And The White Lion Roars

This site is for those who refuse to accept mythology as literal truth, and instead question everything!

Those Eureka Moments

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And the white lion roars!

Oh my goodness! I had no idea exactly how long it has been since I’ve been here. But inspiring thoughts have been in short supply this year. Well, since December 11, when I wrote last. Other than the chronic outrage I’ve felt since the election of Donald Trump (whose name I find difficult to speak, so I typically just refer to him as 45.) Those who follow and support him (amongst the “real Americans”) who truly do not care what he does, even if everything he has done works against their interests. And the people in his administration are the most corrupt I have ever seen, and that means even more than Dick Cheney-exponentially more because it is everyone in his administration, and he slimed every Republican member of congress by promising them that they could do whatever heinous thing they have been waiting to do since 1974. Cutting Medicare and Medicaid, diminishing the rights of women, diminishing voting rights, especially of people of color, working tirelessly to keep anyone out of this country except white, heterosexual christians. Every time I hear the things my senators say I feel the lies. And this feeling is disturbing me to my core. I have finally taken to Twitter, and followed legislators from Texas simply because I want to be able to respond to them immediately. And while I have had one response from one of my senators, they typically don’t respond to liberals, I still tweet because other Texans do respond (most of them positively) and if I can inspire a few Texans to get involved and note these creeps out, then I feel being ignored by the guys we hired to represent us might actually get the firing they deserve.

There have been inspiring personal moments though. Watching my daughter in law, who lives in Illinois, grow with the grandson who is expected on my 60th birthday. (Yes, I know the baby decides! So I will be only mildly disappointed if that doesn’t happen.) My father is in hospice now, and his pacemaker/defibrillator will be turned off on June 15, every time we get together he is fun to be around, and very loving with his children and grandchildren. Despite his dementia, he still always gets the joke. Seeing his suffering end will not be a horrible thing, though it will be sad. We just moved from a shabby bedroom community to an old part of the city which is covered with old trees, and trails for my dogs and I to walk. There is always good to see around us, though on a micro level, if not across the country and world.

But yesterday I had one of those eureka moments when reading about the now congressman from Montana, Greg Gianforte, body slammed a reporter, and then proceeded to punch him, then having his spokesperson blame the reporter for asking a question about healthcare legislation that is being worked on in Washington. Taken with all the negative talk and behavior toward the press since 45 began running. Republicans have pretended that the press is the enemy decades now, and in my opinion it is because the Republicans would rather suppress the vote and freedom of the press because they themselves do not believe in their message. But the negative treatment toward reporters since 2015 has only grown worse, leading to them being manhandled, jeered at, excoriated, and now beat up by a congressional candidate.

It has been extensively written about how leaders install themselves as dictators by first removing press freedoms, and a plethora of warnings about how 45 is preparing to destroy our democracy and make himself supreme leader. And I have taken those warnings to heart. I am a believer in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and I’m nervous on the verge of terror at what I am seeing right now.

But back to my eureka moment. When I was in college I had a wonderful professor, Roger Whitaker (I think-it’s been a long time) who taught us much about recent American history, and the use of the press by the government and giant corporations to further an agenda. An example might be when Ralph Nader wrote the book “Unsafe at any Speed,” about the Chevrolet Corvair, the car company had no argument against the facts in the book, so they smeared him by publishing stories alluding to his sexuality. Monsanto did the same thing to Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring.” Let’s not even talk about what was done to Jane Fonda after her trip to Hanoi (for which she has profusely apologized many times over the years.) My theory of what is happening with the press has nothing to do with anything uncommon. So here it is: The “real Americans” who adore every bully moment of 45’s administration, and are whipped into a frenzy by his rants against the press, would never be mad at a reporter who published stories about the Kardashians, or Ellen, or Oprah. They love to hear about the lives of celebrities such as Honey Boo-boo and her mother. They love any published story that makes them feel better about themselves or gives them hope for having a life like that someday. They love the fake “reality” shows about people who make duck calls and chefs who berate people they are allegedly trying to to teach how to be a better chef, and stories about towing companies and home decorators, and on and on. Its the stories that are meant to expose corruption and protect them from the government that they scorn. So, 45 was a celebrity reality show star before he decided he would run for president. The people I’ve mentioned love the spectacle and circus, with no thought to what it really means for their lives. It’s good TV.

The problem is that once the freedom of the press is gone, along with all their civil liberties (which will now only belong to plutocrats,) the guns which they cling to so fiercely, always using a false interpretation of the Second Amendment, will not help them. The Second Amendment was indeed written by colonists of British rule when British soldiers had the right to enter their homes at any time, at gunpoint, and do basically whatever they wished. It was a good thing to include the clause about being allowed to arm themselves against government intrusion into the homes of citizens. But against the big guns, killer drones and more covert killing methods of government agencies, even your AK47 will not protect you.

Freedom of the press is absolutely necessary to the existence of an open and free democracy. But so is an engaged electorate, who cares about the truth of what the government is doing and what can be done about it. Kim Kardashian and her family can do nothing for you.


Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII

In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.


The Last Thanksgiving

And the white lion roars!

Way back on August 8, 2016 I posted an essay called “Cassandra’s Curse.” In it I talked about my fear of a Trump presidency, his love for dictators, his penchant for obsessing over revenge against anyone who dares criticize him, and on and on. I predicted Trump would hold a ceremony  in the Rose Garden in which he tears up the Constitution and declares himself President for Life. And I was treated very like Cassandra, some people telling me to calm down, that there are controls in place that would prevent that from happening. So I tried. I watched as he picked up campaign personnel who have known racist, misogynist, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant histories which parroted his rhetoric in speeches and rallies, and some of whom have arrests in their histories for domestic abuse. He kept saying ever more incendiary things about all these groups. More and more borderline (maybe borderline) stories came out about his business dealings, more and more stories about his excessively shallow, contemptible objectification of women-even calling his wife a “fat cow” when she was pregnant with his child.

So I pretended I was being calm, as advised by people who love me. But in the last year I have been terrified for this country we all love. Terrified by the newly emboldened white racists, who have carried out nearly 1,000 acts of violence against minorities since November 8th. Terrified by the very smart people who didn’t care, though they plainly knew, that Trump lies as easily as breathing. And even more, terrified by his words and the people with whom he surrounds himself. And his cavalier dismissal, or straight up denial that he said many of the things that were plainly on video or tape. And the people, even those very smart ones, who listened to those denials and said it didn’t matter. When his disgusting behavior toward women was exposed, those people said it was just “boys being boys.” Sometimes of them even claimed they said worse things about men. I’m not sure it would have helped to mention that he was running to be president of the most powerful country in the world in the last two centuries . 

