Monthly Archives: September 2013

Battle of the Moms (Patch)

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There is a lot of bashing going on lately. We concern ourselves with the “War on Women” and rightfully so. But some of the major players in this war are women themselves. We are our own worst enemy in a time when divide and conquer seems to be a pretty effective strategy.

In the past couple years, women’s rights have been attacked and threatened on a gradually increasing basis. And now it is simply blatant without any attempt of disguise. Women’s health, contraception, right to choose, equal pay … are we honestly headed back to the days of the Don Drapers and scotch-laden business meetings?

Yesterday I saw the following post on a friend’s Facebook page:

An open letter to Ann Romney:

Dear Mrs. Romney,

Perhaps you can advise me. Since you have raised 5 boys, I’m sure you’ll understand. One of the kids is sick again and I have no sick days left at work. In fact, my boss gave me a bad performance review and no raise this year because he said I obviously don’t care that much about my job since I’ve missed so many days and if I miss anymore he may have to replace me. Whenever my child gets sick, my boss reminds me how easily I can be replaced.
We don’t have health insurance at my job, so, if my boy gets worse, I’ll probably be at the ER most of the night tonight. Not for the first time, but that’s ok, he’ll get care. It’s tomorrow I’m worried about.

As you know, regular day care will not take a sick child, so if I want to work when my child is sick, I have to pay for sick child day care, which costs as much as I make, and, as I’m sure you know from personal experience, I still have to pay my regular day care, whether my child is there or out sick, so I actually lose money in order to work while he’s sick. It’s that or take a chance on losing my job entirely.

Should I take my child to the day care for sick kids and lose money and not have enough for my bills this month, so I can keep my job, or should I stay home with my sick child and hope that I don’t get fired?

What did you do when this happened to you?

Sincerely,
Just Another Mom

And holy hell did it ensue all sorts of comments. Anything from blaming the woman for making bad choices to comparing the baby to an unnecessary sports car to hating on the rich was argued.

This was all sparked by comments made by Hilary Rosen, a Political Strategist. She said – clearly without forethought – that Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life. I can only assume what she meant was that Romney has never had to actually work outside her home in order to pay her bills. I think it was obvious that is what she was implying. Still, a poor choice of words in this hypersensitive environment.

The Republican/Conservative base returned the shot with a firestorm of pundit disgust. And in turn, Democrats/Liberals agreed with Rosen and clarified her statements with their own opinions about how much easier life is for rich mothers.

My first reaction was on the side of the latter. In my view, there is no way that a woman with those means – nannies, housekeepers, gardeners – can compare her workload to that of the average mother.

About nine years ago, I decided to stay home with my step-daughter. She needed daycare and I was not making enough money to justify high child care expenses. I continued to stay home after my daughter was born as well. I felt very judged by others. People thought I was lazy, had it made and seemed to lose respect for me. It was hurtful. It is not that I was able to stay home because we were rich. Then, and now, we live paycheck to paycheck. I simply had to budget and cut as needed. And yes, like most Americans, we do have debt.

Because of my experiences, I was offended by Romney’s comparison. But after thinking about it, I realized how we, as women and as mothers, are so quick to judge how others choose to live their lives. And that includes bashing the rich mom with nannies.

Women criticize each other about breastfeeding, working, childbirth choices, baby carriers. Anything involved with raising children – there is a mom out there who will disapprove of your methods. I am clearly not an exception. I have judged and I have been judged.

This war on women is getting out of hand. But how can we expect the men to stop using us as ammunition if we cannot stop shooting at each other?

Original story HERE

Kohl-Riggs for Governor? (Patch)

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UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that I have made an error in my original commentary. It seems that one can indeed vote for a Democratic Senator candidate while voting for a Republican Governor candidate. Please see below:

http://gab.wi.gov/node/2324

“The primary ballot and voting equipment will need to be prepared to treat each of the recall offices separately. This election will not be set-up like a normal partisan primary. Only candidates within a party that faces opposition will show up on the primary ballot. Candidates within a party that does not have opposition will not appear on the primary ballot. Additionally, Independent candidates will not appear on the primary ballot. Ballots and voting equipment will not have a party preference, as this primary will allow a voter to vote for only one candidate for each office, regardless of partisan affiliation. For example, a voter can vote for a Republican Governor candidate, and a Democratic Lt. Governor candidate. Although all offices will appear on one ballot, each office is separate and there are no partisan restrictions.”

Original: Late night talk show hosts and the like sure had a lot of fun with the recent collection of who-ha’s during this Republican primary race. I mean, really, it was like choosing between Muppet characters. But liberals, progressives, democrats – however described – have little room to laugh.

Right now, in Wisconsin, the chief goal is to unseat Walker. And I am not convinced that the final list of opponents will be able to accomplish this crucial task.

Many people stood outside in the blistering cold, in soaking downpours and opened themselves up to much aggression in order to gather signatures to force this gubernatorial recall. To think that all of that effort will be in vain – it’s like a kick in the neck.

But wait. In the spirit of all the ridicudonk game play which has taken over Wisconsin politics, an interesting situation has arisen. A 23-year-old man named Arthur Kohl-Riggs has thrown his cowbell into the ring and is running as a Republican on the primary ballot against Walker. While many may question or criticize his motivations, it is a clever way to oust the Governor before the recall election even begins.

