Category Archives: soapbox

A Week in Trump USA Part 1…

My high school choir Director, a brilliant artist and loving man, posted this on his Facebook page yesterday:

“Those who study authoritarian regimes suggest keeping a list of abnormal events after a demagogue is elected, as a way to remind yourself that this isn’t normal and to keep from being overwhelmed into acceptance by the onslaught of attacks on our rights.
Here is a list below. We are 4 days in. As one author says, “when you see all of this in one list, it is easy to get overwhelmed, at first– it is also easy to see a pattern and to finally, finally recognize that none of this is normal, nor is it ok.”

  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs.
  •  On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Economic Development Administration.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the International Trade Administration.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ.
    * On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
  • On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.
  • On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.
  • On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.
  • On January 20th, 2017, roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics.
  • On January 20th, 2017, a member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.
  • On January 21st, 2017, DT brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press.
  • On January 21st, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period.”
  • On January 22nd, 2017, White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.
  • On January 22nd, 2017, DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.
  • On January 23rd, 2017, DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.
  • On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.
  • On January 23rd, 2017, DT repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.
  • On January 23rd, 2017, it was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.
  • On January 24th, 2017, Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.
  • On January 24th, 2017, DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is of the 2009 inauguration of 44th President Barack Obama, and is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.
  • On January 24th, 2017, the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.
  • On January 24th, 2017, the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.
  • On January 24th, 2017, HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.
  • On January 24th, 2017, Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee Tom Price characterized federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”
  • On January 24th, 2017, DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.
  • On January 24th, 2017, it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.”

Thank you to Mr. Taylor for the information.

In further news, after various government agencies were asked to stop reporting scientific information about the environment numerous alternative twitter feeds for these agencies popped up. I never imagined the National Parks Service would lead the revolution but ladies and gentlemen it certainly has. Follow these alternative feeds for publications about science that the Trump administration cannot stem:

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Finally, are you looking for something to do to improve your mind? How about a little light reading courtesy of the Freedom of Information Act? Take a gander on over to the FOIA.Gov site and read through how to make a FOIA request. Since the Trump Administration has put a gag order into place I suggest we help these agencies out.

FOIA requests can cost some research time and reprinting costs however, you may request a waiver of fees. “Under the FOIA, fee waivers are limited to situations in which a requester can show that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.”

I would argue that requesting the release of scientific information gathered by our government on the status of our environmental health during a time when the Executive branch has restricted the release of any information falls quite clearing under the requirements for fee waivers.

 

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Racism

Time for a soapbox moment.

Racism is still rife in our culture, and our politicians are showing our nation’s true colors more clearly than they have in years.

The Racial Politics of Speaking Well, by Lynette Clemetson, explains the insidious and pervasive racism that still permeates our culture as it relates to our country’s tendency to condescend and patronize successful African Americans. The article discusses Senator Joseph Biden’s use of the word “articulate” to describe Barack Obama.

Okay, his whole description was something more befitting a classical movie racist turned liberal, rather than a democratic presidential contender, the description being: “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy”.

Hmmmm…. well who wouldn’t be flattered by such uh… glowing … praise?

“Hello, I am your fellow contender for the presidency, I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard Law School in 1991, was President of the Harvard Law Review, am a US Senator for Illinois, lectured at the University of Chicago, oh, and I’m black.”

“Well I am surprised! You are so clean, so nice looking, and you can TALK!!”

Sigh. Back to the focus of the article.

Why would a black man disdain being called articulate? Well, let’s begin with the definition of the word.

articulate adjective |ärˈtikyəlit| 1 (of a person or a person’s words) having or showing the ability to speak fluently and coherently : an articulate account of their experiences.

Okay, so the fellow democratic contender for the presidency finds Barack Obama to be capable of fluent and coherent speech.

In my opinion, Senator Biden is either a condescending ass-hat, or is inarticulate. (The irony!) If he intended to actually compliment his fellow presidential contender, he should have had the foresight to first open a dictionary. The following words are within the dictionary, and would be far more apt compliments to a good public speaker:

1. orator |ˈôrətər; ˈär-| noun a public speaker, esp. one who is eloquent or skilled.
2. rhetorician |ˌretəˈri sh ən| noun an expert in formal rhetoric. • a speaker whose words are primarily intended to impress or persuade.