November 8, 2016 was a cool, dreary,  rainy day in North Central Texas. It was also my very ill and frail father’s 77th birthday. My husband and I had already voted during the first week of early voting, thinking that we could skip the long lines on election day, but the lines were a bit longer than usual for early voting. I had a conversation with two other women in line with me at the polling place, and I couldn’t help saying, almost jubilantly, that a large turnout usually bodes well for the left. One of the women nodded, smiling. The other one looked a little ‘stricken’ and turned away from me. But on election day I was twisted in a knot, hardly being able to focus on work. We took my parents out for dinner to celebrate Dad’s birthday, then went home to watch the returns. We were both tense and worried about the results. I guess the long lines for early voting weren’t enough to convince me that it was in the bag for Hillary Clinton.

I was not a Hillary supporter from the beginning. I was a Bernie Sanders supporter. I proudly sent what little money I could to his campaign, and proudly wore my Bernie t-shirt. I remember one Saturday night wearing it to get some things at the grocery store, and this very handsome young man with long dreadlocks pointed at my shirt, smiled, and gave me a thumbs up. I wore it to a doctor’s appointment  on Super Tuesday, primary voting day in Texas. The doctor asked me if I thought Bernie could win. I told him, “Probably not in Texas.” During the primary season I kept hearing about worrisome low turnout among democratic voters. There was supposedly a “movement” of Bernie Sanders supporters who were young, enthusiastic, and gearing up for a progressive (metaphorical) revolution, in which health care would be considered a right, not a commodity for profit. Workers would be honored instead of exploited for the singular benefit of their billionaire bosses. I’m not one of those “millennial” voters, but I was a true believer in that revolution, but afraid that the stereotypical low democratic turnout would abort the revolution in the womb. I was right. Secretary Clinton won the primaries handily, and became the democratic nominee. I switched my loyalty to her, though her t-shirts were too expensive, and she had enough money to beat pretty much anyone. But I always had a gnawing in my gut about Mrs. Clinton. While there hasn’t been a candidate anywhere near perfect (though he’s NOT perfect,) since Baraka Obama. She had SO much baggage. Though I can’t explain why, there is a sizzling hatred of her on the right that makes them willing to do very sinister things, and spread sinister, vicious lies about her. She was a political “player,” which is needed in Washington, unfortunately, because being able to negotiate with the other side and get things done. I don’t care about her response to her husband’s affairs, that is between husband and wife. Infidelity is too common, and people are so separate and individual that no one can tell anyone how to react when they learn of the infidelity. Some people stay together and work things out, some do not. Either is fine, and I wish anyone going through that trauma well. But there is no denying that Secretary Clinton is treated differently. No one in the media criticizes men for their voice, their clothing, hair and makeup styles. No one criticizes a man for being ambitious, career obsessed, and unyielding in seeking their dreams. But Mrs. Clinton was, and when combined with Trump’s words and actions toward women tells me that the United States has not “come a long way baby” when it comes to equality.

My husband and I got more and more nervous as we watched the returns come in. Trump was doing well in Southern states, as expected. Mrs. Clinton was winning the states everyone knew she would. We are early to bed and rise people, but we couldn’t stop watching. I had a couple of cocktails, he had several cigarettes. We got quieter and quieter. When 11:30 came around I tried to go to bed, but I immediately turned on the TV and kept watching from bed. I dozed around 1:00 A. M. or so, but when my husband came to bed I lifted my head, “Well?” “All the votes aren’t counted, but he won.” I slept fitfully until around 4:30, and went to work in a fog. I was quiet, which my coworkers noticed, but didn’t understand. Our supervisor stopped by later and asked me what was wrong. I just mouthed “the election.” She got it, but said it will be okay. By the weekend I had decided that this was the way it will be, and, like it or not (decidedly NOT!) I had to figure out a way to get through it for at least the next four years.

However, I found myself staying in the November 9th fog as Trump made speeches that terrify me, and advisory picks who matched his campaign rhetoric. Racist, homophobic, anti-immigrant, only one religion should be free in America, anti-Medicare and Social Security advisers and potential cabinet picks were constantly in the news. Now and again, in quiet moments I found that tears would run down my face as the newly empowered republican congress immediately began talking about reducing overtime pay, the Affordable Care Act and all the LGBT protections that were enacted in the last two years. When Thanksgiving came I was alone a great deal, cooking and getting ready for the holiday. I found myself crying as I baked, and even sometimes when I walked the dogs, despite those few days in which I tried to resign myself to a Trump administration, with republican control of both houses of congress. Oh, and one already empty Supreme Court seat. Sometimes my eyes filled with tears as I worked at the office, and I was grateful that my cubicle is not visible to the others who sit in the office with me. This was not a case of being a “bad loser.” I know how to be a good loser, and a gracious winner. But this was not an election like any other, and my belief that the consequences of it are unimaginable cannot be shaken. 

Thanksgiving turned out to be a good day. My youngest sister, with whom I am very close, was in town with her entire family; hubby, three grown sons, one daughter in law, two precious toddler granddaughters that the family had not yet met. There is nothing like the laughter of children that can lighten the spirits of two elderly parents and their middle aged children. My sister also brought her two dogs, who are very nervous and not very social with either other people or other dogs. As people arrived the dogs would just bark, and not come near anyone. After lunch I, fancying myself a “dog whisperer” of sorts, went to the backyard and sat, ignoring the dogs ( a trick I learned on some dog oriented TV show years ago.) According to that show, if you are nonthreatening, and ignore the dog long enough, it will eventually give in to curiosity and come check you out. In this case, I don’t know how much time was needed for these guys, but eventually my sister came out to join me for a chat. I told her that I was having a happier Thanksgiving than I expected. She and I had talked about what is to come in the United States a few times since the election, so she knew I was speeding toward despair; she was too, and for the same reasons, which were not all about the president, but congress and the cabinet as well. I told her we needed a good Thanksgiving because it was probably our last one as a free people. She responded with a bit of annoyance, saying that I really needed to calm down and not be so dramatic. But I couldn’t be talked down this time. And in the nearly three weeks since, my despair has only deepened. As revelations about just how deeply, not only Trump, but many of his cabinet picks, are in cahoots with the Russian government of Vladimir Putin, and the number of generals who have Russian ties are filling his cabinet, nothing at all in the last month has happened that gives me any reason to “calm down,” or trust that the way “the system” will protect the country from real danger. Some of the particular generals he has chosen have committed acts of treason, and not been prosecuted. Many, as I said, have ties with Putin, and have been very vocal in their anti-Islamic rhetoric. It has been revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation knew that the Russian government had hacked the emails of the Democratic National Committee, and dumped those emails to the public, but did nothing. Apparently so did some of the republican leadership, but they did not want Hillary Clinton to be elected, so they did nothing. The Russians also hacked the emails of the Republican National Committee, but did not dump them, though the republican emails allegedly contained just as much ugly stuff as the democrats. Now the Russians have all that information to use as leverage and get their way in the republican controlled government of the United States. Let me be clear, the newly elected government has been colluding with a hostile foreign power to the detriment of our existence as a nation. If a strong man (Trump) is surrounds himself with generals who agree with his positions, all the arguments that the military would never go along with the president tearing up the constitution and and installing himself as a dictator are a little less convincing in December than they were in August. Just as much of a concern is the choice of FOUR Goldman-Sachs officials as cabinet members. It hasn’t been so long since the Great Recession of 2008, which was the result of bad behavior by banks and investment houses all over the world.