While it may not be popular to admit, there are many of us who are less than electrified about any particular Democratic/Independent candidate. I, for one, want to be sure that I am voting for the candidate who will beat Walker in that June recall election. Voting for Kohl-Riggs may just be the solution to our political pickle.

Problem is: voters who have senate recalls would be giving up that vote. I couldn’t vote for Kohl-Riggs AND Lehman, for example. BUT there are many disctricts in Wisconsin which are not having senate recalls. How many of those voters will vote for fake Repubilcans?

I would like to say how disappointed I am in Russ Feingold. Two years. He couldn’t give us TWO YEARS?? With him on the ticket, I have no doubt that he would have knocked Walker on his fanny. Wisconsin needed him for this race. But I suppose we turned our backs on him not long ago and he has wiped his hands clean of our ungrateful apathy. Oh well, so much for high hopes.

I don’t have strong opinions about any of the , really. And that is exactly the problem. None of these people have the excitability we need to get people to the polls and vote out this devastating Governor.

There are a couple people in the running whom I honestly think would make decent candidates. But that is not the issue. Sadly, right now, it isn’t about who is the best person for the job, it is about who can get elected. Shocking? Sad? Pathetic? Perhaps. But true. In a couple of years we can put more energy into getting the very best person in; but right now, we need to focus on getting the very worst out.

There are many things about Vinehout that I think make her appealing. The independent Trivedi also has a few intriguing qualities. And I did vote for Barrett in the last gubernatorial election. But I do not have a comfortable confidence that any of these candidates will win against Walker – and the stakes are simply too high.

We live in an environment of misinformation, hostility and polarization. I am sorry to say that I just do not know what the majority of the public will do. I never expected the results we had when Walker was elected. Will individuals be choosing our next Governor or will corporations and unions have complete control?

Many people are questioning the legality or even the morality of “fake” Democrats running in the recall races. I had little doubt that Mielke, who was running as a democrat against Wanggaard, was indeed a fake and that . In the past year, there has been so much…how to put this nicely…tomfoolery in our state politics that it all seems like some reality show game of strategy. I am no longer surprised by anything.

I have often complained about our rules for primary elections. I feel that we should be able to vote for both Democrat and Republican candidates (eventually, I would love to be rid of the whole two party system all together). And in the past, there were times I felt my vote would be better used voting for a candidate I didn’t necessarily want to see in office.

At first it felt wrong voting that way, but then I realized our rules force us to choose and half the time we are voting for the least of the worst anyway. So, because of that, I have a feeling there will be a lot of liberal “Republicans” voting on May 8.

Original story HERE

The Legacy of Grandpa Jerry (Patch)

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I spent last week on a trip to Connecticut. We drove 18 hours straight each way and boy, my age is sure showing. I am still exhausted. But it was all more than worth it.

Our trip was not a festive one. It was not a vacation or a respite of any kind. Our last minute travel was due to a sad event, the funeral of my husband’s grandfather. What I learned about Grandpa Jerry during those 4 days was inspiring to say the least. And it was clear that the family is, indeed, experiencing a great loss.

Jerry Shaff was a father, husband, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle, brother, inventor, writer and a man full of lessons, humor and morals.

Jerry had five children, four step children, 19 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. When we visited with his wife of 30 years, Carole, on our day of arrival, the first thing I noticed was a home filled with family. Children were running around with playful innocence. Friends and relatives filled the rooms with pictures and stories. There were many tears, but also laughter and hugs. There was no denying that this was a man who was loved and respected.

Jerry was a Mount Pleasant native who was employed by Walker Manufacturing for many years and worked his way up to Executive Vice President of Marketing.  He was the inventor of the aftermarket catalytic convertor during his many years in the automotive industry. He authored and published a novel called If My Boss Calls…Get His Name.  And Jerry owned and operated a rewarding business in Connecticut prior to retiring in 2009. He was a hard-working and dedicated employee and a caring and successful boss.

If a family member or friend came across hard times, he would do what he could to help. There were many times he and his wife would take families into their home. Whether it was a ride to choir practice or money for college, Jerry was generous with his time, money and heart.

Spending time with his family was very important to Jerry. Carloads of kids to Great America or to a cabin in Spider Lake are fond memories carried by his children and grandchildren. Attending plays, concerts and musicals with his kids as they were growing up was an effective way to pass down his love of the arts.

I have unfortunately been to many, many funerals in my 38 years. This service was very different than any other I have experienced.

The most moving and heart breaking part of the day was during the procession. Jerry loved his beautiful Connecticut home and his wife wished to drive by the home on the way to the gravesite. As we slowly drove by, all the younger grandchildren stood in the drive way and waved. Tears streamed down my husband’s face and I knew he was remembering the days of being one of those young grandchildren playing in his grandfather’s driveway in Mount Pleasant.

It was a Jewish graveside service which paid honor to Jerry’s Russian Jewish heritage. His wife and children were given black mourning ribbons which the Rabbi tore to represent a broken heart. Some of the service was given in Hebrew. And the immediate family placed dirt onto the coffin with an upturned shovel.

