What’s Wrong with the GOP

Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, a three-term Congresswoman who won her primary 2 years ago by over 70%, lost her primary tonight to Trump’s choice – a woman who supported Cheney in her 2020 run.

Why the flip flop?

Because Rep. Cheney had the audacity to suggest that Trump should be held accountable for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection – a view pretty much every member of Congress shared on January 7.

But then, many of those same members started worrying about what might happen to them if they publicly stuck by their convictions that maybe Trump should not have riled up his blindly loyal base, the throngs of which have reliably demonstrated that they would lick dog shit off the sidewalk if he asked them to.

Those same members of Congress knew in their hearts – and know it still – that only a narcissistic tyrant would ever suggest that his base march to the Capitol, stomp over police and Capitol security, break down doors and smash in windows, attempt to take over the seat of the federal government, and try to lynch his own Vice President.

But they quickly learned that saying so might end up enraging the former Toddler in Chief, and that might cause him to campaign for someone else come election time, and if we have learned nothing else about most politicians, it is that the only thing they seem to care about more than PAC money and lobbyist donations is getting re-elected.

Imagine caring so much about keeping your seat that you are willing to take your principles, your integrity, and your values, put them in a bag with a nice red bow, and hand it over to Donald J. Trump, the world’s most vile, noxious sack of monkey pox exudate. 

But there are plenty of them – plenty. And one by one, those Congressmen and women got very quiet. They found a way to be okay with the outrageous behavior our country was forced to endure for four years, culminating in something very close to treason, all because this man cannot tolerate losing.

Not Liz. She held Trump’s feet to the fire and suggested – hold onto your underpants – that he should not be permitted to get away with attempting to subvert the Constitution. Crazy, I know! Ten years ago – even FIVE years ago – this would have elicited a big “duh!” from the GOP. Now, it appears to be anathema, and Cheney became a pariah, even though her father is a former Vice President so coated in GOP Super-Strength Teflon that he once shot someone in the face, and everyone kind of laughed and then went back to watching “Friends.”

In the not so distant future, however, this country will universally recognize Trump as the staggeringly dishonest, mentally unstable, serial sexual predator most of us already know him to be. Unfortunately, his base knows virtually nothing about him aside from what they have been spoon-fed by Fox and OAN, and they treat and hint of negativity as a fodder for yet another conspiracy theory. These people can rationalize anything – I once said he could be videotaped sodomizing a toddler, and his base would either create a conspiracy theory or else normalize the behavior, which is what they do every time he engages in conduct which, were it ANYONE ELSE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, they would condemn.

Trump will go down as history as not quite as evil as Adolph Hitler or Josef Stalin (which I guess is something), but don’t think for one minute that the articles that will be written about him will fail to mention those who worshiped at his shrine, but if the do, we’ll, there’s always Twitter to remind the world who proclaimed Trump the Second Coming and who saw a bloviating box of farts with the IQ of a Nerf football.

Until he does, morons like Josh Hawley and Jim Jordan and Lauren Boebert will continue to make headlines as Trump’s cadre of toadies trying to curry favor so he will haul his hairy girth to perform a rally on their behalf where some of the attendees think JFK, Jr. is actually alive and conspiring with the Illuminati to run the world along with George Soros and the Rothschild family.

I don’t like Liz Cheney’s politics. I wouldn’t vote for her over a Dem with good qualifications and a good platform. But doing what she did shouldn’t be an exception – it should be the norm. It used to be.

It’s not anymore, because the party who was supposed to make sure Trump never made it past the primaries couldn’t get its shit together. People like Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush stayed in the race way too long and fought amongst themselves. Rather than having an early pow-wow the minute Trump rode downstairs on his stupid escalator and insulted Mexicans, all of those GOP senators and governors stayed in the race with the arrogance only a man in government can summon, certain HE would be the last man standing.

The GOP failed, and then the public got silly and had one of those Boaty McBoatface moments when the public, given an awesome responsibility, fails to appreciate the gravity of the moment and says, “Fuck it! It might be fun to have a reality TV show host for president! What’s the worst that could happen?”