I love this country. I love having the freedom to express my views, and the right of anyone who wishes to express their disagreement with my view (and the occasional contempt.) I love that we have the ability to vote for president and some of congress every four years, and the freedom to worship or not in any way we choose. I love that the press is free to, though this year they most certainly did not, expose the dangers our democracy faces from dangerous men. As an aside, I truly hope that the press has learned a lesson from their dereliction of duty in the thrall of “good stories that entertain.” They made an entertainer president, with no regard for the truth of his ties to dictatorial governments, or his rhetoric regarding the Bill of Rights.

So, I hope everyone had an excellent Thanksgiving. I hope whatever holidays are celebrated this winter are happy. The irony is that the winter holidays are, from every part of the world, celebrations of light, from the beginning of modern humans, when the daylight stays longer, and agrarians can begin to work the land again, but the new government in the United States of America is happy to operate in darkness. I, for one, truly believe that this may be the last holiday season that working Americans, the “Middle Class” will spend as a free people. We had a good run, but it’s over.

An Open Letter to Sam Harris: cc: Bill Maher, Gad Saad

And the white lion roars!

Sam Harris,; neuroscientist, writer, blogger, podcaster, philosopher, historian, political commentator, atheist

Bill Maher,; comedian, actor, host and producer of HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” political and social commentator and provocateur

Gad Saad,  (born 1964) is a Lebanese-Canadian evolutionary behavioural scientist at the John Molson School of Business(Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada) who is known for applying evolutionary psychology to marketing and consumer behaviour.[1] He holds the Concordia University Research Chair in Evolutionary Behavioural Sciences and Darwinian Consumption (2008–2018)[2] and has a blog at Psychology Today titled Homo Consumericus.[3]

Dear Sam Harris:
Since the advent of the podcast, I have found only about three that I return to with any regularity. Of those three, yours is the one I listen to most often. I’m not sure exactly when I discovered you, but I believe it was on Real Time with Bill Maher, some years ago. At any rate, I am a great admirer of yours. There have been some times that I felt very ignorant when listening to podcasts showing the depth of your knowledge. You are a polymath, and I can come nowhere near your eloquence or vocabulary. This is not, however, a sycophantic, venerating letter. There have been some comments you made on your podcast that have made me more than a tad uncomfortable. I know you get tired of talking about your messages on Islam, but there are a couple of things I am asking to ‘discuss.’
First, let me say that I am one of those liberals whom you regularly denigrate, and I wear the label proudly. I also agree completely with you and Bill Maher, as well as your more recent guess, Gad Saad that political correctness has gone to the point of making itself ridiculous. Protests at colleges over what someone chooses as a Halloween costume? Really? And yes, I was one of those who clenched at criticism of any religion-despite being an atheist. I was raised in the bible belt, in a baptist home, and I would have to leave the vast majority of my family behind if I couldn’t at least tolerant of their religious and conservative political views. But of course, as a southern woman, I am well practiced in the art of the smile and nod.
That said, I have been made uncomfortable by some of your rhetoric about Islam, though there have been some moments that began to lead me to question my thoughts on the subject. I suppose the first time I said, “Hmmmmm” to a comment of yours was during that infamous Real Time episode with Ben Affleck, October 6, 2014. Your responses to him were so cogent and ardent (and calm) that I believe anyone reasonable person would have at least given pause to consider your points. Yes, “THE mother lode of bad ideas” was probably excessive, given the number of horribly bad ideas about these days.
When I heard your reading of the Jihadi mission to exterminate any atheists, Christians, Jews, gays, etc. I began to question the friendships I’ve had for many years with those Muslims you and Gad Saad discussed on October 6. You know the ones, “…any individual Muslim may be a lovely person.”
But the more I considered your conversation with Mr. Saad, the more it reminded me of a few anecdotal tidbits from my life’s experience. For example, my maternal grandmother sustained a serious burn as a child, and for the rest of her life was afraid of fire. She cooked, because it was her duty as a wife and the mother of nine. But when in her eighties my mother took her on a trip to the Philippines, and while watching a native fire ceremony, she went into a full-blown panic attack because of the flames. Another is that my mother has completely irrational feelings about alcohol because, as a small child she someone who was drunk behave very violently. I was also reminded of all the people who have said to me, “I’m scared of dogs because a dog bit me when I was a child.” In my attempt to be rational but tolerant  with those people, I am tempted to ask, “I’m sorry, how many dogs bit you? One? Out of the billions of dogs in the world?”