Later, there was a celebration of life brunch at a lovely restaurant. During this portion of the events is when I truly became impressed. People were invited to stand before the crowd and speak about Jerry; share stories or simply say how much he meant to their lives. Again, I have never witnessed this before. Person after person walked up to the podium and through tears and laughter spoke of this man so eloquently and heartfully. We can all only wish leave a legacy such as his.

We are always reminded of our own mortality when someone in our lives passes away. For a few days, if we’re lucky, we hold this reality close and appreciate all we have in each moment. But then this mentality slowly reverts back to our daily lives and we continue to live as though we are given forever. This is natural for most of us, I think. If we lived in constant awareness of our fate, we’d likely not be equipped to deal with our day to day existence. And trust me, as a person with a pretty significant death phobia; it’s not healthy for mortality to be in the constant forefront of one’s mind.

But I notice, as I grow older, these realizations creep in more often. I look at the life Jerry led and I contemplate how I can manifest a life that would create such pride from my own family. I look at the grief in my husband’s eyes and look forward to the kind of grandfather he will, with all hopes, one day become. I see the pride Jerry’s children have when they speak about him and their experiences and I can only hope to leave in my wake just a smidgen of that kind of admiration.

Losing someone is always painful. And while that pain may fade with time, it never disappears completely. But as sad as death can be – it also serves as a harsh reminder of how little time we truly have, how we can use each day to build the legacy we will one day leave behind and how very important it is, in this moment, to love and acknowledge those we cherish in our lives.

My heart goes out to my extended family and my hopes are that they are comforted by love and memories. I wish I had known Jerry better and for longer. It is clear that having known him at all was a treasure for which to be grateful.

Original story HERE

Perpetuated Fears Brought to You by the NRA (Patch)

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The recent shootings of Bo Morrison of West Bend, WI and of Sanford, FL have certainly sparked all kinds of outrage and are bringing about some much needed conversation. Morrison, 20, and Martin, 17 were both African American boys who were legally shot to death according to state laws.

One factor many are focusing on is race. Were these shootings racially motivated? Were these hate crimes shrouded by right winged laws? Were the shooters innately racist? Most of us will never truly know the answers to these questions. The people who know the shooters, Adam Kind and George Zimmerman, may have a better idea of the men’s true intentions. But right now, allwe can do is speculate.

And while we cannot say it is certain that these young men lost their lives due to their skin color, there is no doubt that in our culture, white people are taught to fear black men. These stories would likely be quite different had the race of the victims and the shooters been different. Right or wrong, the media coverage would be non-existent. And what kind of outrage would there be if a black man shot a young white boy? Would the gun toters be just as defensive?

I am not going to write about the race aspect of these cases. We all know that racism exists and has been seeping from the woodwork more and more as extremists are becoming normalized in our communities.

While I cannot positively say that these shooters were racist or acted in a way that displayed their possibly subconscious fear of black men; I can say that our gun laws have gotten out of hand and are aiming in the very opposite direction of where they should be headed.

Since the passing of Concealed Carry in Wisconsin, I have never in my life seen so many people wearing their weapons as some kind of prideful crest. I never imagined people getting outrageously excited and thrilled to be carrying a piece of metal with the ability to purposefully end one’s life. Yes, a car can end lives too, but that is not its sole purpose.

The passing of the Castle Doctrine gives further protections to homeowners who shoot to kill whenever they may “feel” threatened. And how subjective is that?! There are two men. And one is dead. All authorities can do is simply accept the testimony of the shooter stating he felt in harm’s way. Are we just supposed to trust that what these people say is the truth? And where does it stop? Killing a person for breaking into a car perhaps? Is a life equal to an inanimate object? REALLY? I know several people who in their youth did plenty of really stupid things. They now are respectable, responsible fathers, mothers, and mentors. If those things happened today – they could be dead with little questions asked.

. The risks far outweigh the benefits and we need FEWER guns in the hands of people – not more!!

In the case of Trayvon Martin and this ridiculous “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida. Stand your ground, really?? Has it honestly come to that kind of chest beating pissing contest where we have such little value for life that retreating is considered such a bad thing? Whether Zimmerman was a racist or not, he followed that boy. And yeah, perhaps they did scuffle. Maybe Martin was standing HIS ground – but doing so with fists instead of a gun! How would you feel if a man almost double your size was following you holding a weapon? Give me a break!!

There are too many people in this country who are disturbed, drunk, racist, hating, fearful, abusive, angry, violent … I could go on and on. How can anyone think that adding less-restrictive gun laws to this cocktail of crazy would be beneficial to our society?

Trayvon was armed with nothing more than a bag of Skittles and an Iced Tea. Bo was hiding after being kicked out of a drinking party (I seem to remember plenty of parties ending in this fashion back in the day) and was also unarmed. If Kind and Zimmerman had not been packin’ – two people would still be alive today and all of the people in this subsequent agony would have been spared.

My husband works for the phone company. He works after dark and often has to go into backyards. He has come across some pretty strange people to say the least. What is to stop one of these people (after an evening of throwing back a few brews) from acting out his Mortal Combat avatar and deciding to take a shot at my husband? He can easily say he felt threatened or fearful because of my husband’s disguising, company-mandated hoodie which he does wear over his head in the rain, much like Trayvon.

