Monday, June 5, 2023

Ear Worms

As I wrap up the annual eight weeks of feeling like shit, the one thing I don't feel like is writing. What's different about this one is that I have ear-worms for two songs that are from long after Ziggy stopped singing (badly, I'm sorry to admit) but lyrics that he would've appreciated. Maybe because the actual yahrzeit falls today, Monday, that makes me a bit sadder than usual. Couldn't tell you. Instead, I'm posting a link to each song and the lyrics. It's about all I can handle at this frozen moment in time.
Dan Reynolds
Performed by Imagine Dragons 
Songwriters: Benjamin Arthur Mckee / Daniel Coulter Reynolds / Daniel Wayne Sermon / Daniel James Platzman 
Days pass by and my eyes stay dry, and I think that I'm okay'Til I find myself in conversation, fading awayThe way you smile, the way you walkThe time you took to teach me all that you had taughtTell me, how am I supposed to move on?
These days I'm becoming everything that I hateWishing you were around but now it's too lateMy mind is a place that I can't escape your ghost
Sometimes I wish that I could wish it all awayOne more rainy day without youSometimes I wish that I could see you one more dayOne more rainy day
Oh, I'm a wreck without you hereYeah, I'm a wreck since you've been goneI've tried to put this all behind meI think I was wrecked all alongYeah, I'm a wreck
They say that the time will heal it, the pain will go awayBut everything, it reminds me of you and it comes in wavesWay you laugh when your shoulders shookThe time you took to teach me all that you had taughtTell me, how am I supposed to move on?
These days I'm becoming everything that I hateWishing you were around but now it's too lateMy mind is a place that I can't escape your ghost
Sometimes I wish that I could wish it all awayOne more rainy day without youSometimes I wish that I could see you one more dayOne more rainy day
Oh, I'm a wreck without you hereYeah, I'm a wreck since you've been goneI've tried to put this all behind meI think I was wrecked all along
These days when I'm on the brink of the edgeRemember the words that you saidRemember the life you ledYou'd say, "Oh, suck it all up, don't get stuck in the mudThinkin' of things that you should have done"I'll see you again, my loved one
I'll see you again, my loved oneYeah, I'm a wreck
I'll see you again, my loved one
Yeah, I'm a wreck without you here (loved one)Yeah, I'm a wreck since you've been gone (I'm a wreck since you've been gone)I've tried to put this all behind meI think I was wrecked all along (I'm a wreck)Yeah, I'm a wreck
Sometimes I wish that I could wish it all away but I can'tOne more rainy day without you (one more rainy day)Sometimes I wish that I could see you one more day but I can't

One more rainy day 

Lewis Capaldi
Performed by Lewis Capaldi 
Songwriters: Benjamin Kohn / Lewis Capaldi / Peter Kelleher          / Samuel Roman / Tom Barnes 
I'm going under and this time I fear there's no one to save me
This all or nothing really got a way of driving me crazy
I need somebody to heal
Somebody to know
Somebody to have
Somebody to hold
It's easy to say
But it's never the same
I guess I kinda liked the way you numbed all the pain
Now the day bleeds
Into nightfall
And you're not here
To get me through it all
I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved
I'm going under and this time I fear there's no one to turn to
This all or nothing way of loving got me sleeping without you
Now, I need somebody to know
Somebody to heal
Somebody to have
Just to know how it feels
It's easy to say but it's never the same
I guess I kinda liked the way you helped me escape
Now the day bleeds
Into nightfall
And you're not here
To get me through it all
I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved
And I tend to close my eyes when it hurts sometimes
I fall into your arms
I'll be safe in your sound 'til I come back around
For now the day bleeds
Into nightfall
And you're not here
To get me through it all
I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved
But now the day bleeds
Into nightfall
And you're not here
To get me through it all
I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved
I let my guard down
And then you pulled the rug
I was getting kinda used to being someone you loved

Unexpectedly, in the world of pop music, neither song is about a break-up. WRECKED is the response to the untimely death of Mr. Reynold's sister-in-law with whom he was very close and SOMEONE YOU LOVED is about the loss of Mr. Capaldi's grandmother. Both are about the loss of partnership, not romantic love, which may be why both songs make me cry. A lot. 