So when you introduced Mr. Saad with, “You may be the best person to speak on this because you have lived it…” I’m sorry, I disagree. First, he said that his family fled Lebanon, but his parents continued to go back until they were ultimately kidnapped. Since they left Lebanon because of how dangerous it was becoming, especially for Jews, how could something terrible happening have been unexpected?  No one can dodge bullets forever. And now he is afraid that Jihadism is moving to the west more quickly that we are coming up with solutions to prevent the radicalization of the Muslims already living here, or stopping their terror attacks. I completely understand how frightening events in a child’s life can color them as adults, so I can sort of understand where Mr. Saad is coming from. But I shut down when he talked about his daughter being afraid of a woman in a hijab, so he picked her up and left the park. If it was signaled in any way to that woman why they left as soon as she arrived, I feel very sorry for her. She was very likely there because Muslim children also need to play outside. The way we treat people matters, whoever they are, and no matter how much we differ from them. But I also feel sorry for Mr. Saad’s daughter. No one should (in my opinion) teach their children to live in fear of “the other,” but especially not simply because of the way they dress. If I recall the videos I’ve seen of all the female suicide bombers, their bombs did show in their hijabs. And they behaved in a certain way before they removed the cover they had over their clothing.  But more than that, I wonder where he would stop with that judgment of anyone who doesn’t dress the way he thinks they should. Does he believe that George Zimmerman was right to shoot Trayvon Martin because he wore a hoodie? I like to celebrate the differences between people, so I believe that a completely khaki and button down society would be a bad thing. Homogeneity is not beneficial to humans in any way. And early humans did mate with Neanderthals, though they look completely different, so it can lead to good things when people overlook their differences, and come together for a common purpose.
But this letter is really  directed to you, because I have something to offer for your ponderance that may help calm your fears of Islamic extremists (which is estimated to be only 12% of Muslims.) And it comes from a place of history. Judaism is roughly about 6000 years old. When that religion began, their mythology told them that they were the “chosen people” of God. And their writers went so far as to give them permission to commit war against all the people in all the lands around them who worshiped any gods but the god of Abraham, to sack the cities and temples for their riches, and to rape their women and kill their men. They have been conflated with several ethnic groups that were called “habiru,” who were considered mercenaries and marauders. There have been historians who suggested the word “habiru” might have later been translated to “Hebrew, though a learned Jewish friend of mine says that this claim has been disproved. They amassed much treasure from the plunder, and lots of people died at their hands. Lots of Jews died as a result of these voices from God as well. Female adulterers, witches, babies, people who had particular diseases, and on and on. But Jews have not behaved in that way in thousands of years. They have evolved, and most of those I know are peaceful, loving people who are devoted to family and country. Yes, there are pockets of violence in the Jewish community, and some very bellicose politicians in Israel. But most are not at all that way.
I was surprised a bit by the repetition of your “Islam is the only religion today…” with the manifesto to destroy all infidels, because there was a time when Christianity did too. In “The End of Faith Episode Three” you talk at length about the inquisition, which lasted 300 years, from 1515 CE to 1826 CE. There were also the Crusades, which lasted from 1095 to 1291 CE, in which Christians sent armies to torture, pillage and destroy any lands or peoples who did not bow down to their God. Torture, burning, rape, and other things the “PC police would probably now call “war crimes” were commonplace. This seems to me to be exactly what Islamic terrorists are exhorted to do now. Which is why I’m surprised at such a rational thinker as yourself believes that these people will remain passionate about their mission long enough to complete it. Christians aren’t killing people anymore, though they did it in horrible, grotesque, unthinkable ways for many  hundreds of years. Yes, some fundamentalists still talk about killing gays, and people who disagree with them, they talk about denying atheists the right to vote, and worse, but it is only talk, and it is a very small minority who still find such ideas acceptable. This religious fervor will not last. Yes, they could do a great deal of damage with their 21st century weapons, should they ever get them. Yes, many people, mostly Muslims it seems at this stage, including the elderly and children may die. But there will be a moment that hits the leaders and gives them a eureka moment, a catastrophic revelation, that will cause them to say, “No. This isn’t working and it is wrong. We must stop this.” And considering how slavishly converts to Jihadism adhere to the pronouncements of “Death to America,” surely they will follow. I could be wrong, of course, but it seems that when religions begin with the mission to destroy anyone who disagrees with them, they do that, and then they evolve. Christianity has come a very long way from the crusades to the inquisition to “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God,” to the Children of God and it’s all about ‘free love,’ in the 60s. Judaism has come a very long way from sack and destroy to a peaceful and scholarly religion, who are a threat to no one outside the Palestinian territories.

When I was in college I had a professor, who’s name I can’t remember, but he was the first person I ever met who referred to himself as “Persian.” But he did not identify with Islam, or the Iranian culture. In part of our course we talked about some religious history, including Islam. He talked about how the early Muslims were told that if they wanted to spread this new religion worldwide, they should send soldiers to every country they wanted to conquer for the prophet and destroy its history and culture. So they went in and put the torch to libraries, galleries, schools, and left an empty place for their religion to fill. Just as Judaism and Christianity did when they were young. Islam was founded in the 7th century CE. It is about seven hundred years younger than Christianity, and about five thousand years younger than Judaism.

Make no mistake, I don’t want to die from an act of terrorism. Or poison, or fire or by gunfire or drowning. I don’t want my loved ones to be killed or maimed in any of these ways either. And I completely understand that it may sound as if  I’m making light of the threat. I am not. However, as I know you’ve heard hundreds and hundreds of times, statistically your chances of being killed by some random white guy with a gun is far higher than any chance you will be killed by an Islamic terrorist. But you have said that those statistics don’t matter because of the fact that Islam is the only religion today that is actively advocating such behavior. I keep going back to history, but any time a group with a mission is outnumbered and outgunned by a large, better equipped military, they turn to terrorism. Remember the American Revolution? That’s exactly how the ‘farmer soldiers’ defeated the British. I know your argument to that one is about those 21st century weapons, and that is a good one. But they aren’t using those, so I’m just not sure they have them. Though the possibility of that happening in the future does exist. Except that there are many people, women and young girls in particular, who are beginning to stand against the Taliban and such oppressive regimes that deny them personhood and even education.

In his book “Our Better Angels,” your friend Stephen Pinker talks about how much less violent humans are becoming. We are evolving as a species, though we have a long way to go. Though violence still exists, and sociopaths and psychopaths, and desperate maniacs and addicts who commit acts of violence. There may always be such people. But change is possible, and will happen, is in fact happening.  I must add that I was a bit relieved when, at the end of your podcast with Gad Saad, you did admit that you don’t want the fashion police or thought police telling people what they should wear or how to think. Hate and hate speech should be protected, no matter how  vile. But, as I’ve said many times and in many places, just because the speech is protected doesn’t mean it is free from consequences. So public shame, banishment, firing from one’s job when people say things that are heinous, will have to do. At least until Islam grows up, as the other two of the “big three” have done.

http://www.wikipedia.comSinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is a sermon written by British Colonial Christian theologian Jonathan Edwards, preached to his own congregation in Northampton, Massachusetts to unknown effect,[1] and again on July 8, 1741 in Enfield, Connecticut.[2]Like Edwards’ other works, it combines vivid imagery of Hell with observations of the world and citations of the scripture. It is Edwards’ most famous written work, is a fitting representation of his preaching style,[3] and is widely studied by Christians and historians, providing a glimpse into the theology of the Great Awakening of c. 1730–1755.  Steven ArthurStevePinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-born American cognitive scientist, psychologist, linguist, and popular science author. He is Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.   The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined is a 2011 book by Steven Pinker, in which he argues that violence in the world has declined both in the long run and in the short run and suggests explanations as to why this has occurred.[1] In a conversation with Richard Dawkins he states that in last four decades in the United States, the rate of rape has gone down by 80%. He admits that because of the vanishing communication gap, today, the number of reportings of violence has risen giving people an impression of rising rapes, abuses and other violent activities.[2]

Hands Up, Let’s Talk!

white lion profile pic

And the white lion roars!


Right in the midst of the most frightening, frustrating and freaky presidential campaign in modern history, another story about police comes into public knowledge and pours lemon juice on the wound of my backing the blue, loving and respecting my brother as a career cop, and being a firm believer in the constitutional right to free speech.

I suppose, once more, I’m a holder-on to the 1960s/70s notion of, do what you like, as long as you don’t hurt anyone. I’m also a free-speech absolutist, though I am painfully aware that free speech often hurts people. The freedom to express oneself, no matter how hateful or repugnant is sacrosanct. This does not mean that I believe that free speech comes without consequences. Yes, your private citizen boss can fire you if you say something that embarrasses his company, but free speech is in danger this year more than ever.