I suggest you read THIS article and learn exactly why these laws are creeping up all over the country. Learn why fear is being intentionally spread through legislation and our media. It isn’t coincidence and it isn’t an accident. This is purposeful, this is manipulating greed and this is just one part of an absolute takeover by extremist powers that we are allowing to infiltrate every branch of our government.

Original story HERE

Random Thoughts on Racine School District (Patch)

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Unfortunately, I cannot make it to the Racine Unified District meetings because of my husband’s work schedule. As soon as that changes, so will my attendance. So I have to admit that throughout the years, and currently, I am not as aware or educated as I should be on the issues facing RUSD and the controversies that have arisen.

However, I am not left without opinion on certain issues. And some of those have been touched upon recently as the elections draw near.

I would like to just make some points in light of what I have read in past weeks:

The Doctor Police

Educators have a right to see a physician when they deem necessary. Candidate Brian Dey thinks that raising healthcare deductibles is beneficial because it stops employees from using healthcare services for issues he views as unnecessary. I don’t think one person or even a group of people have any right to tell a person who has earned their healthcare coverage when they should or shouldn’t visit a doctor. Perhaps usage will go down. But how do we know they might be choosing financial stability while sacrificing their health? The sooner an illness is caught and treated, the better it is for everyone. Statements like this and his support of vouchers (which I have ) would make it difficult for me to vote for Mr. Dey.

11 Year Old Grown Ups; Its Creepy

There are a couple things, however, of which I do agree with Brian Dey. The first being moving sixth grade back into elementary schools and moving ninth grade into middle school. I have felt this way since I was in high school. We live in a society where we force our children to grow up much too fast. This puts them into inappropriate situations and gives them stresses for which they are not prepared.

At The REAL School, they recently had a Winter Formal. Most of the attendees were the middle school students. However, it was open to the whole school and there were some high school students in attendance. Many of the young girls (as young as 11 years old) were wearing high heels, strapless dresses and faces full of makeup. Again, ELEVEN years old. While I was told that the dance was handled well by adult chaperones and was really quite an innocent event, I still feel very uncomfortable with situations such as this.

Not only do I feel young children should not be dressing and acting like grownups, I also do not feel that an 11-year-old should be attending social events like dances with 15, 16, 17 year olds. The maturity gap is far too wide and the social dangers are far too complicated. I was told by one person that a child had to be taken out of the school because as a sixth grader, she had a 16 year old boyfriend. As a mother of girls, that makes my stomach churn.

Even if safety precautions are put into place, I do not feel the opportunity should even be there. Let’s stop trying to turn our children into miniature adults, allow them to be kids and stop acting as though they are our friends instead of our kids.

I am not sure if these have anything to do with Dey’s position on the matter – these are simply my reasons for wanting to push the grades back.

Project Runway: Classroom Edition

Uniforms. I will preach about this until SOMEONE hears me. I cannot tell you how strongly I believe that simple, basic uniforms would improve our district tenfold. There will be less distraction, less competition, less inappropriate situations and more focus where it should be – on school work.

The idea that kids need a certain outfit to express their individuality is a bunch of crap. If you are teaching your child that it’s all in the clothing, then you are going to have much bigger issues to deal with. You express yourself with your thoughts, with your voice, with your actions. There is no way a pair of khakis and a polo are going to stunt your child’s creative growth – and if it does, chances are it had no shot to begin with.

When I was in school I would spend many nights trying to figure out what I was going to wear the following day that wouldn’t leave me in the outcast pile. I only had a couple pairs of jeans. I had to make sure I alternated so I never wore them 2 days in a row; believe me, it was noticed. We couldn’t afford the brand names that many kids seemed all too giddy to point out. Because I didn’t have an upside down triangle on my pocket, I felt inferior as silly as that sounds. Going to school was like going to a pageant – and you were most certainly being judged. Uniforms will level the playing field and take away that insecurity and competition.

The way many kids dress today makes me gasp and I am no prude. I saw a fifth grader with jeans so tight you could read the year on the penny in her back pocket. Her eyeliner was thicker than a member of a heavy metal band. I felt sad for her. Boys wear pants that hang off their butts showing us nothing but their underwear. I see young girls with shorts that say “Hottie” on the backside and tops that say “Call me.”

Kids need to be comfortable, they need to be able to run around at recess, they need to focus on why they are at school. A child worrying about what to wear each day should never, ever be an issue. Period. I want uniforms in our schools!!

I recently emailed the candidates (the ones who are publicly reachable) asking them about their feelings on these issues. That was well over a week ago. I have yet to hear a peep. It seems to me that with an election so near, these candidates would make themselves highly visible and available. I have no interest in voting for someone who will ignore their constituents. But like I said, it has only been a little over a week and I am sure they are busy. Hopefully I will hear back before April 3.

Original story HERE

Does My Sense of Humor Make Me a Racist? (Patch)

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Usually when I write a commentary, I have a pretty definitive opinion or particular stance on a topic. I attempt to convey that position and offer reasons for my views. Today, however, I am merely expressing an internal conundrum as I try to reconcile a duality in my beliefs.

