy was ingrained in most everything we do.  I still find myself all of a sudden in the midst of a sob or two as I again get hit with “something is missing” and it’s Gunther.  We, as a family, haven’t stopped doing all the things that need to be done since none of us have ever worked that way but I for one feel it is as much of going thru the motions as anything else as I wait for time to help balance the fantastic memories with the pain of a loss that will never ever really go away.  We are doing a lot of talking about Gunther, what he meant to us and how much we loved him.  We are looking at a lot of pictures and I’ve been working on an ever-evolving slide show presentation with music as a means to get every ounce of him in my head possible.  I think it is good that we never really took him for granted and we recognized and knew how lucky we were to have him be part of our family – I just don’t think any of us wanted to acknowledge how much given we knew this day would come.  We have never been a family that is always looking for more as we know what we have is good and that we have been blessed with much more than many get.  That doesn’t change the pain and the heartache we are feeling but it makes it easier to look at the time Gunther gave us and it allows us to begin to heal – however slowly.

GuntherCollage2

Where it is probably most evident of Gunther’s place in our lives is the number of instances or situations where one of us will do something, usually pretty simple and an everyday activity, where you look for that little face or you hear those doggy footsteps working their way to you.  The mornings and evenings are the toughest since I would say that over the past year or so it is those times where we have adjusted the most to Gunther’s needs as his health changed.  I spent a lot of mornings, especially after late nights, grousing at Gunther at the 7am or early rise from sleep but that quickly dissipated as soon as he jumped down off the bed and the tail started that wagging and he gave you that big grin that it was time to start the day.  At night, he let us know he was tired and wanted to go to bed – but not by himself as he needed to be snuggled up tight against one of us.  Annoying on one hand that he “made” us go upstairs to watch TV in our bed but that feeling quickly disappeared when he planted himself against your leg.   This was a dog that needed people touch – and we now realize how much that took us to needing Gunther-touch.

Guntherbutt

Today there was something else that became very evident to me of the change in our house without Gunther.  Yes it is quieter and he wasn’t a noisy dog but he was always where you were and that meant he was always on the move and you could always anticipate that when you moved from one room to another, he would soon follow.  For the first time this morning when my wife was out with a friend, I realized that I was really alone in the house.  Yes, I’ve been by myself with no wife or kids in the house with me but I always knew Gunther was somewhere around, waiting to hear me move or call him, always ready to stop what he was doing to join me in anything and everything.  It was very clear as I ate my cereal today and I managed to somehow have one of the Cheerios pop out of the bowl – nothing surprising to anyone in my family.  The difference was today I didn’t need to see if I could be faster than Gunther to grab it off the floor …and I never really fought that hard to get it before him anyhow.

In the beginning...

A short 13 years ago…

I Lost a Good Friend Today…

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We had our ray of sunshine and spark leave our family today.  Gunther, who has been a full-fledged member of our family for the last 13 years finally reached that point where we had to say goodbye.  No good way to do, no easy way to deal with it.  It sucks, it hurts, we’re all lost – you can’t spin it to make it feel better.  We feel good he is no longer in pain or discomfort and we know we did the right thing…but it still sucks.  I can’t say enough about what he added to our lives other than he was a key part of it from that day my son and I drove 3-4 hours to get him to the very long morning we had today knowing it where the day was going to end up.  I’ve become a weeping idiot, not knowing when in the middle of a sentence I’m going to get hit with it and the waterworks start. I don’t think that is going away any time soon – good thing I work from home.

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Gunther was special to us – I can’t recall anyone who met him that didn’t love him immediately – and he was equally ecstatic to make your acquaintance.  He protected our house from everything you could imagine – from other dogs to deer to snakes and even those evil bunnies (which made us all cringe a bit) but he was doing his job.  He was fearless – 100lbs of dog in an 18lb body (at least for most of his life).  He was a role model of “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog” – but he was gentle with people and he was truly a people dog.  In some ways he was the core of our family – he watched my kids go thru school and college, as they left (and returned) as adults.  He was there with my wife for all those years I worked on the road and he was the first one to always greet me when I got home.  He loved the kennel when we went on vacation – we called it his “trip to the spa” – he would walk into through the door and immediately forget who we were and run to get in the door to the back.  Inevitably, when we picked him up he was hoarse for a couple of days as he was quite the barker with all the other dogs vacationing with him.