Then Biden should have decided whether or not he really wanted to impugn years of African American history by calling Obama the first clean articulate black speaker. I do realize that our nation’s text books pay scant attention to non white contributors, but even so, the last time I opened a history book, there were many more Black Leaders with the ability to shower and capacity for speech.

The article is eloquent in expressing a problem faced by any non white male in our culture. Our culture, legally, legislatively, politically, and more, places white men as the norm. Therefore we compare all other people in our culture, consciously or unconsciously, to white men. Therefore white men are stereotyped as articulate, well dressed, presentable men. Black men are not stereotyped that way. When Senator Biden said Barack Obama was articulate, he meant, for a black guy.

Whew. That is offensive. I don’t know about you, but I have heard some black people who spoke with words powerful enough to bring down thunderous applause, who can craft speeches that are still taught and remembered today, whose words carried the power to lift your heart and mind to heaven and beyond. When Al Sharpton was speaking in the last presidential race, he brought me to tears, something none of the white speakers were able to do. (Especially not Bush.)

Barack Obama is not articulate. He is a masterful oratorical speaker. Joseph Biden is clearly neither articulate, nor is he a good orator. His remarks concerning Obama were condescending and eye opening. This culture is deeply wrong to still be surprised at a black man’s ability to express himself, and our denial of pervasive racism in this country is beyond naive.

I for one am embarrassed that Senator Biden should purport to speak for me.

PETA

How PETA engages in the objectification of women to advance it’s pro-animal goals…

My professor sent me this link yesterday, PETA’s State of the Union (Un)dress. It was interesting to watch, but more interesting to think about the goals of that organization and how they apparrently differ from the goals of many women. The clip is a woman giving a speech about PETA’s goals, while undressing in front of an American Flag while clips of clapping congressmen are spliced in.

There were several points Jay and I emailed over, the most disturbing being that he had sent this link to many men he knows and they were unable to tell him what the woman said while she was stripping, nor did any of them watch anything in the video after the stripping. Even my husband was hard pressed to remember anything beyond a few sentences. So why have a naked woman deliver your message if the only thing men will remember from the experience is the naked woman?

How does this help the plight of animals? There is unlikely to be an increase of PETA members who are interested in assisting in changing the treatment of animals now that they have seen a naked woman talk about it, if none of the target audience can remember what in the heck she was talking about while she removed her business suit.

Further, this message is another in a long line of advertisements that supports objectifying women. WHO CARES if it’s for a good cause?? Should we smile and nod and say, okay, you can use women’s bodies to sell sex if the profits of said sales are going to “Save the Children” or NARAL?

The very fact that the men who watched this video said they never paid attention to the actual message indicates how poorly physical objectification helps causes. The only thing PETA has managed to do with this message is put another naked female body on the internet.

It would be nice if they could find another way to get our attention.

Another soapbox moment…

It’s time for another foray into the sphere of politics….

BOYCOTT DELTA AND FREEDOM AIRLINES!!

Do not fly Delta Airlines or Freedom Airlines

A woman flying out of Vermont on Freedom Airlines (part of a Delta flight) was kicked off a plane for breastfeeding her 22 month old child, discreetly, in the window seat, with her husband and child in the two seats between her and the aisle. She was not exposing her breast. An airline attendant saw her breastfeeding, offered her a blanket, and when she refused, had a ticket attendant remove her and her family from the flight.
This occurred when Vermont has a law permitting breastfeeding in public. In fact, most, if not all states, have laws permitting women to breastfeed anywhere they have a right to be.

In a culture where we have built an empire around the female breast, why are we afraid of it’s natural functions? We can view naked women with their hands over their breasts, in the grocery stores checkout lines, but we can’t support feeding babies in public? We have female nudity in almost every film above PG-13, we can see it on primetime television, but we freak out if a baby is eating his or her lunch. Come on people!! Grow the hell up! An ungodly number of buildings and statutes are penile in nature, phallic symbols abound in this country. Entire livelihoods are earned by exposing the breast, photographing or filming it. Women are encouraged to wear as little clothing as possible, all the time. Sex is everywhere!! Why in the name of everything innocent and pure is it shocking to feed an infant?

Support breastfeeding. Write letters to Delta, tell them you will not give them your money if they continue to eject breastfeeding moms from their planes. She had a legal right to feed her baby on the plane, she was allowed by law to do so. The federal government supports breastfeeding, they have allocated millions to educate women and men as to the health benefits of doing so. However, in order to achieve these health benefits, women have to be able to feed their children! Babies do not only get hungry in the privacy of their own home.