I recently had a doctor’s appointment with my primary care doctor. He’s been my doctor for many years, and I am almost always very late leaving his office because he loves to talk politics, and he loves to taunt my husband and me for our liberalism. But on this day I happened to be wearing a “Back the Blue” t-shirt, a month or so after the shootings of police officers in Dallas, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, and others. He asked me about the shirt, and I mentioned my brother’s long career as a police officer, and how horrible I thought the recent killings of police officers was. He agreed, of course, as any reasonable human being would. But then the conversation took an unfortunate turn, when I had the nerve to admit that neither side is always right, or always wrong. And this is a deep personal conflict of mine. His response was to get a little louder, and exclaim that he will always pick the police over some thug. I knew he had other patients waiting; I also knew that to get to his definition of “thug” would take more of my early day off work than I cared to spend, especially when I knew just how fruitful this conversation would be. (Not at all.) But in the next few minutes he did manage to bring up some of the dramatic incidents of recent years, especially Michael Brown (eighteen year old black man from a St. Louis, MO suburb, whose killing was ultimately deemed justifiable by the U.S. Attorney General’s Office. I also reminded him who hired that attorney general, since he is no fan of President Obama.)

I hear lots of white people claim that more white people are killed by police every year than blacks, which is technically true. However, when the numbers are broken down, adjusted for percentage of the population,  an unarmed black man is 40% more likely to be killed by a police officer.  While 50% more white people were shot by police last year,  most of them WERE ARMED.

Anyway, more recent events have brought this very hard topic back to the forefront for me. The quarterback of the American football team, the San Francisco Forty Niners, is a man of mixed race named Colin Kaepernick. In protest of police brutality in communities of color, he has decided not to stand for the playing of the national anthem at football games. As is his right under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This “horrible” display has triggered all kinds of white outrage toward Mr. Kaepernick, which has spurred a movement of athletes all over the country to kneel in support of him, and others to burn his jersey.  Military veterans have voiced support for him based upon the risks they have taken to guarantee his rights to be preserved under the US Constitution. But the country’s largest police union has threatened not to provide security at Forty Niners’ games because of this protest. Police unions have made the same threats against other celebrities, including Beyonce` and Quentin Tarantino for daring to criticize police. This stand diminishes the officers who stood and protected civilians in Dallas on July 7, 2016 when a sniper opened fire on police at a Black Lives Matter rally. They said that they had taken an oath to serve and protect the public, and some of them died doing it. In a conversation with one of Mr. Kaepernick’s white disdainers it was said to me that because he was adopted and raised by a financially stable white family as a baby, he has no idea what he is talking about, and should get clear about what he is protesting . He added that Mr. Kaepernick is a wealthy, spoiled professional athlete, he should be grateful for what this country has given him. Getting me started on our country’s celebrity worship, and our skewed priorities regarding pay for professional athletes is a topic for another day. Laughably, the person who said that to me is a HUGE sports fan, so coming from him it seems a little disingenuous. But personally I believe it is a sign of nobility to stand up for people less fortunate than oneself. So on this one, I stand with our troops. The military veterans are right about what freedom of speech means, and the police should review their oath of honor, which I’ve included below.

So, here’s what I know about some of the deaths in custody, and police shootings of recent memory. I’ll start with Sandra Bland.  The last time I wrote about this subject I acknowledged that cell phone video is untrustworthy simply because it never starts filming until after an incident has begun. Cell phone video is, by definition, out of context. But Sandra Bland had her video shooting from the time the officer stepped up to her car. Now, I haven’t been pulled over by police in a few years, but in my entire life, every time it has happened, as soon as I opened the window and addressed an officer I was greeted with, “M’am, do you know why I pulled you over today?” For whatever reason, the officer stopping Ms. Bland never bothered to tell her why he pulled her over, though she repeatedly asked, resulting in her being yanked from the car, taken to jail, and being found days later hanging from a rope in her cell. (Where did that come from?) That minimum level of respect, just telling her why she was pulled over, may have been all that was necessary to prevent a terrible tragedy for Ms. Bland, her family and friends, and an entire community.

Philando Castile was a twenty-eight year old man who worked in a school cafeteria, had a concealed carry license for a fire arm,  and had been arrested 12 times for traffic violations for which someone else would have received a ticket. But the thirteenth time he was pulled over, he wound up dead. Now, he did not act correctly when speaking to the police officers, but he did not resist, nor did he threaten them in any way. All he did was tell them that he had a firearm, a license to carry, but the death penalty offense was reaching for the license. He should have said the exact same words he did, but left his hands in the air and let the officers pull his ID out of his pocket. The police were not entirely wrong in this case, but he did not deserve to die that day, in full view of the entire country, lying back in the car, his chest covered in blood, in a live streaming Facebook video.

Another man the same week, Alton Sterling, was also killed by police. His name was Alton Brown, and police were called to a convenience store because of a “man threatening people with a gun.” Now, no one can know what happened before Mr. Sterling was killed, but before his body was cold he was being referred to as a “convicted felon” by the local news. From the video made available to the world, it appears that he was shot in cold blood by one of the officers whose knee was firmly planted in the man’s gut before he put five bullets into the man. Again, what we see in the video cannot possibly be taken as definitive because the incident was nearly over when our viewing  begins. Was Mr. Sterling even the guy police had been called about? Did he have a gun when one of the officers, who also had his knee in the side of the pinned down man yelled, “He’s got a gun!” Don’t know. But referring to the victim of the shooting as a convicted felon is utterly discreditable and unscrupulous. The press frequently does this quite simply  because history is written by the victors, and access can be denied to the press if they offend their chiefs of police.  Many times in recent history the press has taken up the mantle of the “powers that be” to denigrate someone who questioned the natural order. When Ralph Nader spoke the truth about the Corvair, the auto corporations had no facts to back them up, so they attacked his sexuality. The press equally vilified Jane Fonda’s antics in North Vietnam, not by condemning the war, but by joining the “military industrial complex” in condemning her character. They still repeat the charges, even though she is now in her seventies, and has apologized for her “youthful misadventures.” Here’s the thing about Alton Sterling’s characterization as “a convicted felon;” he was not in jail. So whatever felony he committed was clearly not a death penalty conviction; he had done his time, been paroled or finished his sentence, and to keep referring to him in that way sends a message that the press may not realize they are sending; that there is no “serving my time and moving on.” Once a convicted felon, always a convicted felon no matter how rehabilitated a man may be.