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I’m going to miss him quite a bit. While he slowed down quite a bit as a result of several bouts of pancreatitis and age, his spirit never dimmed.  It was in his eyes and in his stance.  I no longer will be greeted with that short Jack Russell tail going 100mph.  We won’t see him frantically and unsuccessfully going from one deck planter to the other trying to get those pesky chipmunks. He’ll never take on another snake, grab it with a quickness that you had to see to believe and then complete a shake or two or three of his head snap it in two and then walk away after again protecting his family.  I’ve lost my driving buddy – I’ll have to go get my afternoon Dunkin Donuts by myself.  I have a feeling my reaction when the Dunkin Donuts people ask where my friend is not going to be a good one.

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But I’m better for Gunther being in my life.  I know this pain and hurt will fade and the memories and stories of the last 13 years of Gunther will slowly begin to help ease the hurt.  He was my friend.

When it hits close to home…

Senator Portman with his own sort of coming out.

Senator Portman with his own sort of coming out.  (Photo credit – MSN.com)

Not to pick on Sen. Portman per se but I find it very insightful that we again have a situation where we have a politician who maintains a political position which might be contrary to what their constituents want to see UNTIL somehow it comes home to roost.  The following (a part of which I have included) was reported on MSN this morning –

“Sen. Rob Portman, who voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, says he has changed his mind on the matter since one of his sons came out as gay in 2011.

 CINCINNATI — Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman is now supporting gay marriage and says his reversal on the issue began when he learned one of his sons is gay.

Ohio’s junior senator disclosed his change of heart in interviews with several Ohio newspapers and CNN. In an op-ed published Friday in The Columbus Dispatch, he said the decision came after a lot of thought.

“I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married,” he wrote.

As a member of the House in 1996, Portman voted in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

Portman said his views on gay marriage began changing in 2011 when his son, Will, then a freshman at Yale University, told his parents that he was gay and that it wasn’t a choice but “part of who he was.” Portman said he and his wife, Jane, were very surprised but also supportive.

He said it prompted him to reconsider gay marriage from a different perspective — that of a father who wants all three of his children to have happy lives with people they love.”

I expect the sentiment shared by Portman as to the different perspective driving his change of heart is not one that will change most of those stone-hearted anti-gay politicians (or any other person of influence in any position of authority) who seem to look through political, religious, etc. lens as they continue to treat many of our citizens as 2nd class people, at best, and lesser human beings, at worse.  I said the same thing after the Sandy Hook travesty that maybe when the anti-gun control lobby people actually have someone in their family killed in a similar manner (or any manner with a gun to be honest) we might be able to manage our issues with guns with a little more common sense     A little sad that it takes a personal event to get someone to take notice and to start to feel a little.  I would suggest that empathy is a quality that goes much too unnoticed as we evaluate and elect our leaders and that maybe it is time people begin to not look at caring and understanding as a weakness and maybe see it for the benefit it brings. But this all requires some thinking and empathy to get there.  And we have a long way to go.

Santorum_StanL

Now the next question is at what point will one of Ricky Santorum’s five sons comes out – and how apoplectic will Ricky become….

Wrapping up 2012

I am never one to lament the completion of another year as I spend relatively little time looking backwards.  To be honest, much to the chagrin of my wife (who is quite the planner), I spend relatively little time looking forward either as I’m usually absorbed in the here and now.   I find there is enough to deal with in the present.  As with most of my years on this earth (and there have now been almost 60 of them), 2012 was a year with some good and some bad – and in some cases pretty horrid.  Luckily, my life and my sphere of influence fell mostly on the side of the good stuff.  I am happy with that but I am disheartened by all the not so good stuff I see around me – again feeling lucky that most all of it has chosen to remain outside of me and my family but never feeling so insulated and safe to not recognize that at any moment it could easily intrude.  That possibility is never that far away and with everything going on in this country at the moment, nothing is a certainty.