And you would have thought that Mitch “Let’s make Obama a one-term president” O’Connell, what with that level of focus and determination, could have made SURE Trump didn’t mess it up too badly.

Except McConnell didn’t care.

And that’s why we’re where we are at.

We need people to care about more than their election war chest, their sound bites or how many of the Sunday morning shows want them on as guests. We need our pols to actually WORK FOR US. We need people like Liz Cheney to say, “Not on my watch, and by the way, Jim Jordan, get your fucking hands off me. You started this riot!” (Which she did).

Be like Liz. She’s not a dick.

Don’t be like Trump. He is.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, Three Months Later

I’ll admit it – I’m furious that a bunch of Scalia-wannabes on the Supreme Court have overturned Roe. I say this because, while I agreed with almost none of Antonin Scalia’s opinions, I admired his brilliance, his rigor, and his consistency.  With Nino, you knew what you were getting, which was a scathing pen backed up by solid jurisprudence, unshakeable reason, and a judicious sprinkling of such words as “jiggery pokery” that made it impossible to despise him, even if you hated the impact of his rulings.

Scalia’s opinions made crystal clear what he believed, and while those beliefs were undoubtedly informed by his devout Catholicism, they were equally influenced by his judicial philosophy of originalism, which owed no debt to any religion.  Scalia approached every legal matter that came before the Court with the same approach, whether it dealt with hot-button issues such as abortion, or yawn-inducing matters of interstate commerce or patent disputes:  What methods, documents, or or considerations would the founding fathers have taken into account had they been asked to resolve the same legal dispute?

What we have on the Court today, of course, is three women (Sotomayor, Kagan, and Brown Jackson) who have a more modern view of Constitutional law, and six neo-conservatives – five of them Catholic, five of them men.  Of those six, two (Gorsuch and Kavanaugh) represented under oath that they would not disturb the Court’s 1973 holding in Roe v. Wade (and then did exactly that).  Of those six, two (Thomas and Kavanaugh) have been credibly accused of sexual assault.  Of those six, one (Thomas) is married to a conservative activist who runs a consulting firm that frequently works with GOP leadership, far right evangelical pro-life groups, and lobbyists on issues that are often before the Supreme Court; and one (Samuel Alito), may just be the Angriest White Man in America (read his opinions if you want to understand how hard it is to be a guy like him).

So, yeah, the Supreme Court is pretty much a joke if the idea was that it was supposed to be a politics-free, non-biased forum.  And anyone who was breathing when Mitch McConnell engaged in contortions worthy of the Royal Chinese Circus to justify holding hearings on Amy Coney Barrett weeks before the 2020 election after having denied Merrick Garland the same courtesies nine months before the 2016 election (not the same thing at all!) could have figured out what was going to happen when the court took up Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization during the 2021 – 2022 term. Some of us hoped that John Roberts could somehow pull off another ACA Hail Mary, but he alone wasn’t going to be able to stop the inevitable juggernaut of four pro-lifers and a Libertarian (Gorsuch) who – finally – had the ability to do what they and others like them had been dreaming of for 50 years.

So they did it.  But before they did it – when there were signs that Kavanaugh (who may be the judicial equivalent of a golden retriever, from what we’re now hearing) seemed inclined to consider changing his vote (because Roberts scratched him behind the ear, told him he was a “good boy, yes you are!” and gave him a cookie) well, the theory goes – Alito went ballistic:  Not only did his dream of a Handmaid’s Tale America seem to be slipping through his fingers, how was he going to go down in history as the guy who wrote the opinion overturning Roe if Roe didn’t actually get overturned?

Which is when the draft opinion got leaked.


See, once the draft opinion was out there, it was going to be SO DAMN HARD to put THAT cork back in the bottle – like, you just weren’t going to be able to do it. 

I mean, what was Kavanaugh going to say if all of a sudden, the opinion got released in June, and everyone was like, “oh, hey, we know there was a draft where Roe was overturned, but then KAVANAUGH changed his mind. Must be all the BEER. You know who else drinks beer? SATAN!”

How do you think THAT would have gone over? You think it’s hard going to Morton’s and having to leave through the back door? At least there are five other justices that are also getting grief!