So, the issue of police shootings and who is wrong or right is still not clear to me. What is overwhelmingly evident to me, again and again and again, is that no one side is always right or wrong. And both sides need to consider in their quiet moments, what all of this means. I was horrified and appalled that the two shooters who killed the police officers who were simply doing their jobs in Dallas and Baton Rouge were black. It is hard enough to keep the message honest in these events. And while I realize that both men had military training  and documented mental issues, I wish that for just a moment as they planned their assaults that they would have considered that their actions, and those of others who have shot police officers while sitting in their cars, or pumping gas, or responding to an active shooter or domestic disturbance call, will only serve to increase the fear on both sides. There was absolutely no purpose served in what they did, except that they both ended up dying. And if they ever had a point to make, it died with them.



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Cassandra’s Curse

And the white lion roars!

The daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, who wanted to seduce her, but she refused him, and so, while he couldn’t take back his gift, he cursed her that no one would ever believe her prophecies, giving her a tragic existence and end.

I have felt much like Cassandra the last few weeks, ever since the end of the Republican National Convention, and most especially since Trump’s acceptance speech at the convention. Too many people are viewing him as a joke, and a complete aberration who will lead the Democrats to landslide victories nationwide.

What I heard was a dictator in waiting; what I envisioned was him holding a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, declaring himself President for Life, much like brutal, genocidal dictators in Africa and other countries have done.

I’ve said this to friends and family, and when my husband threw me a birthday party last Sunday my best friend asked another close friend to talk me down. The friend said that in order to do that he would need to have the military on his side, among the first things he would need in order to do this. And it is true, all those other despots had the military on their side, and used them in horrific ways to support their agendas. By this time Trump had insulted and trivialized the grieving family of a Muslim Army Captain who was killed in combat in 2004. (Sorry, Fox News, President Obama was elected in 2008, and could not have been responsible for this honorable soldier’s death. But hang in there, enough people believe your anti-fact stories that you will get some spin from this latest lie.) Anyway, when Trump got blowback for insulting this man’s service, he turned on the captain’s parents. I learned last week that parents who have lost a child in battle are referred to as “Gold Star Families.” Instead of acknowledging the sacrifice of these families, he accused these parents of being involved in terrorist activities. So it calmed me a little to realize that the vast majority of the military have abandoned his campaign.

But of course, I had to be driving down the road this weekend it occurred to me that the greatest majority of Trump followers are so called “red neck” “hillbilly,” angry white men who DO love Trump’s bombast and pompous, distasteful, brash, thin skinned, hateful rhetoric who love their AR-15s and other guns, and all other types of violence. Hell, Trump has given them permission to let their racism and hatred shine aloud. They have beat up minorities who come to Trump rallies, they have threatened violence on anyone who is not like them, they love Trump’s racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric. So, historically, what happens when a small band of unsophisticated, rag-tag malcontents who are outgunned and out-manned by the greater government at large? They become terrorists. In the olden days they were called “guerrilla fighters.” It’s what the English called the American farmers, and “patriots” who fought for independence from the crown. It’s what the Viet Cong did to the Americans in the 1960s. It has been the way of the ‘little guy’ against the Big Man since time immemorial.

I must add for clarification that not all Trump supporters are ignorant rednecks. I had a conversation yesterday with a woman, who is highly educated, well informed, whose father retired from a high military rank, and she is as conservative as it is possible to be, and she is supporting Trump. That is something I cannot wrap my head around. Trump got himself LOTS of publicity by holding a fund raiser for “the troops,” but the money never got to the troops until he was challenged on it. His comments about the Khan family, the family of that dead Army Captain, and the captain himself, and Trump’s dalliance with an enemy president, his admiration for the worst dictators of the 20th century, more than border on treason (Vladimir Putin) , for which the right would be screeching for the death penalty if a democrat does it. But she said that her support is based on her “feelings, not the facts, and the closed borders that she believes the U.S. should have. I guess when the borders closed behind the white people who raped this country and murdered its native inhabitants it should have stayed closed, especially when the people who wish now to live a better life, and provide a better life for their children became brown. Oh, and of course, the darker skilled people who were brought here for only mercenary reasons, to build this country and not be paid for the effort, they get to stay, unless they want equal citizenship.



My One and Only Beauty Post, Forever!


I am not a beauty blogger. I’m not a beauty expert of any kind, nor am I even a beauty. I’m a short, “heavy set” woman about to turn 59 in a few days. And I have had something on my chest for DECADES that I must get off my chest as I enter the last year of my 50s. And here it is: it is time for beauty experts, bloggers, makeup artists and all other types whose job it may be to tell people how to look better, and feel better about how they look: GET OVER IT!!! There is no “one size fits all” beauty tip, regimen, product that is going to work for everyone and make every woman feel better about herself. The fact that all of you believe that there is one certain regimen for every woman everywhere makes those of us that your rules do not fit feel inferior and decidedly un-beautiful.

From the time I went through puberty, at the tender age of 10, I have had oily skin. During the acne-fied years it was loathsome, humiliating and horrible. The break outs, the runny make up, my mom getting me Cover Girl medicated makeup because the thought it would help with the break outs, etc. But into my late fifties, I have very few wrinkles because my skin moisturizes itself. However,  I have never seen an article written by anyone about makeup and skin care that doesn’t include the phrase, “Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.” Everyone says it, gay, straight, black, white, male, female, EVERYONE. The thing is that, while not having wrinkles at my age, oiliness and gravity have led to large pores. Large pores that have been pulled downward by the act of gravity on my face, and look even bigger now. I read a skin care article the other day called “Ten Items You Can Throw Away Forever.” It included makeup primer, which I use daily, a pore refining primer, because makeup alone does not do that magic trick. So…that one doesn’t apply to everyone, now does it?  That article also had the phrase (once again!!!) “Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!!!!!!!!” My skin needs minimal moisture added to it. I want my pores to shrink. Well, and my lips to stop looking smaller and smaller, my neck to stop wiggling and my my body to stop melting downward like the Nazi in the first Indiana Jones movie. Will moisturizing x 3 take care of that? Don’t think so!

I think the key here is to stop pretending that all women are the same. We are not. Not every middle aged woman should wear short hair. Not every woman needs moisture x 3, not every woman needs certain types of brow grooming supplies, or the same color blush, OR ANYTHING!!! Medicine has finally caught on to the fact that nothing is true for everyone. Why can’t so-called beauty experts? The women of the baby boom generation grew up at a very good time for skin care. Just as we entered our thirties, alpha hydroxy came out, so most of us do not look as we thought we would at our age. We’re beautiful, as is.  We need to feel that in every fiber of our being, and so-called experts really don’t help. We have reached a point where we should know ourselves well enough to blow off this advice, and know what works for us. Including me. But that little three word phrase haunts me.


Sometimes the Truth Spills Out

And the white lion roars!