While most anyone else probably doesn’t care about the personal side of my life, this is really for me – by seeing it in writing it re-emphasizes the gift I have and how lucky I am to have the people around me who are my immediate family.  It ensures I never take it all for granted.

Let’s talk about the good first.

  • I remain happily married and in love – kind of corny on one hand but having the type of relationship I have with my wife after 32 years is one that happens far too little in our society – I am very fortunate.
  • All four of us in the immediate family are healthy.  Those of us over 55 are feeling our age but that’s it.  There is nothing life threatening we need to deal with and we can do most everything we want – and I am thankful for that.  My joints make much more noise than they ever have but I take this over most of the alternatives.
  • As a family we have remained pretty much unscathed by the economic travesties of the past couple of years.
  • My two kids continue success in their careers and jobs – and they have good jobs.  Not as a result of luck because they have both worked hard and have not waited for things to be handed to them.  And I am (we are) extremely proud to have raised these types of adults.
  • I can also see the fruits of the time and effort we put into parenting over oh so many years (and it never really stops – it just changes).  I believe my kids are contributing members of society.  Perfect with no faults – not at all – they were raised by imperfect but caring parents.  They are thoughtful, intelligent and caring of everything that is around them.  They are not myopic and self-centered which seems to be more the rule than the exception any more.

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On the personal “not so good” side, I actually can’t come up with too much that has happened this past year.  In fact there is only one thing that has been bad that I can really think of.  For anyone who has a family pet, you will understand.  For the rest of you, probably not.   If you look at the photos in my blog header and probably dispersed around other places, you will see a few of Gunther – our Jack Russell who has been a member of our family for the past 13 years.  I’ve had a good number of dogs over my time but there has been none that have been like him.  He is the embodiment of attitude and coolness.  This was a dog that was all id, in your face, spirited beyond belief but loveable and warm through it all.  His health issues began actually almost two years ago but it has been this past year we’ve watched him change the most.  Where he was a friend to any person who walked into our house, he now moves away from everyone other than a couple of us – even those he readily jumped on just a short time ago.  He is often confused and seems disoriented – his cataracts have gotten worse so it’s hard to tell if it is because he can’t see or if it is really the canine dementia the vet has diagnosed.   We are lucky (again) that we have the resources to make sure he gets the treatment and care that he needs.  Not sure if cataract surgery is in the future or if the medicine for the dementia will actually help him but I am hopeful.  I know I’m blessed that this has been the only real downer on my year but that doesn’t take away the pain of watching the changes taking place and knowing what is happening to him – hoping his discomfort is more evident to us than to him.

On a broader note, some of the most recent happenings in our country have been tough to watch and often harder to understand.  I don’t have answers to all the problems as I don’t believe there is any problem that has one or two causes and given the complexity of people and their varied ways of perceiving that around themselves, there will never be a “fix” that everyone sees the same way.  That being said, there is some common sense that might factor into what we do or at least how we approach some of our issues of the day.  Nothing magic or deep on my part or even maybe helpful but given this blog was a way to dump that which is in my head, so be it.

Guns and killing in America  – Good topic top of mind – and one that could use some common sense applied.