Sometimes, music helps. Sometimes, hearing someone else share the pain of loss through words and notes makes one feel a tad less alone. It's like grief and widowhood in general: you cannot predict what will touch you, move you, or even make you cry when it comes on the car radio. 

I promise to be more pithy, sarcastic, and generally upbeat (?) next week. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
You are allowed to be sad.
You are allowed to grieve
You are most certainly allowed to miss another person.
You don't need permission from anyone but yourself. 

Monday, May 29, 2023

Talking to Headstones

Because I occasionally have masochistic tendencies, I spent some time earlier today reading old WP episodes from Memorial Day. The date might change, but Memorial Day is always on a Monday, ergo, it's always a blog-writing day. 
by Theophilos Hatzimihail

But this day is just a little different. It's the 570th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople, the seat of the Byzantine Empire to the Turks of the Ottoman Empire, thereby radically changing the landscape of Asia Minor. It is also the 70th anniversary of the day Sir Edmund Hillary reached the summit of Mount Everest, even if that news was't spread until a few days later. 

And it would have been Ziggy's 70th birthday. 

That seemed like a milestone kinda number. I celebrated on my own with a blackened steak (done stovetop in a cast iron pan since I cannot have a grill on my mirpeset,) fresh corn, and a beer. I did not make an angel food cake with chocolate frosting. I wasn't in the mood. 

I wasn't in the mood for much. 

Since his yahrzeit, on the Hebrew calendar, is next Sunday night, I went over to the cemetery; he's still there. 

Last week, I finally made the arrangements to lock down the plot next to him and give up my space at Beth David. I guess I won't be watching the ponies at Belmont because I'll be spending eternity in the Land of Passive Aggressive. Assuming that when I do leave the building, Jews will still be living in these here United States. No guarantee about that. 

At the moment, both Ziggy and I would both be 70. We got married when we were both 25. See, I married my best friend. Long before we were a couple, we were buddies and that saved us many times over. Life wasn't always smooth (as lots of you can attest) but somehow, we managed to muddle through. He died when we were both 56. I miss him. I will always miss him. 

It is what it is. I just don't have to like it. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o' the Week
If you love someone, tell them. 
One day, you might just be talking to a headstone.

Monday, May 22, 2023

The Grandpa Moishe School of Gin: Plan Ahead

My Grandpa Moishe's yahrzeit began at sundown tonight. He left the building 44 years ago and a day doesn't go by without my wishing I could tell him something or other. He was my dad's BFF and mine, too. He started married life driving a horse and delivery wagon for Blum Folding Box where he would work for the rest of his life...for a long time with my dad. Several summers were spent at Blum where I could drive my dad crazy and my Grandpa to lunch. But that's not why I am invoking Grandpa Moishe's name. I am more interested in one of the great lessons I learned from Grandpa, a lesson that continues to be at the center of my thinking:  Always Plan Ahead

Life lessons were taught during our endless games of gin. I was a card sharp at 6. Playing gin with Grandpa was an ongoing event. We never kept score, we never knocked, but we played to the death. I am a graduate of the Grandpa Moishe School of Gin....confound and confuse your opponent until they can't think straight but closely watch the second and third throw, then the six and the seventh. He believed that everyone had a tell and exploiting the tell was the surest way to win. (I'm not sure that's really true, but it did work on making Ziggy, my grad school dorm friend, crazy....crazy enough to want to marry me, but that's a story for another day)