Imagine you were the swing vote SAVING Roe when everyone (except Susan Collins, that Moron from Maine) thought you were were on the Back Alley Abortion Bandwagon?

So Kavanaugh rebuffed a very weary Chief Justice Roberts who at this minute is turning the car around and driving RIGHT F***ING HOME  RIGHT F***ING NOW because these goddamned kids are driving him crazy!

Yeah, so that’s what happened.  And now, there’s no longer a right to abortion under the Constitution, which is sort of like when they said Pluto used to be a planet, but now it’s not, or when people only used to have to pay their OWN taxes, but now we pay Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates and all the other billionaires’ taxes, too. Like, what the fuck is that about?

And so in states where it’s okay to get married at 14 and also, marry your first cousin, or your uncle, you can’t get an abortion under any circumstances, no way, no how, no backsies, and don’t you go showing us any books or science about abortion or anything else because that’s YOU’RE opinion and I’m not buying it, lessin’ I get run over by a Ford Ram Tundra 250 Pickup while I’m walking home from Ugly Tommy’s International Harvester Tavern swigging a six of PBR and my arms get torn off me and my blood and arm guts is squeezing out of me like jelly all over the highway, then I’m gonna want a doctor. And a lawyer, too. To sue the sumbitch what hit me.

Even though some judges (state and federal) are doing their darndest to prohibit these bans, they can’t hold their fingers in the dike forever, and in a matter of months, perhaps, abortion is going to be a privilege – mostly for rich white people (including republican congressman and pastors and Christian businessmen and their mistresses), and women and girls who get raped (something rich white women and men SWEAR does not happen, because you can’t get pregnant if you’re only 10, and SWEAR will fall within exceptions that DO NOT EXIST under many state bans such as South Dakota’s) will just have to learn to BE MORE CAREFUL AND NOT GET RAPED. 

(Also, you women who have pregnancies that pose a risk to your health are gonna have to learn to NOT HAVE PREGNANCIES THAT POSE A RISK TO YOUR HEALTH.  SILLY WOMEN).

(Also, you women who have pregnancies that turn out to be non-viable should be MORE CAREFUL to ONLY HAVE VIABLE PREGNANCIES.  WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?)

(And you women who are just not ready to be a mother? Well, YOU should HAVE THE BABY and spend nine months having to explain that it was a mistake and you are not ready because there are other things you want to do with your life, like getting an education and making sure you can support yourself financially, and that you are not mentally prepared to parent and care for another person for 18 years, and also, you should also have to endure the comments that come with this, like, you are so SELFISH for not keeping your baby, which may actually come from people who say they love you – NICE!- and then also you should go through labor – ALSO NICE! – and then give that baby to another person to raise, all the while knowing you will wonder about that baby for the rest of your life, and maybe that baby will come looking for you even though you don’t want it to, or maybe it won’t, even though you do, and that just sounds like an all around GREAT THING FOR EVERYONE and who knows better how you should live your life than 6 people you’ve never met, 2 of whom like to sexually harass and/or assault women, one of whom likes to pull the wings off bugs, and one who once lived in a cave for 3 years and ate nothing but beetles?)(That last part is a lie).

So.  This was an essay about how I am not so worried about Dobbs.

Here is why:

Things are gonna suck, badly, for a while.  Prepare yourself for it. Be scrupulous about birth control. Consider being a lesbian. So much less mess, probably a lot more foreplay. I hear sex toys are also good fun.

Joe Biden has signed an executive order.  No one understands what it says, and it’s not really going to make a difference, and we think it may only apply to women with an “I” in their name, so that’s not going to be much help.

So, if you want to change things, you’re going to have to do it yourself, and by “yourself,” I mean those of you who haven’t hit menopause.  Those of us who have, care deeply, but we are also tired, our backs hurt, and we’ve sort of done our thing. It’s your turn. 