BOYCOTT PHARMACIES REFUSING TO STOCK PLAN B!!

Next political rant….

Plan B was recently approved by the FDA for over the counter sale to women over the age of 18. It took three years of political battle to get this to happen. Now, of course, many pharmaceutical chains are refusing to stock this contraceptive. Tell them that you will not support them, if they will not support women.

You can send a letter from the NARAL website . I suggest you alter the message to better reflect your beliefs. Here is my letter:

“The FDA has approved the emergency contraceptive Plan B, for over the counter sales to women over the age of 18. I am dismayed to hear there are few pharmacy with plans to stock this medication.

I am a lawyer, a blogger, a member of multiple organizations with thousands of members. These members are bloggers, and members of other organizations. We talk. We tell each other when pharmacies and companies support women, and when they don’t. Most importantly, we shop accordingly. You want our money? You have to consider our interests.

I will not spend a single dime at pharmacies that choose to deny Plan B and Birth Control to women. I will tell others not to spend their money at these pharmacies. We will take our money elsewhere.”

We have to support each other if we are going to affect change. Use your voices, use your computers, use you wallet. Tell people you will only support people who support you.

Oddly, Walmart is the only chain so far who will stock the drug. It is one of the first things they have done that I can support. Tell Wal-Mart you approve of this action, even if they have committed other actions you do not approve of. (I am still not likely to shop there, but they are trying to change, and I would like to see them continue.)

Thank you for allowing some political posturing. Back to babies announcements tonight. We find out what kind of baby we are having this afternoon. Other than a brilliant, healthy, wonderful one of course, we already know that.

Theme Halloween??

Rantings of a holiday offended mother….

What the hell is with people and Halloween this year?

Do you remember the days of sitting with 10 dollars, some fabric, thread and a needle, glue, and whatever else you could find and trying to piece together a ghostly ghoul or a moldy corpse, or a elegant vampire?

Do you remember turning puns into costumes? I do!! However, the Red Bank Primary School will not be encouraging such creative shenanigans this year! No!! This year the school theme is “There’s no place like home” and the children riding on and walking next to the FLOAT in the parade have to dress like those darling (read creepy), little (read stereotyped), munchkins from our favorite movie of all time “The Wizard of Oz”. (So not my favorite movie of all time.)

Sigh. Well having just read Wicked, I will skip the diatribe about how misunderstood the Wicked Witch of the West really was (though I encourage all of you to read Wicked, it was a fantastic novel) and will instead move on with lambasting the Red Bank PTO.

How stupid is this. First of all, why are we having a float? Come on!! Its a halloween parade not the Mayberry fall festival. It’s supposed to be full of creative creepy undead things and the inevitable Star Wars characters. It is not supposed to be an event designed to satisfy the narcissistic needs of the children’s parents, it is supposed to be a chance to let your children come up with a truly dreadful costume, be it dreadful in a good way, or a bad one, and show it off to all their friends and neighbors. But no, this year all the darling little children will be dressed to look like members of the Lollipop Guild, which, while admittedly creepy, is going to result in the homogenization of the entire primary school.

So much for encouraging creative impulses.

So this year, when viewing the parade at Red Bank Primary, seek not the children dressed in costumes requiring you to guess again and again as to what they are, instead get ready to view a troop of munchkins. Whatever you do, don’t pay any attention to the parents behind the curtain.

A response from Forbes… Snakes on a plane… and life in general.

Well, after posting the rant about that unpalatable “Don’t marry career women” article here I sent a letter to the editor. I got a response from Forbes today:

“I want to acknowledge your communication with us on the article “Don’t Marry Career Women.” Sensitive issues demand sensitive treatment. The piece that appeared on Forbes.com this past week was intended to be part academic and part humorous. Instead, it profoundly offended hard-working career women everywhere. We deeply regret having done so.
Steve Forbes
President and Editor-in-Chief”

While I am pleased with an apology instead of some sermon on the importance of presenting all sides in a debate, I was left with only one thing to say… well DUH!! Did any of the Forbes editors READ the article before it was published to determine if it was sensitively handling a sensitive issue? If they did read it, how on earth did they figure it wouldn’t profoundly offend hard-working career women everywhere? Where did they see value in the article at all? It was hardly a humorous and academic posting, it was a rant blaming a rise in divorce on working women. It is hard to accept an apology from these people when a simple read of the article would indicate it’s risk of offending hard-working career women everywhere. I am unwilling to adopt a cavalier boys will be boys attitude here. Any magazine which thinks this article is a humorous and academic look at the workplace and relationships in 2006 is a magazine that profoundly deserves a boycott by hard-working women everywhere, regardless of their career status. This article would have fit well into the culture of the 1950’s, which simply illustrates how behind the times Forbes really is.