That lesson is one rarely taught, at least not to those clowns who hold elected office in both houses of Congress. In all this debt ceiling brouhaha, I have yet to hear the GOP side of what to do when they slash the social welfare net. Back in October of 2013, during another debt ceiling debacle, I wrote:
The shutdown of this government coupled with the pending refusal to service the debt ceiling is not exactly a covert attempt to topple this nation. Just like in Libya and Egypt, the cabal is plotting to overthrow the president and not necessarily with an election. When the shutdown fails, they will attempt to impeach him. They will attempt to do whatever it takes to get President Obama out of office. They assume they will wrest power from whomever, but here’s the thing: once they have it, what are they gonna do with it?
If you wanna play scary for Halloween tricks, try thinking about this for a while. In all their talk of repealing Obamacare, did you ever hear them mention an alternative?
In all their talk about killing programs like SNAP and WIC, have you ever heard them propose what to do with low wage earners who can no longer afford a roof AND food?
In all their talk about illegal immigration, have you ever heard them discuss who is going to do the agricultural scutt work that Americans don’t wanna do?
And in all their talk about job creation, have you ever heard them mention what kind of jobs they’re creating while they’re shipping more and more manufacturing overseas?
If the Republicans want to negotiate, they’d better start showing up with plans in public. Let We, the People decide who has the better long range vision for this nation.
My dad, a staunch Republican, read that episode and immediately called. Of course, he called me alarmist...which he often did...but then told me I was right about no plans ever being laid out to deal with the havoc default would wreck. We had a long talk about this, and he invoked his dad's philosophy. "They don't look ahead, much less plan ahead." He went on to explain that his father believed that governments rarely planned ahead; they only waited for disasters so they could fix them to make themselves look good. 

Right now, that jackass Speaker McCarthy is only interested in keeping his job. He will sell out most of We, the People in order to do that. His ultra-right wing cabal dangles the speakership over his head like some kind of misanthropic Damocles' Sword, waiting to slice him in half should he wander from the party line. His position has nothing to do with what is best in terms of good and welfare for the We, the People, it's only about retaining power; the rest of us be damned. 

I suspect a deal will be reached in the next 24-48 hours because that's how brinkmanship plays out. Whole sectors of America will be screwed while others with have fatter wallets.  And do not think this is between President Biden and just Congress. Governor De Santis, a congenital idiot at best, threw in his 2¢ on May 9th, saying:
I think the idea that you would just raise [the debt ceiling] without anything is ridiculous. And we were $21 trillion in debt like five years ago, and now we’re $31 trillion in debt. And I think Joe Biden’s position is you just keep spending like no end and eventually it’s going to solve itself. 
What they’re spending now is significantly more than what Obama’s budget his last year of President projected for this year, and even with what they’re doing to reduce. So I just find it ridiculous that you would have Biden taking the position that there should be no reforms whatsoever to what the government is spending. I think what they’re doing [hard-line position taken by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy]  to me is common sense. I don’t know why you would want to continue going the direction they were going. 
Eventually, this is all going to cause major, major problems, you haven’t seen, necessarily, the crisis that some people predicted. But I don’t see how you could go on this trajectory and not see something bad.

Huh? Did anyone notice he completely skipped over the deficit increase during Feckless Loser's administration? As if the GOP actually helped things? Even Charles Durning's SIDESTEP was clearer than this.

But it keeps coming down to the same set of issues I've been harping about for year. If you want to cut programs to save money, what are you putting in their place?

Or are you really expecting people to die off because they cannot afford to live?

This is not a specious question. IF you are reading this AND you are a GOP supporter, point me in the direction of what comes next when the social safety net is gone. I sure can't find it. I can find bleak references to cutting spending, but not who's gonna take care of grandma at home while everyone is at work. Grandma can't afford a nursing home or private care to stay in her own home, so it's either your house or a box under a bridge.  

These are not the BIG problems that CongressClown McCarthy wants to talk about. These are the small, everyday problems most of us face on a daily basis. I did. I had my father-in-law with me for the last five years of his life, but I was lucky; he was in okay shape until the day his heart stopped. One of my friends, however, is a prisoner in her own home because their household income on paper doesn't qualify for help with nursing home costs OR in home health aides for her rapidly deteriorating husband. She can't work, she can't leave her husband alone even for an hour, and she pays exorbitant fees for someone to come in while she runs to the grocery store or drug store. Don't get me started on what she pays for meds for him. They will run out of money eventually, sooner if there is no Social Security. They thought they had planned, 401Ks, IRAs, and Social Security. But their spending has increased exponentially...and not on vacations. They just downsized again in hopes of saving energy bills and other expenses. Debilitating illness does not discriminate against those who can and cannot afford reasonable care. 