  • Let’s start with the premise that I don’t think that anyone really wants to take everyone’s gun away from them.  I could give two hoots about what animals you want to kill – I don’t do it, I don’t really understand it.  I have had guns and I’ve hunted – first time out deer hunting I quickly realized I couldn’t ever shoot a deer – and luckily one never showed up.  I hear the talk of personal freedom, 2nd amendment, it’s an equalizer, etc. etc.  I look around and see the evidence that guns breed more violence and death.  There is no other civilized country with the number of guns we have in the US and there is no other country with a murder rate that comes close to ours.  Not sure that adding more guns to the mix will improve the situation if we are really focused on reducing gun violence.  Banning assault weapons and mega-clips seems to be a logical step forward.  Yes, it won’t get rid of the guns and clips already out there.  But if logic were to prevail, if we are not making more assault weapons then there won’t be more people with them.  Does it fix the problem and make sure that no-one will again use an assault rifle or use a mega-clip to kill a bunch of people?  Not at all but if it keeps someone who doesn’t have one now from getting one and creating another Newtown incident then maybe it makes sense.
  • Armed guards in our schools – unfortunately, the state of our society has already resulted in some surprisingly high number of schools where there are already armed guards protecting something.  I would surmise it might not be a result of protecting against terrorist or crazy person attacks but more for internal school problems but that is neither here nor there.  As has been heavily discussed, Columbine had armed guards.  Will it possibly stop another Newtown?  It might and if I follow the logic I see on an assault weapon ban, if having an armed guard saves lives in one instance, maybe it makes sense.  That being said, having the likes of a Wayne La Pierre walking the halls to protect our children sends chills down my spine.  While I have no doubt there are NRA members with the right skills – both gun and people – to maybe pull it off, sorry, if armed guards is the answer, then we need to talk about some real special people.  The last thing we need is an internal disaster resulting from this “fix”.  Arming school administrators and teachers – sorry – that is another disaster waiting to happen.   Pretty sad this is even a topic we need to discuss.
  • Violence in the movies and in video games – nice, easy target but if we again use common sense, the US isn’t the only country with violent movies and video games.  Take a look at Japan – not without violent movies and definitely not without violent video games – take a look at their murder rate.  Is the amount of violence a problem?  I think there is something wrong here but focusing on this area isn’t going to get the desired results.
  • Taking religion out of schools – Mike Huckabee, a man who never saw a barbecue he didn’t like, was quick to jump to this one.  Not much to say other than “what an asshole”.
Dora has more to her than I would have thought!

Dora has more to her than I would have thought!

 

End of the day, as President Obama has said, because the problem is too complex isn’t a reason not to do something.  If we can save one life, it is a start and an action worth taking.

Looking ahead I expect there is much more to rant about and I expect 2013 will offer plenty of fodder to continue my blog.  Speaking of fodder, how about that Congress?

 

At least there is one thing on which we can all agree!

At least there is one thing on which we can all agree!

Happy New Year to all.    Here’s to a great 2013 for everyone.  A little peace and prosperity for all.

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A Day of Thanks

In light of most of my rants and ravings there is relatively little time where I am not grateful for what which I have been blessed.  While there are many days where I consciously spend brain cycles recognizing how lucky I have been in my life, Thanksgiving provides a better time to share.  Whether read or understood by anyone else, writing these down and having the opportunity to see the words helps solidify and deepen the appreciation I should never lose sight of.

I am thankful for many things – some personal and some a bit broader:

1.  My wife – the most important person in my life.  She is my best friend and she has provided me guidance, advice and support for almost 32 years now – despite me often pushing back or trying to ignore it.  She has got to be one of the most caring and giving people I know and she has been an ongoing balance to much of the imbalance I’ve brought to the party.

2.  My kids – they were a lot of work (as all kids are – if you do it right) but they have both blossomed into great, capable and caring adults.  They are a source of both pride and ongoing discovery for me as they grow, learn and continue their journey thru adulthood and all that goes with it.

3. My life in general – I am extremely blessed for what I have.  Yes, I have worked for it but there are many that work hard and meet greater challenges and have less.  I want for little and don’t really have to think twice for anything I really need that I don’t have.  I am blessed that when the unexpected comes up I don’t have to make the hard choices that many do.  I can take care of my family as needed without much concern other than recognizing that I can’t fix everything. (sorry Erin…).

4.  My health – yes, I’m getting older and there are aches and pains that come with that and I have had to have a few parts fixed so they will continue to work as I get even older.  But I am healthy and my family is healthy.  How does it go – when you have your health… –  a saying that becomes more and more true if you look around and see what many deal with on a day-to-day basis.  Anything I have pales in comparison so my complaints don’t really count for much.

5.  It might sound strange but I am thankful for what lies ahead.  We have planned well and have been pretty balanced in how we have lived life so as I look out towards retirement (not that far away) I don’t feel panic.  We will be okay.  I have a life partner to share it with, we will be far from destitute and we will have time to discover new adventures for ourselves.