This is gonna have to be your thing. You’re gonna have to do this.  We did a lot of the “don’t give us that shit” in the workplace, culminating in the #metoo movement. Not all of us sued someone (but a lot of us said something, and did something, grabbed a lot of testicles and twisted – figuratively speaking, of course). We got called honey and sweetie and got passed over for promotions and got put on the “Mommy Track” and had men say disgusting things to and in front of us, and we were expected to swallow hard a “act like one of the boys” if we wanted to get by.

Some of us did (fuck you very much, Judy and Dolores) and some of us didn’t. Some of us had to educate the f***ing idiots in HR, and things still aren’t perfect in the workplace, but they are a shit-ton better. Ask Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer. It took a lot out of us.  We aren’t sure we have it in us to yank Sam Alito off a barstool and kick the shit out of him – figuratively speaking, of course.  But you guys can do it.

Here’s the good news:

1.  More men than ever are getting vasectomies.  Let them.  Encourage them.  They’re reversible. 

2.  By 2050, the majority of America’s population will be Latino.

3.  The percentage of women graduating from college already exceeds that of men, and it has for years.  Soon enough, the same will be true of business school, med school, and law school.

4.  More women than ever are running for local, state and federal government.  The percentage of women in government is still low, but it’s increasing. 

Bottom line.  A lot of white men are fat and lazy and unemployed and hooked on opiates and Donald Trump, who’s going to be dead soon.  These guys are also gonna die, and as they slip off their mortal coils, a new generation is going to emerge, and the power base is going to shift from old white men to POC, women, and people in the LGBTQ community.  Congress, and SCOTUS will follow.

This is going to take time.  It will take less time if young people put down their goddamned avocado toast and video games and get involved. 

By “involved,” I mean, take 1 person with you to vote.  ONE PERSON.  You don’t have to sign up for a committee or run for office, although you might be a really great candidate.

You don’t have to ring doorbells or call people on the phone, although you might find you like doing it, and you will most definitely meet new friends (and learn something in the meantime).

You don’t have to contribute a lot money (because you probably don’t have any, what with the cost of avocado toast and such), but you could probably scrape together $5 for the candidate of your choice (check out their website – they’ll take anything you’ve got!)

And you don’t need to know a whole lot about ANY of the candidates – go on their websites and learn.  Here’s a tip, however:

Since this is a post about abortion, if you want to support people who are pro-choice, most Republicans AREN’T.

So, to sum up:

Supreme Court:  Full of ANGRY and/or clueless men and 4 really smart, thoughtful women (we’re hoping the one wakes up soon – like, REALLY soon).

Abortion Access in America:  Worse than any other developed nation, an embarrassment, the subject of EU sanctions, worse than it was 200 years ago, determined by men, opinion of majority of citizens not taken into account.

What You Can Do to Help:  Vote, march, protest, send letters to SCOTUS and tell the Justices they have become a partisan religious body and thus has violated the First Amendment.

Outlook for the Future:  Sunny.

The Supreme Court is in Trouble – Part II

There is a certain kind of man who is furious that America, in 2022, is a place where Black, Latino, immigrant, female, LGBTQ, disabled, non-Christian people are beginning to have a seat at the table in politics, business, law, medicine – fields that were traditionally reserved to them – the Straight Christian White man.

It used to be that if you were a straight (or, at least, pretending to be straight) White Christian man (or SWCM), all you had to do to be successful was have a pulse and not kill another White person, even if you were a raging alcoholic who beat his wife, cheated on his taxes, and had weekly nooners with his secretary, Blanche, at the No Tell Motel.

Nowadays, it’s not enough to just be a SWCM. You have to have skills and qualifications, and if you’ve got some blemishes on your record (like, you raped an unconscious girl on the campus of Stanford and the judge made you go to jail for 2 whole weeks), well, you may have some ‘splainin to do at your job interview for Bank Manager, and maybe that more qualified and less rapey person of color/woman/LGBTQ person will be hired instead.

It just sucks when that happens!!

Over time, some stinky butthole SWCMs grudgingly learned to adapt. Some didn’t need to, because they never saw people who were different from them as a threat in the first place.

But a nice healthy segment of SCWMs never got over the certainty that their maleness and Whiteness and Christian-ness and straight-ness just made them better than everyone else and entitled them to all the jobs and all the money and all the power.