But the GOP wants to cut Social Security and Medicare to save costs without any sort of plan in the wings.  At what cost to We, the People?

No one holds their feet to the fire on this. And if We, the People don't start demanding that they come forward with their health care plans, drug plans, and affordable housing plans, We, the People are just as guilty as they are. 

2 Clowns McCarthy and Graves
When asked what it would take to break the apparent negotiating deadlock, Speaker McCarthy said, "June 1st." I think that means the US will have to default for both sides to negotiate. You gotta wonder what they're planning for?

Three playground bullies, Congress Clowns McCarthy, Graves (R-La), and McHenry (R-N.C.), holding an entire country hostage. How much more disgusting can it get?

As usual, silence implies consent. Try to remember that as you begin to plan ahead for your alternative futures.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

Take a hard look around your present circumstances.
What happens to your quality of life if there is a default and the market crashes?
Do you have a contingency plan in place?
You should. 

Monday, May 15, 2023

The Road to Gilead...

After witnessing the spectacle of two morally ambiguous humans being crowned king and queen in England, I suppose the increase in evangelical mockery of all things Christian should come as no big shock. Clearly, the roots of the church are disintegrating on both sides of the pond in favor of personal preference as the rule. 

Adam Peters
This past week, Kansas led the pack in religious hate as state politics. Seems the chairman of the Ellis County GOP, Adam Peters, [not the football guy] presented a 5-point plan to make Kansas into a conservative sanctuary. According to the The Kansas Reflector:
From the meeting’s opening prayer to the ending prayer, a divine calling was made clear: Republicans must purge the state of anyone who disagrees with their extremist positions on the LGBTQ community, reproductive health care, education and race.
“If you can make it hostile to that group of people, that small sliver of society, and have them move elsewhere, that does a huge amount to shut this down,” Peters said. “It’s both sides of it: You need to attract the good people here, and you also need to make it clear to the bad people, this isn’t gonna go well for you.”
 Yeah, I know; it's Kansas. But folks, they are not alone on this road. 

Nowhere in the Constitution of these here United States are the words separation of church and state ever mentioned. Nope. Nowhere. What the Constitution does say in the First Amendment is:
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.
But the writers are not done yet. In Article Six, they add:

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be Required as a Qualification To any Office or public Trust under the United States.

That one line is gonna be important to remember, because right now, as I type, religious tests are happening all over this country. Remember what Adam Peters said? 
You need to attract the good people here.
And how do you know who "the good people" are? You start with some kind of ideological litmus test. You vet people for their positions and beliefs. And if they don't line up with the party line, you drive them out. No matter how that couch that litmus test, it's an establishment of their religion and the rest of us are supposed to sign up. 

What's next? The stake for non-believers? 
Gilead, here we come!

Abortion restriction legislation is a phenomenal litmus test for the conservative movement in America because it drives out the professionals first. Medical personnel who work with women's reproductive health are leaving states where they face murder convictions for helping women in medical emergencies. We're not talking about abortions here...we're talking about ectopic pregnancies, placental abnormalities, fetuses incompatible with life...that sort of thing...and the mother's health be damned. Once you drive out the medical experts, those who can afford to follow will, leaving the poorest of the poor to suffer the consequences of unavailable maternal health care. Women and children will die...sacrificed on an altar of some sort of evangelical purity church. 

But it won't stop there. LGBTQ and Trans families, unable to get health care, will face their kids being taught their family is evil and sinful. Those people, too, will leave the states where they no longer feel safe from vigilante actions to protect the children who will no longer be safe in school. 