I remember the ’90s. A decade of joy and sorrow, like most decades in our lives. One thing that has stood out for me as a gay ally is the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy for which President Bill Clinton got so much criticism. Now, my family has a HUGE military presence, and I heard more comments about this policy than I care to share, almost all from male servicemen who were completely freaked out by the notion of “showering with queers.” I knew then, and I still know that the reason they were so afraid of being ogled and harangued by other men was because they were pretty sure a gay man would treat them as they had treated women in this “boys will be boys” rape culture that America has nurtured for centuries. There are plenty of current stories that prove this culture is still prevalent in the United States; rapists getting slapped on the wrists by male judges, women being blamed for rape because of what they wear or how much they drink, and on and on.

Skip up to the “aught-teens,” and in 2016 there has been a GINORMOUS kerfuffle about what bathrooms trans-gender people should use; should it be the bathroom of the sex they identify with, or the sex listed on their birth certificates? There have been people making threats to come with weapons into public restrooms to “protect women” from trans-gender people, despite the fact that there has never been a reported case of a trans person molesting anyone in a public restroom. I would venture to speculate that trans people would be far less likely to molest anyone in public since they are already more than thirty times more likely to be assaulted in public than anyone. Of any race. Of any religion. It just doesn’t happen.

The trans bathroom issue is big in my hometown, Fort Worth, TX because the Fort Worth schools superintendent has made policy meant to protect trans-gender students, and he has taken the wrath of god from all the rabid conservative lawmakers in Texas. They’ve tried to have him fired, sued, tarred and feathered, and worse. And of course, many who claim to follow a god who claims to Be Love are in the anti-trans movement. On yesterday’s evening news there was a local pastor who finally explicated the truth to me, whether he liked it or not. He is the father of twins who will be in kindergarten in the upcoming school year, and he said that he is most worried about boys (as in STRAIGHT boys) using the trans bathroom rules as an excuse to go into the ladies restroom. And there was an explosion of fireworks in my head when I heard this. “OH, SEE WHAT THOU HAST WROUGHT!!!!!!! This father is afraid of the rape culture that has been created by the patriarchy victimizing HIS children.

Yup. Boys have got away with it for so long, that straight men are now afraid that the culture of victimizing and then blaming women has created monsters are now pretending that those boys, women and girls need to be protected from the people most likely to be assaulted in public places. It almost reminds me of how the KKK got started; to stop black predators away from “Our white women.”

Now, go to your room and think about what you have done!


Oh Hell! (I’m Old)

I remember as a toddler I didn’t like old people. Is that unusual? I don’t think so. Even still, I REALLY didn’t like old people. I couldn’t have been more than 4, but I dis…

Source: Oh Hell! (I’m Old)

Man, I Need a Potty Break!

And the white lion roars!

Week-before-last we were paying a visit to my parents. As Mom finished warming up some leftovers, Dad, hubby, my youngest sister and I sat around the table and chatted about this and that. My husband brought up a story from an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Dad, who has dementia and all the anger and grumpiness to go with it, stopped him there. I knew that was going to happen because he had referred to her as Ellen “Degenerate” in my presence a few years before. Hubby had the bravery to ask, “Why don’t you like her? Is it because she’s gay?” Dad snarled his answer, “That’s part of it. I DO NOT like gays.”  Before anyone decide that he feels this way because he is a fundamentalist Baptist, which he is, it is important to remember the life-long impact some childhood experiences can have on adults. Until that day I didn’t know that he was accosted as a child by a man in a public restroom. Mom piped in that the same thing had happened to two of her cousins. Sister and I tried to remind them that a pedophile and a gay person are not the same thing, to no avail. Another family story of Mom’s is that when she was about seven (she was the youngest of nine children, and her older siblings were much older than she) her oldest brother was drunk and pulled a gun on her parents. Since that day she has an irrational fear of alcohol, and believes anyone who takes even one drink is on the road to debased and violent alcoholism. So I understand that these kinds of events live long in the memory. But just for the sake of discussion, can we have a rational discussion regarding the so-called “bathrooms bills” that have passed in three states, and have ninety-seven other bills pending. These bills basically say that a transgender person must use the public restroom that matches the sex they were born with, not with the sex they identify with. Here I must ask the obvious question, who’s going to do pee-pee duty? Will there be police officers checking the genitalia of people who don’t “look” like the traditional idea of which sex uses which bathroom? Have you seen some of the more famous transgender people? They are sexier and more beautiful than many of the people who were born with the sex they transitioned to. Who can really know by looking? There are people who look less feminine than traditional standards, or less masculine, but are one-hundred percent straight. When these bills insist that people must use the restroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate, are we going Sheriff Joe Arpaio (Maricopa County, AZ) forcing trans people to carry papers (i.e. birth certificates) into the restroom with them? I remember someone who was adopted by his stepfather, and when the court finalized the adoption  he was given a new birth certificate listing his stepfather as the father. I suppose this could lead the transgender people having their birth certificates changed legally when they transition. Of course, in “red states” this would be fought like the battle of Armageddon because of the extreme and hateful use of “religious freedom” laws. I’ve seen photos on social media of cowboy types posing with guns, insisting they will go into public restrooms armed to protect their wives, daughters, etc. I can’t help but wonder who the depraved one is. The faces in these photos  look as if this was the moment they’ve been waiting for-something to defend with their open carry weapons; or an excuse to hang out in the ladies restroom?

We must also separate pedophilia, a mental illness and a crime, from homosexuality and transgender?  They are not the same. They are not the same. They are not the same. Most pedophiles identify as heterosexual whether they prey on opposite or same sex victims.

There is also the question of “choice” and consequences. I’ve mentioned this before in a blog post years ago; for those who believe that homosexuality is a choice, why would anyone choose this? To be demonized, discriminated against-even in jobs and housing and unfortunately too many times, by parents and families of non-gender conforming children, for some people who are so insecure in their own sexuality they try and prove they are straight by beating up gay people (or perceived gay people.) Preachers and reality TV stars who probably don’t realize that they have ever known a gay person will make ridiculous statements about how gay people live their lives, and their ‘flocks’ will believe every word, pass it on and make everyone they know afraid of the gay person. Gay people are always at risk of being victimized or criminalized. For transgender people it is even worse. The percentage of the population estimated to be transgender is .03, less than one-half of one-percent. Think about that; out of three-hundred-million Americans, that is around only 290,000 human beings who are transgender. The vast majority of Americans have probably never met one. I guess I’m fortunate in that I’ve met several, and one of my lifelong friends has two trans children, so from her I’ve been blessed to gain some insight into their struggles. But I am clearly in the minority. It is very easy to be afraid of something one doesn’t know or understand.