So, when that notion was challenged, and those guys stopped automatically getting what they thought of as their birthright, they were puzzled.

Then they got mad.

Then they started blaming all the people who weren’t SWCMs, and then they started voting for people who told them that the immigrants stole their jobs, that successful women were only successful because they’d slept their way to the top, and people of color who held prestigious positions had only gotten them because of affirmative action.

And, oh boy, did they love Donald Trump.

Because Donald Trump knew what these guys wanted to hear. He knew what they wanted to see. He knew what kind of world they wanted to live in.

A world run by Straight White Christian Men.

A world where women have no power.

A world where people of color know their place.

A world where the LGBTQ community is terrified to be out and open lest someone tie them to a tree and kill them by throwing rocks at them until they’re dead.

So Trump set out to feed his SWCM army by giving them the jewel in the crown – an end to abortion – not because he has ever given a shit about “unborn life,” (god only knows how many abortions he’s paid for) but because he knew that the best way to keep women out of the halls of power is to take away their ability to control their family planning.

If you can keep a woman pregnant and giving birth all the time (without the privilege of two law professors’ salaries and live-in child care, a la Amy Coney Barrett), she’s unlikely to plan an overthrow of the government. If you can keep her from getting an education while you’re at it, so much the better. Why else would religious cults (let’s include the Catholics, the Mormons, the “Quiver Full” sects) have always encouraged their flocks to eschew birth control?

Keep the women pregnant. They’ll be too busy to ask you the hard questions.

It’s no accident that the Second Wave Feminism

Movement of the 1970’s followed swiftly on the heels of the birth control pill. All of a sudden, women had a reliable option for preventing pregnancy – one their partner (if they even had one) didn’t even have to know about. And all of a sudden, women were demanding the right to have a credit card in their own name, to be able to own a piece of property on their own, even if they were married. To be admitted to all-make institutions of higher learning. To run the Boston Marathon.

So, today’s ruling isn’t just about not wanting to carry a pregnancy to term. It’s about five straight men (four of them white, all of them Christian) deciding once again try to keep women out of the halls of power and back home, pregnant, raising children, too tired and too busy to hold them accountable.

This is what men who hate women do.

Amy Coney Barrett, I don’t even know what to say about you, except at least one of your daughters is probably going to hate you one day.

But make no mistake.

Clarence Thomas.

Samuel Alito.

John Roberts.

Neil Gorsuch.

Brett Kavanaugh.

These men hate women.

Watch what happens next.

The Supreme Court is in Trouble – Part I

Three Supreme Court Justices lied under oath.

That oughta gripe your cookies just a tiny bit.

Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett all testified under penalty of perjury that they considered Roe v. Wade to be settled law not subject to amendment.

I guess they changed their minds.

And Ted Cruz was worried about the books at the school attended by Justice Brown Jackson’s daughters (which, incidentally, are also the shelves of the school attended by Caroline and Katherine Cruz).

Lots of people are up in arms, and they should be. Some are blaming RBG for not retiring sooner so that her replacement could have been nominated by Obama.

Well, I guess she could have. Knowing what we know now, she would have to have stepped down some time in 2015…before the election cycle had got too hot. We know that by February  2016, when Antonio Scalia died, it was already too hot, which is why Merrick Garland is now Attorney General, and not a Supreme Court Justice.

So, yes, I guess RBG should have stepped down prior to February 2016 and further tested how much of a turd bucket Mitch McConnell would turn out to be. I think that is a super great and valid argument. Of course, once Trump was elected, I think we all believed (those of use who cared about a court that did not have a conservative super majority) that RBG was hanging on for as long as she could, although when she did die, none of us who care about a court that does not have a conservative super majority ever believed that Mitch McConnell would apply the same rationale in keeping Scalia’s seat open until after the election as he would where RBG’s seat was concerned. That woman’s family hadn’t finished sitting shiva before Amy Coney Barrett was having tea at the Capitol.