Colleges and universities will be next to suffer the effects of litmus testing when the state government, as Florida did today, enact laws that ban the teaching of inclusion. As explained quite clearly in AXIOS, DeSantis signs bill banning DEI degrees at Florida colleges
Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Monday defunding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs at Florida's public colleges and allowing the state to remove programs, majors and minors that teach "identity politics." ...

SB 266 prohibits the state's colleges and universities from spending any state or federal dollars on programs and campus activities that advocate for DEI policies or social activism.

  • The restriction, however, carves out an exception for campus activities required for "compliance with federal laws or regulations" and retaining institutional accreditation.
  • It also creates a mechanism for the state to review existing college courses, majors and minors, and remove ones with lessons "based on theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege" are inherent in the U.S. 

Really?  Just what is the criteria for living in your world, Governor DeSantis?

Yet, there are some pockets of reason. There are places where women are slowly coming out to say "NO." Yeah, it's slow, but as hospitals with maternity services dwindle and women no longer have safe places to give birth, much less get prenatal or neonatal care, the crisis intensifies. 

Senators Sandy Senn, Katrina Shealy, Mia McLeod,
Penry Gustafson & Margie Bright Matthews.
Photo: Audra Melton for The New York Times
Women in state houses will find themselves dealing with other women who cannot get care, and all that pro-life bull-oney will suddenly be confronted with the significant rise in maternal death. 
In South Carolina, five women, the only women in their  state senate, have put aside party differences to speak out for the rights of women in their state. Known as the Sister Senators, they have refused to allow the passage of a near-total abortion ban.  From the NY Times:
“I don’t think the Republican Party saw us coming, because we didn’t do what they thought we were going to do,” Ms. Shealy, the senior member of the group, said in an interview with the other women around a table in her State House office. “They thought we would do just what they told us to do.”

"Women and their doctors and their husbands or partners should be making these decisions; 170 legislators in the state of South Carolina don’t need to be making these choices."   -  SC Republican State Senator Katrina Shealy 

I cannot see mothers and grandmothers standing idly by as their young women are denied access to prenatal care, face uterus-losing complications, bleeding out from miscarriages when treatment was denied, and watching babies die who are born with such severe abnormalities that their very existence is incompatible with life. 

Never mind WWJD. Try WWMD?  What would Mary do? I'm not even Christian but my Christian friends who hold the Sacred Heart of Mary in such high esteem cannot possibly believe that she would let babies suffer and women die unnecessarily.

Or do they? 

I don't know. 

What I do know is that all these prohibitions being signed into law are not for the benefit of We, The People, much less We, the Female People. They are for the benefit of a small group of small minded people who believe with their heart and soul....not to mention wallet...that their way is the only right way and the rest of us should take a hike outta the country. (And that includes the Indigenous Peoples who were here before them, and who count even less.)

As a side note, following Adam Peter's model of Righteous America, not too many regular folks are gonna be left to do all the menial tasks because they're gonna be too sick or dead without health care and all those socialist programs his kind hates and wants to cut. Wives will be stay-at-home perennially pregnant moms, but will a man's income increase enough to keep food on the table and a roof overhead? And who's gonna pay the medical bills when insurance is out of reach? Maybe it won't matter because environmental regulations will be repealed and the earth, itself, will become increasingly dead, unable to support crops. Let's not even mention air quality.

It's all interconnected. Do away with one aspect, and the building is weakened. Do away with a few can all guess the outcome. 

Meanwhile, back at the admiration and thanks go to the Sister Senators of South Carolina. And to North Carolina Congressman Jeff Jackson for his blunt, transparent posts about how this government really works. These folks are unicorns. Go find the unicorns in your local, state, and federal government. Encourage them. Volunteer for them. We're gonna need them. BIG time.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week

And speaking of Jeff Jackson....this is worth watching:

Say what you will, Jeff Jackson, 
freshman Democrat from North Carolina
 does the best videos. 
Watching him makes me believe 
there are sane people out there. 
I love this guy.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Still Numb...and Not Amused

Another day, another mass murder in Texas, this one near Dallas where, on Saturday, a guy wrapped in enough ammo to take out a small town took out 8 shoppers at an outlet mall with an AR-15. And, as icing on that particular death-cake, Sunday morning, a guy rammed his car into a group of migrant workers, killing 8 of those folks sitting on a curb in Brownsville...also in Texas. 