However, admitting that one may never have known an openly gay or transgender person, can we please look at facts instead of the fears that politicians love to play upon to get votes? The fact is that not one incident of a transgender person assaulting a child in a public restroom has ever been reported to law enforcement. Not ONE!!! Is it possible that a transgender person may also be a pedophile? Of course. Any anomaly is possible in any group, but it seems to me that these people, who are so often targets of the hate and ignorance stoked by by politicians hoping for votes, we would most likely would have heard of it by now. In face, like that one undocumented immigrant who raped and killed a woman gets shouted about over and over again, ignoring all the white citizens who do the same sort of thing in much greater numbers, if there were an incident in which a trans person committed such a crime, we would see that name and face all over Fox News and their numerous online presences until we are sick of it. Are there probably homosexuals who may also be pedophiles? Of course. Same as the previous story about the transgender citizens of this country. There can be criminals and predators in any group-any group at all. Including fundamentalists and republicans (as is evidenced by the targeting of several youths he coached in wrestling, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R, IL.) Mr. Hastert, by the way, identifies as a heterosexual male lthough his victims are all male.

Last year when former Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner announced his transition from male to female, with a new name, Kaitlyn, she was glammed up, featured on news stories and glossy magazine covers, and everywhere else, ad nauseum, and lauded for her bravery for months and months. She was offered new reality shows since she was no longer married to another famous reality star whose name I refuse to mention, and she would no longer be welcome on that particular program. I puzzled on Facebook what happened to transgender teens who weren’t worth millions, and didn’t have access to the best cosmetic surgeons, makeup artists, etc. Several people weighed in, until my very wise youngest sister, who is a retired educator, said, quite simply “That’s easy. They commit suicide.” It was such a simple answer, but so honest that it was like a slap in the face. “Wow,” I thought. That is absolutely true. People who do not conform to sexual norms commit suicide at a rate more than forty-percent higher than the rest of the population. If a young person identifies as transgender, or even gay in many cases, and their parent lack the resources or willingness to help and support them in accepting  themselves and their non-gender conforming identities, they are likely to be bullied, and even attacked for who they are. Sometimes the bullying and non-peer acceptance can be enough to make a young person believe there is no hope that things will ever get better. There was even a movement begun by journalist Dan Savage called “It Gets Better” to give hope to LGBTQ young people, to give them encouragement that the hopelessness and negativity they are experiencing will get better. The movement was designed for this purpose after several suicides of LGBTQ teens was reported; it gave a place for hope to young people who might even be contemplating suicide.

So, let’s get past the fear please! Let’s look at the reality of what is truly happening in public restrooms, even in red states like North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. In the article I cited from the Dallas Observer below, a man who is running for sheriff of Denton, TX (about 40 miles north east of Fort Worth) advocating violence against trans people in public restrooms. I am horrified by what I am reading and hearing on this issue. But please know, there are no transgender people in any restroom waiting to accost your children. What is more likely happening is that transgender people are hoping you are not armed;  you are not looking  to beat them up or commit other acts of violence against them. They just really want to go to the bathroom. In peace., Ellen DeGeneres is an American comedian, television talk show host, gay rights advocate, philanthropist who came out as lesbian in 1997, and married actor Portia DeRossi in 2008.

In the case of pedophilic disorder, the notable detail is what wasn’t revised in the new manual. Although proposals were discussed throughout the DSM-5 development process, diagnostic criteria ultimately remained the same as in DSM-IV TR. Only the disorder name will be changed from pedophilia to pedophilic disorder to maintain consistency with the chapter’s other listings.

pedophilia is termed pedophilic disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), and the manual defines it as a paraphilia involving intense and recurrent sexual urges towards and fantasies about prepubescent children that have either been acted upon or which cause the person with the attraction distress or interpersonal difficulty.[1] The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) defines it as a sexual preference for children of prepubertal or early pubertal a  Started in 2010 by journalist, gay activist and sex columnist Dan Savage to give hope to LGBT young people.



An Asshole By Any Other Name Still Stinks

And the white lion roars!

On April 6th America was treated to a video of a thirty-nine year old employee of Starbucks screaming at Florida governor, Republican Rick Scott because of his refusal as governor to expand Medicaid, and his cutting of funding to female reproductive clinics. As a result of his actions, the barista, and many other low wage women in Florida are not able to purchase health care insurance through President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”

What struck me about this video more than anything else was how many times she called the governor an asshole. When and why did this become our favorite pejorative? I found the  wonderful list above just by looking at a thesaurus site and searching for asshole synonyms. If you ask me, she should have called him a pilgarlic¹. That would have shown him!!!

Of course, his response showed the depth and maturity of the statesman Governor truly is; he made a video attacking her. Keep it classy, Governor. (Sarcasm.)

After I looked at the synonyms for asshole (which I truly expected would bring up anatomical terms) I searched “anus,” for which there are apparently no synonyms other than ‘asshole.’ Then I did a search for lists of pejoratives. This is an adventure that I chose not to undertake since the first lists had over two-hundred pages each. With all these choices of mean things to call each other, can we not be a little more creative? Especially with all the studies that have come out the last two or three years saying that we salty tongued folks tend to be smarter than average…is this the best we can do.

While we are at it, why do we take words that really mean something good and make them mean something bad? Why is ‘tool’ now a bad thing? If homo-sapiens had not learned to use tools we never would have survived, or come to both dominate and destroy the earth. Dick? This nickname for a penis? This is a male body part that is not only useful and necessary for a man, but can also bring great pleasure to a woman. Why is it now a nasty name to call a guy? There are others, but I’ll let go of the use of curses in the U.S.

I don’t really like talking about the 2016 presidential election, it has already been the most disgusting display of idiocy on the republican side that I have ever seen. My problem is that I see so many pluses and minuses for the two remaining democratic candidates that I’m not sure which way to go between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. In the beginning it was a slam-dunk for me, Bernie Sanders. Secretary Clinton² has much baggage from a few decades in public service, she’s too hawkish and not near as progressive as I. Sanders calls himself a “democratic socialist,” and is always at least a little, but sometimes a great lot, to the left of Secretary Clinton. But as a woman, and a feminist, her record of working to improve the lot of women and girls all over the world is stellar, as is her position on women’s reproductive rights, which is very important to me. But so is income inequality, which I am fairly sure that Bernie can be better trusted to address. I also have an impossible amount of student debt, which Bernie also promises to address. I don’t like Hillary’s hawkishness, but we do have a terrible threat, worldwide, from violent extremists, and her experience as Secretary of State may give her more insight how to deal with this threat.

So you see, this has to be the most consequential election of my lifetime. I never thought any election would matter as much as electing President Obama in 2008. But it isn’t just the presidential election that matters. If democrats don’t take back the senate and lots of state legislatures women will very soon, especially in the “Red” south, need to kiss reproductive choice, health and safety goodbye.

¹ “Pilgarlic” is an archaic word making fun of bald men.

² Hillary Clinton was President Obama’s Secretary of State during his first presidential term, 2009 to 2012,