I am a huge fan of comedy, specifically standup comedy. Some of my favorite performers are also some of the most “offensive” or “inappropriate” artists. Lisa LampenelliDaniel ToshChelsea HandlerSarah SilvermanKathy Griffin – the list goes on. It started many years ago when I was a child and would sneak into our den and listen to my parents’ comedy albums featuring Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor and George Carlin. Many of the comedians I enjoy often use humor which some might consider racist, sexist or homophobic. And these are the jokes that typically get the most laughs.

If you know me, you know that I despise racism, sexism and homophobia. I am loud about my beliefs for equality and always have been. In 11th grade, I was sent to the principal’s office for arguing (MAY have used an expletive…oops) with a history teacher when he announced to the class that being gay was wrong and a choice. I have no problem defending what I believe.

I have tickets to see Daniel Tosh in April. There is no doubt in my mind that there will be A LOT of gasp-inducing jokes about slutty, fat women or black gang members. There is also little doubt that I will leave there with side stitches. So how do I reconcile my moral side with my humor side?

I think a lot of it has to do with intention, delivery and the comedians themselves.

When a performer is telling jokes he or she is doing so not out of malice, anger or fear. They are bringing to light topics which most people feel uncomfortable speaking about. They are showing us the ridiculousness of our own ignorances and prejudices. They are playing a character and do not truly believe the things they are saying. If your drunk neighbor is ranting on with similar words in his garage after looking over his shoulder…that displays a different intent.

Many of these comedians have long ago cultivated a persona – a caricature if you will. They use this persona on stage to bring up subject matter that most of us are taught from which to stay far, far away. They may bring up the most popular generalizations or things people think but never say or topics so far out there that they shock the audience with the “No way!!” effect.

I think another aspect important to consider is the idea of ‘equal opportunity offenders.’ Meaning, the comedian doesn’t ONLY make fun of gay people or Mexicans. They make fun of EVERYONE. No one group should leave feeling singled out or left out. From dumb blondes to Irish red heads – every offendable base is usually covered when a successful comedian of this kind performs.

And the most important thing – it has to be funny. You can recognize when a joke is made out of hate. And if you are not a funny comedian, you should probably shut it. This is why some celebrities get in trouble. They are not funny, they are not comedians and they picked on one particular group of people. So Michael Richards’ rant about black people was just that – a rant. Not a comedy routine.

I guess I have always been such a fan of comedy and humor that I could never really pick a topic in which I would consider always and completely off limits. The right time, the right audience, the right performer, the right context…if everything falls into place, I don’t think there is anything that cannot be made into something funny at some point. At least I don’t exclude it from possibility.

So, while I am laughing at these jokes – many times through a hand covered mouth– I cannot help but wonder, “Should I be laughing at this?” “Am I a racist?” But right or wrong, I usually answer myself with, “Relax. It’s funny. Now, where’s my wine and Milk Duds?”

What makes you laugh? What do you think should be off limits? Who are some of your favorite comedians?

(Note: links provided aren’t favorites of mine, but it was very difficult to find examples of the humor I am describing and at the same time does not contain copious amounts of swearing)

Original story HERE

Equating Abortion to Infanticide is Twisted (Patch)

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I have several friends whom have had abortions. Some of them have deep regret and sadness daily due to their decision. Some of them choose not to think about it. And some realize it was the best choice to make at that time and have moved on. But none of them consider it a casual occurrence. None of them think it was an easy choice. And certainly none of them could or should be looked upon as murderers.

Last week, Patch blogger J.B. Schmidt Schmidt equated abortion to infanticide and attempted to make comparisons saying that having an abortion is in many ways no different than killing a one-year-old child. I found his words not only disturbing and offensive, but also complete and utter nonsense. The extremism seems nothing more than either a need for attention or desperation for readers.

I am sure regular readers will have no big surprise reaction to my being pro-choice. But perhaps it is important to realize my reasons, my logic and my limits.

The author of said blog stated that there is a practice already in place in Europe where infants/newborns are being killed as post-birth abortions and contends that we should fear (fear, what a foreign concept for argumentative conservatives, eh?) that this practice is headed overseas right to our shores. Honestly? Are we really supposed to accept this as fact and just all form into a mob of mass hysteria? Please.

Some people say that abortion should only be legal in cases of incest or rape. But I ask you – if you truly believe that abortion is murder, then why is it ok to “kill” some “babies” and not others? Are the souls of the babies conceived out of rape somehow less valid?

Scientists for many years have been trying to determine when a fetus can feel pain and when the development of consciousness occurs. To this day, there is no consensus. Many professionals agree that pain is not realized until 29 weeks of gestation. Others believe it is much sooner at 20 weeks. And when a consciousness becomes present is something that just cannot be tested or proven at this time.

As humans we have our body vessels, our ego and our consciousness. At least, this is how I see it. Our bodies eventually develop in ways which can respond to stimuli, feel pain, feel pleasure, communicate and such. Our egos have emotion, react to others, and propel us into action. And our consciousness is what makes us who we are. I believe it is in existence before we are born and after we die. It is our energy. At what point does the consciousness enter the body? I do not know.

There are world renowned psychics who believe that miscarriages and abortions are chosen by the consciousness as part of a karmic plan. The soul chooses that path with the purpose to further their own growth in the spirit world as well as assist in delivering lessons to the parents. They believe it is all part of a life contract we write before we come to this life.