But wait! There's more! Monday morning, a guy on a Dallas DART train opened fire, killing 1, injuring 2. Ooops, not quite a mass murder...but close enough for government work. Seems to me, a more efficient population reduction method would be to just give everyone in the state a firearm while telling them to control the shootings. 

Last week, when I said I was numb, I meant it. Right now, I'm in the ironic-unfunny-joke phase of revulsion. That's how my family deals with disgust; we make horridly inappropriate jokes because there's nothing else you can do with bull-oney like this. Thoughts and prayers are bull-hockey useless, just more performative activism, words that, like those stupid frames around your profile picture, are supposed to demonstrate your support/empathy. My kids will tell you I had my empathy chip removed long ago and subsequently have no patience for that level of verbal vomit coming outta the mouths of asshats like Governors Abbott or DeSantis. Those words meant to appease and deflect the electorate from the real issues: a push to a Taliban level ultra-right wing theocracy that controls women, minorities, other faiths, and children. 

But what scares me is the lack of willingness to act on behalf of We, the People that elected the Clown Congress in the first place. This gun stuff is the tip of an ultra-right wing iceberg that will not disappear with more AR-15s on the market or all abortions banned. Or books banned. Or birth control deemed illegal.

If you haven't seen this video by Joy Ann Reid, maybe you should stop what you're doing to watch it.

Radical? Sure. Scary? You bet your sweet ass, it's scary. 
Possibly spot on? Probably. 


At this juncture, I'm changing directions just a bit. 
My blog; my rules. 


The summer of 1981 was a really busy one for me. I was very pregnant with the Senior Son. I was artistic director of a theatre, and at the same time, consulting on a show at the GuthrieEli: A Mystery Play of the Sufferings of Israel by Nobel Literature Laureate Nelly Sachs (z"l), directed by the wonderful Garland Wright (z"l) and staged managed by the ever fantastic Diz; I was having the time of my life until extreme pain ripped through me. I was sure I was in labor, but no such luck. I had a kidney stone. The good folks at Metropolitan Hospital threw me into a giant room on the labor and delivery floor, big enough to hold staff meetings with the folks of the Big G. Hosting everyone in my room to work on show stuff was a hoot and I was flying high without drugs cuz they couldn't give me any. I was in the big time.

I was also in pain. During the wee hours of July 29th, 1981, unable to sleep despite being ensconced on a floating bed thingee, I watched Chuck and Di get married. Oh, like everyone else, I bought into the fairy tale of the royal wedding even if I thought her dress was overblown and awful. But it was all sooooooo romantic. 

Turned out it wasn't all that romantic when the groom never stops screwing his married mistress. However young and innocent and possibly crazy Diana was before the wedding, her unfaithful, sack o'poo husband contributed bucketsful to her misery. Intentionally, I suspect. We all knew the story, then we all watched the funeral. We watched her sons paraded behind her coffin. And when I wept, it was for her kids because, after all, I was the mother of two sons. 

Sure, I watched the attempted rehabilitation of the woman Diana called the Rottweiler and I was glad when they announced she would be "princess consort" and not queen. But her philandering husband, as he lied to his wife, lied to the public. I know lots of people are on "Team Camilla," and I hope her blow jobs are worth what this guy did to his sons. No, I haven't read THE SPARE, but I imagine as vitriolic as the book is said to be, I'm certain we're not seeing the reality of the boys' relationship with their stepmother. I mean, how do you ever forget this woman was screwing your father before, during, and after his marriage to their mother? That they both stood outside the bathroom door while their mother wept. And now, she has replaced their mother everywhere but where they cherish Diana most: in their hearts.