You would hope that the third branch of government, which was always intended to be the “purest” and least subject to politics and back-door wheeling-dealing, would remain, despite the disgusting partisan farce that has been playing out for the last thirty years, would have tried to keep itself clean, and in some respects, it has little control how future justices are vetted and brought to the bench.

Once there, one hopes that the gravity and history and power that informs every word they write and act they take is burnished by an appreciation that they follow in the footsteps of the justices who issued landmark opinions that shaped this country for good.

But now it seems this inveterate institution that the public used to respect and revere now holds a place of respect somewhere around the National Enquirer and “Keeping up with the Kardashians.”

John Roberts, you’ve got your work cut out for you.



I hear a lot of people worrying about all those poor guys out there who get accused of rape – you know, people like Donald Trump, Jr., who is more concerned about his sons than his daughters where the issue of sexual assault is concerned.

And you know, let’s be honest here:  Guys have it tough.  It’s hard when all women, without exception, immediately report that they have been sexually assaulted (that is, maybe 20%, at best), and most women who accuse men of rape are lying (a whopping 2% – 10% according to one US Study, 8% according to the FBI), so what’s a guy to do?

Lucky for you boys, it looks like you the criminal justice system has got your back.  Between prosecutors who won’t charge and judges who aren’t sure sexual assault is really so bad, you can be free to rape away without cause for concern.  At best, you’ll walk with no jail time, and at worst, you may have to serve a few months (less if she was drunk, because she was asking for it).

Here’s the story – a Play in Five Acts – curated expressly for all those Rapey McRapersons who just can’t keep their hands to themselves.


In June 2015, Brock Turner, a student at Stanford University and a member of its swim team, was discovered by two graduate students as he raped an unconscious woman.  Although Turner attempted to flee, one of the students chased him down and tackled him as Turner smiled and laughed.

The victim, whom Turner had approached and tried to kiss at a fraternity party earlier that evening, was taken to the hospital, where she was found to have dried blood on her hands and elbows, abrasions, bruising, and penetrating trauma to her genitalia.  Turner admitted to having consumed nine drinks on the evening in question and had a blood alcohol level of 0.17% at the time of his arrest.  The victim’s BAL was estimated to be roughly 0.22% at the time of the assault, a level which would have precluded her from giving consent.  A year prior to the assault, Turner was arrested on campus for underage drinking; his cell phone texts included extensive discussions of his use of alcohol and illegal drugs.

At trial, the jury convicted Turner of assault with intent to rape an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object, and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.

Prior to sentencing, Turner’s father read a letter in which he lamented that his son “will never be the one that he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve… He will never be his happy go lucky self with that easy going personality and welcoming smile,” and stated that a prison sentence would be “a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life.”

Although the prosecuting attorney had requested a sentence of six years (the minimum guidelines for the charges of which he was convicted), Presiding Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Turner to six months in prison, followed by three months of probation.  In support of this decision, he cited Turner’s youth, lack of a significant prior record, and lack of “criminal sophistication,” noting as well that “there is less moral culpability attached to the defendant who is legally intoxicated” and that a prison sentence would have a “severe impact” on Turner.

In September 2016, Turner was released from jail after serving only half of his six-month sentence.  Turner has never admitted to the conduct which led to his conviction and maintains his innocence.

Takeaway:  A “dry humping” defense may not be particularly effective – a better strategy is to blame it on “the party culture and risk-taking behavior” that is a part of college life.


On August 8, 2017, 34-year-old Justin Schneider offered a young woman a ride in his truck.  She accepted, and he agreed to take her to her destination after he stopped to pick up a few things from a friend.  A few minutes later, he pulled over, stopped his vehicle, and asked her to get out of the truck to help him load up.  When she did, he grabbed her by the throat and choked her until she blacked out, all the while threatening to kill her.  He then masturbated to completion on her face.  As the victim regained consciousness, Schneider was zipping up.  He threw her backpack at her and drove away.

Somehow, the victim had the presence of mind to call 911 and report Schneider’s license plate.  Schneider, who is married, did not contest the victim’s version of the events, but he didn’t have to:  In Alaska, it’s not a crime to jerk off all over someone’s face.  Assistant District Attorney Andrew Grannick also declined to pursue kidnapping charges because “the victim willingly got into Mr. Schneider’s vehicle and willingly drove with him to the location of the assault.”