What it boils down to is the question of when does a fetus become a person. And this is, at this time, a matter of opinion and nothing more. However, what can’t be disputed is that a human woman of child bearing age is indeed a person. That is why the rights of the woman must take precedence. And it is her opinion, and her opinion only, about the personhood of the fetus that truly matters. Not the government, the church or any activist group.

It is my belief that when a fetus is viable outside of the womb, when a fetus can indeed feel pain – this is when I feel it is much too late to have an abortion. It is at this stage when I would not defend the action. And honestly, I have a hard time with any abortion after the first month or two. But this is only my own personal belief. And I cannot push my opinion onto others by way of law or condemnation.

I feel it is also inconsistent that right-to-lifers are also usually against euthanasia. If humans have a right to life, would they not also have a right to death? We know that born humans can indeed feel pain and make choices (in most cases). Would they not have the right to make a choice to stop the pain?

And then there is the matter of the death penalty. By supporting corporal punishment, we are imposing our beliefs about which souls have more right to life than others. We are choosing who should live or die by ego-made beliefs.

It is estimated that 55 to 65 percent of all conceptions are spontaneously expelled. Typically the woman didn’t even know she was pregnant. An additional 10 to 15 percent are miscarried later in the pregnancy. There are no death certificates assigned to these fetuses. Would this be considered unintentional homicide? Of course not.

“I am pro-choice. Very, very pro-choice. But I don’t think I could ever make that decision for myself again, unless it was an extreme situation. But do I still regret it now? Not at all,” shares Angela who made the difficult decision to have an abortion at age 19, “I had regret right after, but I don’t see that as a bad thing. I cried uncontrollably for two straight days. I think it was necessary for me to really process the scope of it all. I had a hard decision to make and when it was done I processed the sadness I felt. I accept that pain as a part of life, as a part of my experiences growing wiser.”

Another woman shared with me about her decision to have an abortion decades ago, “It still haunts me today and I will never forgive myself.”

Women do not have abortions as though they are shopping for shoes. It is a gut wrenching choice they live with in some capacity for the rest of their lives. It is never forgotten – by many of the fathers either. It is a horrible choice to have to make. Minimizing that decision is insulting and heartless. And equating it to murdering a born child is simply sick and twisted.

 

Original story HERE 

Prescription for Trouble: Part Two (Patch)

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I shared some personal stories as did a couple of commenters. Today I want to discuss some statistics and touch on the power of the pharmaceutical industry.

According to the CDC, “Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic. Throughout the nation, it is a growing problem with no signs of slowing down.”

And here are some more scary facts about the pills which are possibly lurking in your medicine cabinets:

  • Currently, there is enough Vicodin prescribed to provide every American 5mg every 4 hours for 3 weeks.
  • Opiate related deaths from 1999-2007 rose from 2901 to 11499 – a 296% increase.
  • Nationwide, prescription drug use averages 1.5 prescriptions per month for all Americans under age 65 and almost 4 per month for Americans over age 65.
  • In Wisconsin, 5.5 million prescriptions were dispensed each month in 2009.
  • Between 2007 and 2008, 15% of Wisconsin adults reported using pain relievers for non-medical purposes.
  • National trends show that, in many states, prescription drug use has now overtaken marijuana use as the most common drug used by youth.
  • In Wisconsin, prescription drugs are the second most common drug used for recreational purposes after marijuana.
  • In 2009, 20.5% of Wisconsin high school students reported ever taking a prescription drug without a doctor’s prescription.
  • Prescription drugs are now involved in more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.
  • Overdose deaths from prescription drugs have outnumbered deaths from car crashes in the U.S. for the first time ever.
  • During the first six month of 2010, prescription drugs were involved in 78% of the fatal overdoses in Milwaukee County – up 70% from 2002.
  • During the first six months of 2010, nearly two out of every three fatal overdoses in Milwaukee County were caused by prescription drugs alone – these do not include suicides.

While jail cells are occupied with those who may have been caught with some weed, in some cities, people in more serious drug cases are being sent home due to overcrowding.  I have yet to hear of a case of marijuana directly causing death.

I think we all know the power of Big Pharma in our country. They want to keep us medicated and perhaps even addicted – more profits for them. They lavish our doctors with gifts, dinners and game tickets in hopes to sprinkle their offices with free samples to get people “hooked.” I remember hearing stories of drug dealers tempting kids on playgrounds with little baggies of cocaine or meth. They would give them out for free to give birth to a new addiction, thus providing themselves with future customers. How is this much different, really?

Marijuana has side effects: increased appetite, slow response, feelings of euphoria and laziness.

Here is a list of side effects of a common antidepressant advertised in just about every adult magazine (chosen randomly):  abnormal thinking; chest pain; confusion; fainting; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; fever, chills, sore throat; increased sweating; involuntary movements of the tongue, face, mouth, jaw, arms, legs, or back (eg, chewing movements, puckering of mouth, puffing of cheeks); loss of control over urination; loss of coordination; muscle tremor, jerking, or stiffness; new or worsening mental or mood problems (eg, anxiety, depression, agitation, panic attacks, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, irritability, hostility, exaggerated feeling of well-being, inability to sit still); one-sided weakness; seizures; severe or persistent restlessness; shortness of breath; suicidal thoughts or attempts; swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet; symptoms of high blood sugar (eg, increased thirst, urination, or appetite; unusual weakness); trouble swallowing; trouble walking; unusual bruising; unusual tiredness or weakness; vision or speech changes.