6.  I am thankful I have lived during a time where the change in this country has been dramatic.  Growing up and coming of age when things like civil rights and equality for women had their roots, experiencing the impact of the war in Vietnam as well as Woodstock, JFK, RFK, Martin Luther King, Jr.  – it has all been instrumental in helping shape who I am today.  It all helped my form a sense of conscience about we as people and how a society should be.  It helped establish a view that we need to be aware of others and that we, as a society, have an obligation and responsibility to take care of others who need help and support.  Not sure what happened to a lot of my peers but for me it is hard to ignore.  And we had the best music.

7.  I am thankful for this younger generation.  While it is important to realize that my generation reared many of them and that is why much of the attitude and perspective is there, how refreshing to see a generation of young adults who are less bigoted and biased.  There is a core of our society that truly doesn’t see people around them as less deserving or 2nd class because they are black, gay, a different religion, whatever.  It gives me hope (and some solace) that my son will be able to live a normal life and will be able to marry and live without constant discrimination because he is gay.

8.  I am thankful for this last election and the American public that made it clear it isn’t just about the economy and it isn’t just about the present at the expense of the future.   Because enough of us cared about others and not just ourselves, we will have at least four more years of progress in rights for women, rights for our LGBT community, forward progress on our environment and global warming, healthcare rights and reform, maybe some fairness in terms of tax reform, etc.  For those of us on the side that won, it was pretty much goodness and a break from having to worry about what progress we’ve seen being rolled backward.

9.  From a different perspective, I am thankful that the likes of Romney, Ryan, Rove, Trump, Santorum, McConnell – the names can go on and on – were unable to really hide who they really are – which are pretty much self-centered shit heads and assholes – to the extent that it became pretty obvious and helped move the election in the direction it went.  Taking nothing from Obama and the Democratic machine, the other side and their views of a “new” America, was so out of touch it became almost laughable if it hadn’t been so sad.

10.  Lastly, thankful I live in a country where I can say and write all the things I have in this blog and not have to worry I’ll be in jail or shot for it.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Structurally Sound | It’s the randomness that keeps me going.

http://structurallysound.wordpress.com/

I don’t normally re-blog the writings of others but as always there are times where exceptions are called for. As parents of two great kids our feelings of pride are easily elicited. Then there are the times where one of them does something that drives it up even more. My daughter has the gift of words I will never approach but it becomes even more special when she writes of her childhood made more special thru her now adult eyes – and I get even prouder. This is her blog I’m attempting to re-blog made even harder as I attempt it over my cell phone. Thanks for sharing, Erin.

Christie and A bit of Rick Perry

Do as I say, Not as I do…

Now, if he just moved over a bit to the left we could take Mitt entirely out of the picture!

In his speech Tuesday night at the RNC, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spoke to the lack of civility and cooperation in American politics. “We are demanding that our leaders stop tearing each other down, and work together to take action on the big things facing America,” Christie said.  Of course, he immediately began the negative attacks on Obama and almost every other speaker followed suit.  Now, being realistic, we know that is what happens at these conventions – whether they be Republican or Democratic.  It is to be expected.  But there is something here that I see as a good deal of the problem with the Republican leadership today (and over the past three years).  Say one thing and do another.  Talk cooperation and then take a contrarian action.  Speak of embracing diversity and then pushing agendas and legislation that further divides.  Again, not saying it doesn’t happen on both sides of the aisle, it is just not so obvious on the other side.  I’d bet, say $10,000, that the likes of John Boehner and Mitch McConnell can’t  actually put aside their own agenda’s set to make that happen.

Is there some way to give Texas back to Mexico?

The USA – in better times

Texas Gov. Rick Perry released a statement today about the Voter ID court ruling.

“Chalk up another victory for fraud,” he said. “Today, federal judges subverted the will of the people of Texas and undermined our effort to ensure fair and accurate elections. The Obama Administration’s claim that it’s a burden to present a photo ID to vote simply defies common sense.