Of course, I watched the coronation. I thought about Grandma Sarah. She would not have been amused by Queen Camilla. In fact, I imagine she would have been rather vocal on the subject of a fornicating king and his mistress...kinda like how she was on the subject of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She wasn't amused by that either. 

Two images struck me as I watched the pomp: first, when William, now Prince of Wales, spoke the fealty oath to his father, followed by Charles' face as his son kissed him. It was the hard look on the prince's face that spoke volumes whether he knew it or not. The lip readers said Charles murmured "Thank you," as his son kissed him. You gotta wonder that he was thanking him for... showing up? Putting on a show for the public? Or not calling him a philandering whoremaster to his face? Take a pick. Any pick. 

I want to hope what William said to his father was, "It should've been Mum." 

And so, the head of the Church of England, an open and unrepentant adulterer is married to another open and unrepentant adulterer, who, by the way, invited her ex-husband to the coronation. Talk about a 
mΓ©nage Γ  troisIt's not that I actually care about this stuff, but the optics count and the optics are terrible. Don't these people get it? But they're all kinda old and with any luck, William won't have to wait until he's 74. 

At the same time, there's a little boy watching his grandfather being crowned King of England. Like any other 9-year old, he had his moments. One of them I somehow managed to capture from the telly. Does he realize his dad is next? Is he thinking, wow, one day that'll be me? Or does he need a bathroom and/or some biscuits? Funny thing is, he's the spitting image of Diana's brother Charles at that age: total Spencer. What goes around...

Honestly, I wish all five grandkids the strength and grit to ultimately find each other. They will need those cousinly ties as the years go on. Together, they occupy a unique place in world history; they can change the world and they probably don't even realize yet. 

Shakespeare would have a field day with this... a real pity he's not around to write it. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Lag ba'Omer started at sundown on tonight (Monday.)
Go get a haircut. 
You have until sundown on Tuesday. 

Monday, May 1, 2023

By the Numb-ers

I was half listening to the news last night and there was a whole lotta coverage about the Texas AR-15 who executed a whole bunch of people in a house and managed to get away. Children survived this massacre because mothers threw themselves over their children. 

The cops were almost surprised the kids were alive. You see, when a bullet from an AR-15 goes through you, it's probably not one bullet, more like 30 based on how fast the gun fires. And they leave a big, gaping exit wound. If you really wanna know, watch this: AMERICAN ICON THE BLAST EFFECT This is how bullets from an AR-15 blow the body apart

That's why it was so hard to identify the kids at Sandy Hook. There wasn't much left to recognize. 

In April alone, there were 54 mass shootings. That's more than one-a-day. 57 people were killed, 247 were injured. Most of the mass shootings since 2012 involve AR-15 rifles. 

Still not convinced? On March 29th, Senator Dick Durban (D-IL) addressed the Senate Judiciary Committee on the subject. He was beyond eloquent . [Click the link above to listen to his speech. It's devastating.] 
"The events this week in Nashville, Tennessee, are still fresh in our minds.  The thought that a shooter went on the campus of a Christian school, a school for children, little children, this person who went on that campus blasted her way into the building and then took the lives of three, nine-year-old children and three adults… It is heartbreaking to think that we are reliving this scene over and over again where our children who are sent by their loving parents off to school, lunches in hand, never came home. Never. Came. Home.”  
I believe it's pretty safe to say the response is sponsored by the GOP and their handlers, the NRA. Wanna read what they have to say about "Assault Weapons" / "Large" Magazines," folks. Read it for yourselves.  Try not to vomit into your coffee cup. 

No other western country allows this kind of stuff to happen. 

And speaking of other countries, the march of death does not end with extends to women across this country...and I'm not even talking about actual abortions here. I'm talking about access to reproductive health care in general. 

This is about maternal mortality. That's when a new mother dies shortly after giving birth. It's really a function of lack of prenatal and postnatal health care. One would think in a country that claims to have the best health care in the world, we wouldn't be falling somewhere between Palestine and China. Actually, there are 84 countries on the list, and the US ranks 65th. Not exactly a good position, eh? 