Okay, rant over. Last night we went on saw Snakes on a Plane. While taking the bar, we had intended to go see it as a mid exam stress releiver but were prevented from doing so when we learned it wasn’t out yet. So Lee and I saw it last night. It was pretty funny, although there were many gratuitous and unnecessary scenes in it. I determined after leaving that movies such as Snakes on a Plane are created for the simple purpose of allowing new actors interesting roles to place on their resumes. For example: Man whose penis was bit by snake, Woman whose tongue was bit by snake, Man whose head was swallowed by snake, Woman whose breast was bit by snake. Interestingly, Snakes did provide a new and varied manner of filming I like to call Snake-O-Vision, a rather distorted green lit view of the soon to be bitten passengers that provided many giggles for Lee and I. All in all, it was a pretty fun movie, not very scary, but then I like snakes.

We are getting ready for Monkey’s school, which starts the 6th of September, we got her a laptop lunch box and a new backpack that we are decorating so it will be “the fanciest backpack anyone ever saw.” (Her requirement for a backpack). We found hers at Macy’s on sale, which was unexpected to say the least. Monkey is signed up to take the bus to school, but right now wants me to drive her. She is a little scared of busing to school. So we will see if and when she wants to take the bus.
We had our first well baby visit yesterday. Monkey, Lee and I all went. We are about 8 weeks along, and doing just fine. We got a lovely sonogram photo of the baby, which rather resembles a blob in a dark cave. However, we all decided it was a cute blob. We actually saw a better image on the sonogram than what got printed. We also saw the baby’s heartbeat, which was pretty cool. Monkey was very excited to see the baby, and I loved holding hands with my first baby while peeking at my second. It was a fairly magical moment.

Well, I am getting a message from said second baby, informing me to type less and eat more. We miss you all!

(Another soapbox moment)

Don’t marry insecure, incompetent, and unintelligent men. A response to the article in Forbes.

So, I just read the article in Forbes entitled “Don’t marry career women.” Link Below.

http://agreatnotion.livejournal.com/553587.html

It is safe to say that the author of this article is one incredibly closed minded fool. He cites to several reasons for his urging against joining your life with that of a career woman, but the most precious in my mind is his examination of the “economic theory” of marriage. He says marriages are less happy when the woman is working because traditionally, men handled the necessary “Market” portion of the family economy, and women handled the “non-market” portion of the economy. He cautions that this non-market work must get done, implying that working women don’t do it, resulting in higher divorce rates. Umm… Okay…. hmmm….maybe more men should learn how to wield a broom, or wait, with your higly increased family income, hire a cleaning person!! That’s a great idea!! In a choice between keeping your 90k a year lawyer wife home with the kitchen earning no imcome, or spending a small portion of the family income on a housekeeper, I would rather have the extra 60-75k!!

Here’s an even better one!! He states that statistics show that marriage where both partners are working result in more divorces than marriage in which only one partner is working. Ok, sure, but…. why is the default, Man Works?? Why not have your career woman, marry a stay at home man!! YES! Extremely modern unthought of concept, I know! Two people working in a marriage causes the marriage to fail, maybe whoever makes more money should be the one to work. Not just the men.

My favorite, lovely comment of his: “When your spouse works outside the home, chances increase they’ll meet someone they like more than you.” Hmmm…. so men who work outside the home are more likely to meet someone they like more than their wives, but that’s okay. However, if women work, they are more likely to leave their husbands for a co-worker. This argument is based on the societal construct that a woman’s infidelity is more damaging/inappropriate than a man’s. Like a woman’s viriginity, her fidelity is more societally valued than a man’s is.

I will tell you what! If I were this man’s wife, and I had beyond a 6th grade education, I would leave him anyway. Obviously, he lacks the creativity necessary to make any worthwhile marriage work. Rather than seeking unusual or alternative solutions to the problems presented in a dual career family, he simply thinks women should go back to the kitchen (and the 1950’s) and stand by their men.

Thank you for listening to my rant.

Your highly educated, career oriented, happily married, Denver Woman.