Schneider plead guilty to a single count of second-degree assault and was given a suspended sentence of one year in prison.  The district attorney who agreed to the plea deal stated that Mr. Schneider should be on notice that this is his one “pass,” noting also that Schneider had already received a “life sentence” when he lost his government job as the result of his conduct.  Sentencing Judge Michael Corey warned Schneider, “this can never happen again.”

As he walked out of the courtroom a free man, Schneider stated, “I would just like to emphasize how grateful I am for this process.”

Teachable Moment:  If you ask the girl if she wants a ride and she says yes, anything goes!


Scene 1:  If There is No Gun, It’s All in Fun

In 2017, a 16-year-old Eagle Scout “from a good family” raped an intoxicated teenage girl, filmed it, and sent it to his buddies with the text, “when your first time having sex was rape.” The video showed the assailant penetrating the young woman from behind and banging her head against a cement wall.  Prior to the assault, the defendant and other males at had sprayed Febreeze on the victim’s buttocks and slapped her so hard that she had visible hand marks even many hours later.  Video of the victim at the time of the rape revealed that she was stumbling and slurring her speech.

After the victim pressed charges, the prosecutor sought to have the assailant tried as an adult.  Judge James Troiano declined to do so, stating that the defendant had good test scores, was from a good family that had sent him to an “excellent school,” and was destined to go to a good college.  Troiano also refused to characterize the defendant’s behavior as “rape,” but suggested what had happened was merely a “sexual assault” because there was only one assailant, and no weapons were involved.

Troiano also attributed the defendant’s admission of guilt via text to “a 16-year-old kid saying stupid crap to his friends” and chided the prosecuting attorney for telling the victim and her family that bringing charges against the boy could have a “devastating effect” on his life.

Scene 2:  It’s Not a Crime, Even if it’s Her “First Time”

Judge Marcia Silva of the Middlesex County, New Jersey Family Law Court, declined to try a 16-year-old boy who raped a 12-year-old girl in 2017, finding that “the offense is not an especially heinous or cruel offense.”  Although the victim reported that her assailant had

pushed her, grabbed her hands, removed her clothing and penetrated her without consent, causing her to lose her virginity, Judge Silva concluded, “beyond losing her virginity, the State did not claim that the victim suffered any further injuries, either physical, mental or emotional.”

A Tip from the Pros:   Location, location, location!


Judge Calvin R. Holden seems to have a special love of child molesters – let’s look at his record:

  • In 2019, he sentenced 22-year old Joseph Robert Meili, who plead guilty to third-degree child molestation after raping an 11-year-old girl in his Missouri home, to five years of supervised probation, with no jail time.
  • The same day, he issued the same sentenced to 21-year-old Avery Genovese, who was convicted of the statutory rape of a 12-year-old girl.
  • In 2016, he sentenced a 24-year-old man who sexually assaulted an 8-year-old he had agreed to babysit to 30 days in jail and five years of probation.
  • ater that year, Beau Maurice Gormley, 33, who had been convicted of the statutory rape of a 16-year-old co-worker, received the same sentence from Holden.

Practice Pointer:  The probationary period is a great time to get your online degree – at the end, your criminal record may be expunged, and you’ll be so much more marketable!