From 2015 to 2019, there were at least 89 obstetric unit closures in rural hospitals across the country. By 2020, about half of rural community hospitals did not provide obstetrics care, according to the American Hospital Association.
The number of hospitals providing that service since 2020 has dwindled even further. And in states where abortion is completely banned, creating a moral dilemma for obstetricians, midwives, and doulas, professionals are departing in droves, leaving women to travel excessive distances to get any sort of care. Emergency care is almost non-existent. According to a variety of sources, rural women who live in an obstetrical desert are 3-times more likely to die during and in the year following pregnancy. 

Idaho, like other states that have criminalized abortion, finds itself with fewer medical students willing to come to a state where they can be prosecuted for providing certain levels of care for women. Boise State Public Radio examined the issue  making it very clear that the impact of criminalization has a massive rolling impact on medical accessibility. Dr. Ted Epperly, director of Full Circle Health in Idaho said:
“Today, it's around abortion care,” he said. “Tomorrow, it may be around gender-affirming care. The day after tomorrow, what could it potentially be about as well?”
Black, Indigenous, and Latina women who live outside of urban centers are at even greater risk. Often un- or underinsured, they go without any prenatal care at all. If they are living in rural areas, not only is there no guarantee a hospital within driving distance will even offer labor and delivery services, putting both mother and child into the high risk category.  Without access to reproductive health care, birth control is not necessarily available, and by extension, an increase in pregnancies will occur. 

What part of this is pro-life? 

Y'know, it may not be the most popular or obvious extension of this particular highway, but does anyone remember all the accusations and assertions made by the GOP that Democrats were practicing eugenics by allowing abortion on demand? That abortion would allow/encourage people to have "designer" babies? That gender determination would cause people to abort an "undesirable" gender/trait? Folks, there are still people out there that believe that stuff is what abortion is about. Never mind the life of the mother when an ectopic pregnancy occurs, or an embryo is so malformed that it is incompatible with life. Those tenuous life forms are now protected in some states, regardless of the health of the embryo or the mother because some jackass thinks it's killing a designer baby.

PBS Newshour did an interesting piece on what's going on in Idaho: Idaho’s strict abortion laws create uncertainty for OB-GYNs in the state. They interviewed both medical professionals and law makers. From the show:

Sarah Varney:

State Representative Mark Sauter, a Republican, lives in Sandpoint. He says he hadn't thought much about the abortion ban.


State Rep. Mark Sauter:

It really wasn't high on my radar, other than I'm a pro-life guy, and I ran that way, but I didn't see it as it had a real — having a real big community impact.


Sarah Varney:

Then he started talking with local doctors, including Amelia Huntsberger.


What I'm wondering is, for you personally, did you think about abortion as it relates to obstetric care for pregnant women?


State Rep. Mark Sauter:

No, I don't think I — it's like anything. You get exposed to something and, all of a sudden, you go, wow, there's a different way to look at this. You know, what are we going to do about all this?


Sarah Varney:

So, is Bonner the canary in a cold line in the coal mine?


State Rep. Mark Sauter:

It could be.


Sarah Varney:

With Sandpoint's maternity ward closing, Representative Sauter supported a bill that would have allowed doctors to terminate pregnancies to protect a woman's health, not just prevent her death. But that effort was shot down by other Republicans.

What struck me is that this guy, State Rep. Mark Sauter, knew nothing about women's health care yet he felt qualified to initially vote on a life and death topic. I think that speaks volumes for the core of the problem. Idaho is not the only state where uninformed, uneducated penises are making decisions as if we are living in the 18th or even the 19th century. 

And here's the last piece on the numbers: if you look at the maternal mortality list, you will notice that just about every country but one improved their maternal mortality numbers since 2017. Wanna guess which country got worse?

You can call yourselves pro-life all you want, but these numbers don't lie. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
We lost another mensch last week: Harry Belafonte.
If you want to give yourself a moment of glee, go listen to CALYPSO.
It's totally joyful.