Here is a list of side effects from a heavier drug, one more typically abused: Constipation, Dimness in vision, Dizziness, Drowsiness, Dry mouth, Fatigue, Headache, Itching reflex, Lightheadedness, Nausea, Sleeplessness, Sweating from shock, Vomiting, Weakness, Abdominal pain, Anxiety, Diarrhea, Euphoria, Hiccups, Loss of appetite, Nervousness, Short or painful breathing (dyspnea), Impotence, Enlarged prostate gland, Decreased testosterone secretion, Confusion, Difficulty urinating, Fainting, Fast or slow heartbeat, Lightheadedness, Seizures, Severe dizziness, Slowed or difficult breathing, Tremor, Vision changes, Low resting heart rate, Cold, clammy skin, Suspended breathing, Abnormally low blood pressure, Pupil constriction, Circulatory collapse, Respiratory arrest, Death

Point being, we have drugs in almost every home that are potentially deadly or harmful.

Many people do, in fact, need these medications as they are prescribed. And I am more than supportive of individuals taking the medications they need to survive or maintain a quality of life. My intent is by no means to downplay the importance of that. However, there is no argument about the dangers which seem to be cloaked by a prescription pad. Parents are quick to lecture and punish if they smell marijuana on the clothing of their children – as they should. But their medicine cabinets are well within reach. There is no obvious smell to those pills and the consequences could be much more severe.

We have drug companies running our medical communities by pushing their products, keeping people dependant and lobbying in Washington to keep safer options at bay. Masking symptoms while carrying the knowledge of possible debilitating withdrawal symptoms and side effects is most profitable. This also makes curing illnesses that much less likely. There is no money in a cure.

This is a scary thing, people. Something I hope you will start paying attention to in your own homes and communities. This doesn’t just happen in Hollywood and is not just a topic for Celebrity Rehab.

 

Original story HERE

A Prescription for Trouble: Part One (Patch)

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Heath Ledger, Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson, Britney Murphy and now, perhaps, Whitney Houston are just a few names on a very long list of prescription contributed celebrity deaths. We watch TMZ and E! delve into their short lives and untimely demise. We may post about it on Facebook, share our shock or sadness, but soon enough, it is a long forgotten tragedy until the next one arises.

What many of us may not consider is Joe, Shelly or Mike who also suffered the same exact consequences. People in our own families, our neighborhoods, and our communities are dead because of that little orange bottle labeled with a doctor’s name and instructions. Take two and call me in the morning has turned into…take 12 and if you still feel bad…maybe we’ll add another.

Let me preface this by saying that MOST doctors are responsible and I have had some pretty great physicians in the past decade. So, some individual situations have not been with my typical caregivers.

I have been prescribed oxycodone a number of times in my life. So has my husband. Each time, the script was never filled because Tylenol was sufficient. These medications, more powerful than most drugs on the “street,” are handed out like candy. And this isn’t just the case with painkillers. Psychiatric drugs are a HUGE push all over the country. And if one doesn’t work, they simply add another to it or raise the dose and before ya know it, a person with typical depression may be on a cocktail of medications which side effects are often worst than the original malady.

I was put on a very popular anti-depressant several years ago. It worked fairly well for a while, but then suddenly it had little effect on me – yet the negative reactions remained. My doctor (at the time) and I worked out a tapering schedule so that I could safely wean off of the medication. There is a commercial on TV for this very medication every hour. “How hard could this be,” I thought.  Well, it ended up being one of the most difficult periods in my entire life.

I felt I was withdrawing from heroine. And I came to learn later that the withdrawal is often quite similar. I was physically sick for a good four weeks. And I cannot even explain crap that was going through my mind. I honestly thought I was going insane. As the withdrawal ran its course (using the safest possible taper methods), I finally began to feel better. Once out of that hell, I had to wonder…what kind of poison had I been on??

Point being, this medication is thought of as pretty benign. But it was so powerful that it made me sick as a dog both physically and mentally and it even changed my eyesight!! Honestly. I had an eye exam a month before starting it and then again a month after. My prescription changed in two months to the point where I had to buy new glasses.

As horrible as this situation was for me, it is nothing compared to what some people go through with prescription medication. Both my uncle (who was in his 40s) and his son (who was in his 20s) died after ingesting commonly prescribed medications. On two separate occasions, their addictions led them to their demise. Xanax and oxycodone were players in these deaths. Both are very commonly prescribed and abused medications.

I realize completely that there has to be an element of personal responsibility. With any addiction or drug abuse, the person is choosing their actions…at first. But we must remember that addiction is a disease and these medications may have at one time been prescribed and their use started innocently. Some people are more prone to addiction and seem to need more to reap the benefits. And yes, there are many cases when these drugs were simply easily accessible and tried for recreational reasons.