As my wife so aptly put it this morning as she read this in the paper (and I paraphrase) “he doesn’t get it – if we left it up to the will of the people, blacks would still be sitting in the back of the bus”.
I think we all saw the level of intelligence resident in Perry during his laughable run for the Republican nomination.  I expect the only reason he can run a state is because the state itself  is generally one that seems to be living in a different universe – kind of a world where logic never prevails and priorities are never for the good of the whole – wait a minute – maybe not – sounds a lot like the Republican Party platform.
Let’s take a look at Texas under Perry as Governor (with some help from Wikipedia)-
  • With Perry in the lead, Texas rose from second to first among states with the highest proportion of uninsured residents and had the lowest level of access to prenatal care in the U.S. Perry and the Republican-led state legislature have cut Medicaid spending and made it more difficult to enroll in the program, which now covers one-third of Texas children. The cost of caring for uninsured Texans has been borne by those with insurance, leading to substantial rises in insurance premiums and leading Texas to rank next-to-last among states in terms of affordability of health insurance. The Los Angeles Times wrote that under Perry, “working Texans increasingly have been priced out of private healthcare while the state’s safety net has withered.”
  • In 2010 Perry signed into law a bill requiring that a sonogram be performed prior to every abortion, and that the practitioner discuss the sonogram images with the patient except in limited cases where the patient may waive the explanation.
  • In 2011, Perry had an epiphany and now opposed all abortions, including in cases of rape and incest. He did come back a little and said he would allow an exception for abortions that would save a mother’s life.
  • In February 2007, Perry issued an executive order requiring all girls in Texas receive the HPV vaccine, a positive (in some aspect) step given the vaccine protects against some strains of the human papilloma virus, a contributing factor to some forms of cervical cancer.  Unfortunately, it did not seem that his decision was necessarily based on looking out for the welfare of his citizens.  Shortly after the edict, news outlets reported various apparent financial connections between Perry and the vaccine’s manufacturer, Merck and Merck’s PAC has contributed $28,500 since 2001 to Perry’s campaigns.  What a guy.
  • Perry supported the Texas 2005 ballot proposition which amended the Texas constitution by defining marriage as “only a union between a man and a woman” and prohibiting the state from creating or recognizing “any legal status identical or similar to marriage”.
  • In 2008 in his book On My Honor, Perry offered his view that there was a parallel between homosexuality and alcoholism, writing that he is “no expert on the ‘nature versus nurture’ debate”, but that gays should simply choose abstinence. During the 2012 presidential campaign, he criticized the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell”.
  • During his run for the 2012 Republican nomination for President, the Washington Post reported that Perry’s family leases a hunting camp once called “Niggerhead” (apologies – I even hate to write it).  According to local residents interviewed by the Post, the Perrys had used the camp for years before painting over a large rock with that name on it, which stands at an entrance to the area, and during this time Perry hosted many friends and supporters at the camp.  Perry’s campaign disputed the claims, stating that the Perrys painted over the rock almost immediately after acquiring a lease on the property in 1983.  Of course, being the broad-minded thinker he obviously is.
  • Perry again showed his open-minded when, in a presidential campaign video he stated “there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but your kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas.”

Given this recent proclamation about Voter ID as well as Rick’s long-standing role as a big thinker leading to a better America, I have no other option other to award Rick the latest “Head in the Butt” Award.  Congratulations Rick – you can hang this one on your belt right above the concealed weapon you carry!

We have a 2-for-1 special today as I think it is only right to further recognize the great state of Texas which again shows continued evidence of excess, imbalance of the “haves and have-nots” given the news today of the opening of a new football stadium. Normally not news but this stadium cost a mere $60 million for a Texas High School stadium with free Wi-Fi, and a high-definition video screen.  It is a sunken design and “has a more intimate feeling than the old one” according to some locals.  While it would seem that the old stadium was in need of replacement, given the struggles in meeting educational and student needs across the country (and I would expect equally if not more so in Texas), this outright in your face move by the people of Allen, Texas deserves a bit of attention.  While probably more deserved by the city of Allen, given that this is not the largest stadium in Texas, as I’m feeling a bit magnanimous (being it is Friday and a long weekend), I also want to award the state of Texas their own “Head in the Butt” award.  Maybe they can hang it in one of the many corporate boxes in the new stadium!