When I was quitting smoking, it was amazing what a hold those cigarettes had on my body and mind. When I was quitting those antidepressants, I am sure starting them again would have taken away my pain. I have been very lucky (and grateful) that I have not been trapped in a cycle like my uncle or cousin or thousands of other Americans each year.

I once called my father’s doctor because I rarely believed what he told me after years of stories, fabrications and lies. I wanted to know his true condition and this was a time shortly before HIPPA laws were enacted.

“The only physician your father listens to or complies with is his pain doctor…the one who prescribes his meds.”

I was furious. He was furious I had called. And about one year later, he was dead. At the age of 46 he died from diabetic complications. There is no doubt in my mind that his addiction to prescription drugs contributed to his death.

“Do not ever touch these. They could kill a horse instantly,” he would warn me to make sure I stayed away from his stash. My father had the build of a linebacker. I can only imagine what they would have done to me.

Next week, please look for part two when I share with you some important facts, statistics and the role Big Pharma plays in this epidemic.

Original story HERE

Keep Your Crucifix Off of My Cervix (Patch)

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Rick Santorum and his tea party buddies are all about freedom. That is all these self proclaimed patriots speak about. Freedom. But one thing they seem to leave out – this freedom they whine about is really only for white, Christian men. If you have a vagina – you can simply stuff your freedom in a sack and call it a day.

Listening to the U.S. House of Representatives hearings on birth control coverage yesterday morning was irritating my uterus. Seriously, she’s angry and wishes she could speak. So I will speak for her.

How DARE these GOP members of our political landscape yap about freedom while they are sucking on the teat of the religious right and telling us what we should do with our bodies, whom we should marry and what medications to which we should be entitled? How dare they.

Rick Santorum recently spouted about the Obama administration, “”Don’t you see how they see you? How they look down their nose at the average Americans. These elite snobs!” Really, Rick? THEY are the snobs?? Wow. Are we living in Bizarro World?

I worked for a local religious organization – a very huge employer in our area. I was in my early twenties and was denied birth control coverage through the insurance I earned because it was a “Catholic organization.” So even though I worked full time, I had to use the services of Planned Parenthood because my seven bucks an hour was not enough to pay rent, utilities, car payment AND birth control.

But they want to get rid of Planned Parenthood too, right? And abortion is “murder,” right?? Well it seems to me that if more people had proper insurance coverage and access to affordable healthcare, there would be less need for organizations like Planned Parenthood. And it is crystal flippin’ clear that if more women took birth control, there would be far fewer abortions now wouldn’t there??!!

It is very obvious. According to these hypocritical radicals, you are only allowed to have sex if you intend on making, raising and paying for a child. How many people can honestly look me in the virtual eye and tell me they agree with this? Because a sex-free life really works great for so many Priests, right?

Listen, just because most of us do not want to be baby factories like Mrs. Dugger, that doesn’t make us abnormal or wrong. Just because most of us have a healthy, typical sex life, that doesn’t make us abnormal or wrong. I think Mr. Santorum has lived a pent up life and has blamed women ever since.  Ignored in college were ya, poor guy??

“No woman’s health should depend on who she is or where she works or how much money she makes,” said President Obama.

“Women’s health care should not depend on who the boss is,” stated Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky

Exactly. What people need to realize is that women do not only take birth control because they are a bunch of sex-crazed hussies.

While working at that Catholic organization, I worked with a young woman who was still a virgin. She absolutely HAD to take birth control pills due to a very painful condition called endometriosis. There are woman who have to take it to control heavy menstrual bleeding and debilitating cramps. Some take it for ovarian disorders and to avoid certain forms of cancer.

This is not merely a sex issue; birth control is a women’s health issue.

Here are some facts:

  • The birth control benefit doesn’t apply to churches and places of worship. Approximately 335,000 of them are already exempt. (Planned Parenthood)
  • 11.2 Million of U.S. women ages 15-44 use oral contraceptives (CDC)
  • Over 600 Physicians (70 of which are Catholic) have spoken out in favor of HHS Contraceptive ruling (Doctors for America)
  • 99% of all sexually experienced women and 98% of sexually experienced Catholic women will use birth control at some point in their lives. (Planned Parenthood)
  • Birth control is not abortion. No abortion drugs are covered by this benefit. (Planned Parenthood)

That upsetting hearing in D.C. consisted of almost all men. Only two women testified and they were against birth control. None of the people who testified had medical experience or knowledge. How is that a fair hearing? How is that even allowed to be a part of our governmental process??

Fact is, no one is telling anyone that they have to take birth control. No one is making churches pay for birth control. But when a religious entity wants to get into the employment realm, they need to follow the rules like any other employer.

Insurance companies covering birth control is a lot cheaper for everyone than thousands of unplanned, unwanted babies.

Birth control is a lot easier to stomach than increased and repeated abortions. Birth control is often necessary for the health of women. Birth control is necessary in controlling our ridiculous over population. Birth control is a personal choice which is a part of our FREEDOM!! Freedom is NOT only for those who kneel on Sundays or pee standing up.

Throughout this whole fiasco, I have not been able to get a particular song out of my head…Ever see Monty Python’s Meaning of Life

(in my sing songy voice)

Every sperm is sacred.

Every sperm is great.

If a sperm is wasted,

God gets quite irate.

Original story HERE