I leave today with one more thought – especially given the level of rhetoric we are currently experiencing in our country with the great divides we see.  Our real challenge is focusing on what we are leaving those who follow us.  A little too much hate going around at the moment.  The quote is by Golda Meir and is specific to the Israeli/Arab relationship at the time but I think the sentiment (just take out “with the Arabs”) is one that can be applied universally –

We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us”- Golda Meir

The Award of the Day – Recipient #2

Today I am proud to present the 2nd Award of the Day to a local stand-out.  I have found this individual often demonstrates the depth of bias and intolerance we see on a national level but after reading her latest letter to the Editor in the Pocono Record (this too a local embarrassment), I didn’t have a second thought in deciding she was deserving of special place in what I expect will be an ever-growing list of people who actually deserve little respect or success in life.

Today’s award goes to a local pastor – one who has consistently demonstrated behavior and opinions that are directly aligned with the intent of the “Head in the Butt” award.  Previously bestowed on Rand Paul, Rev. Marilyn D. Smith has risen again to the occasion with her latest letter.  Unfortunately, this one isn’t really much different than most she writes.  Once again, more reason to embrace being an athiest.

Please take a quick read and I have no doubt you will agree with my decision to give her this prestigious honor.

Not only does Rev. Smith show her great love of everyone, one of the primary tenets of Christianity, she has demonstrated quite an ability to take care of her personal life as she has undoubtedly provided her offspring the same love and guidance she likely shows to the minions of idiots who sit in her church every week.  I am always amazed when someone takes information that shows what would seem to be a deficiency in some aspect of life (in this case parenting) and somehow makes it look as if they did something good.  I take this next paragraph from the website of Preaching Women.com, which highlights the life of Rev. Marilyn.

“This woman of God knows what it is to be  praying mother to see the promises of God fulfilled in each and every one of her promised seed.  Pastor Marilyn found herself crying out to God for the lives of her own children.  Today, Pastor Marilyn and Pastor Charles is blessed to have seven children, some of whom have tremendous testimonies of deliverance from drugs and alcohol.  The same anointing of God has fallen upon their children and four grandchildren.”

Way to go Marilyn – nice job adding some quality people to the world!  I have to wonder if being a jerk and a half-wit is also a choice.

Given the percentages, in having seven children, I also wonder which one of them is probably gay.

On Love and Equality

As a family we are used to sharing – whether it be things, thoughts, ideas, information we find interesting or compelling.  It is one way we keep together in thought and feeling – even though there are miles that separate us.  As anyone who has read my postings, one thing that is very important to me and my family are gay rights as my son is gay and we see the challenges, prejudice and hate that he must deal with in today’s world.  I, for one, find it difficult to maturely deal with those so viciously against gays and the rights they deserve as citizens in our country.  My anger can often overtake me – mostly given my relative lack of influence to change others.  At 59 years old, I still find it difficult to understand the processes that work in people so filled with hate and loathing.  I understand at some level given what I see as a shortcoming in these people, an inability to think beyond their immediate self, a stunted ability to empathize, a lack of feeling for anything other than themselves.  I would like to say it is merely a difference in levels of education but that won’t work.  In some sense I guess I’m not much better than most of these people who can look at my son as a second class citizen or, even worse, an abomination because I do look at these people as deficient human beings, people who are not equal to those of us who think and can empathize with others – even if we don’t agree with them.  Unfortunately, I can’t take their rights away – I can only loathe them.  I can only wish they receive back what they put out.  That is what keeps me going at times.

But I digress – back to sharing.  I want to share something sent to me this morning by my daughter.  She sent on a link to a site I would want everyone to visit.  It speaks to one of the more important topics we have in front of us.  It speaks to why any focus on marriage being only between a man and a woman is such a fucked up concept.  Again, after watching the video, I can’t fathom how anyone can’t be moved or can’t see the problem with denying rights of people in a gay relationship.  I will say as I watched the video and listened and watched two people obviously in love, I couldn’t help feel their pain and frustration.  For those who would watch and not see the problem we have as a society at the moment, I remain confused as I can’t imagine their thought or emotional processes.   I can only see that most of the anti-gay rights people are dead inside in some way or another.  I also think that many of them are plain and simple assholes but I think that about alot of people.

In any case, please take a look and pass it on to others as you may.  Thanks to my daughter for sharing –