  • A Texas woman who had been hospitalized and sedated was repeatedly raped by a physician, Shafeeq Sheikh. The victim tried calling for help, but the nurse’s button was unplugged.  He was eventually convicted of rape but was given no prison time (2013, Texas).
  • Austin James Wilkerson sexually assaulted an intoxicated freshman at University of Colorado at Boulder, after telling her friends he would take care of her. Judge Patrick Butler, however, said he “struggled” with the idea of putting Wilkerson in jail, ultimately sentencing him to 20 years probation, and two years in a prison work-release program (Colorado 2014).
  • Owen Labrie, a student at the elite St. Paul’s School, was accused of raping a 14-year-old female classmate as part of “Senior Salute,” a game of sexual conquest. He was found him guilty of misdemeanor sexual assault charges and endangering a child’s welfare and was sentenced to a year in jail, of which he served less than nine months, having been released for “good behavior” (2015, New Hampshire)
  • Baylor University student Jacob Walter Anderson repeatedly raped, gagged, and choked a woman at a 2016 frat party. Anderson pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of unlawful restraint, and agreed to go to counseling and pay a $400 fine.  He will not be required to register as a sex offender or serve any jail time (2016, Texas).
  • 18-year-old David Becker sexually assaulted two of his classmates while they were sleeping following a house party, stating he thought there was nothing wrong with his conduct because the victims – who, again, were asleep – “didn’t protest.” He was sentenced to two years’ probation.  Said his attorney, “[h]e can now look forward to a productive life without being burdened with the stigma of having to register as a sex offender.” (2016, Massachusetts)
  • Nicholas Fifield of Iowa, met a woman who suffered from seven mental disorders, including autism and dissociative identity disorder through an online dating website and convinced her caretakers at the group home where she lived to let him take her to the movies. Instead, he allegedly took her to his home and forced her to perform oral sex.  Fifield was charged with third-degree sex abuse of a person “suffering from a mental defect or incapacity, which precludes giving consent.” But plead guilty to a lesser crime.  Polk County prosecutor John Sarcone told the press he would not pursue jail time for Fifield, claiming “prison would not do this kid any good” (Iowa 2016).
  • John Enochs of Illinois received one year of probation after being accused of raping two women; prosecutors accepted his plea to the charge of misdemeanor batter despite surveillance video which clearly showed him entering the room of one of the victim and notwithstanding that the second victim produced an eyewitness, who confirmed her account of rape (2016, Illinois).
  • A South Dakota high school student was raped by a classmate during a summer band trip to Minnesota. The rapist, Nicholas Schumacher, was found guilty of felony sex assault the following year, and sentencing guidelines called for a four-year prison sentence.  Instead, he was given a year’s sentence in the county jail but released after only nine months (2016, Minnesota).
  • A woman alleged that University of Virginia student Stephen Baril (the grandson of a former Virginia governor) offered to walk her home from a bar but ended up taking her to his apartment where he raped and sodomized her. Baril plead guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery and felony unlawful wounding and was sentenced to five years of supervised probation (2017, Virginia).
  • Logan Michael Osborn, met a 14-year-old girl at a high school play, asked her to take a walk, then pushed the girl down, tied a belt around her neck and hands and performed a sex act as he pushed her against a fence and down to her knees. Osborn plead guilty to carnal knowledge of the victim but claimed that the encounter was consensual. Osborn was originally sentenced to 10 years in prison with eight years suspended, but Osborn never served any time after the trial judge issued a stay with respect to the 2 years’ jail time despite seven prior allegations of sexual misconduct (2017, Virginia).
  • 26-year-old Shane Piche admitted to raping a 14-year-old girl who rode the school bus he drove. Piche, who plead guilty to third-degree rape, invited the 14-year-old victim to his New York home, gave her alcohol and raped her. He was sentenced to no jail time and received 10 years’ probation (2016, New York).
  • Alec Cook was convicted of multiple sexual assaults, stalking and choking women at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Cook admitted to these charges at his sentencing hearing, stating “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”  The charges carried a possibility of 40 years in jail.  He was sentenced to three (2018, Wisconsin).
  • Michael Wysolovski admitted to keeping a 17-year-old teenage girl in sexual captivity for more than a year. When she was found, she was severely malnourished and been kept in a dog cage.  Her assailant plead guilty to first-degree cruelty toward a child and was sentenced to 8 months in jail, plus 10 years’ probation (2018, Georgia).


Are you mad now? No?

Well, maybe you will be when I tell you that there are people sitting in jail right now, who have been sentenced to life in prison, for the following crimes:

  • Attempting to cash a stolen check
  • Possessing stolen wrenches
  • Siphoning gasoline from a truck
  • Shoplifting three belts from a department store
  • Taking an abusive stepfather’s gun from shared home

Consider also that the unfortunate ones below served more time that most of the rapists on the above list:

  • Gary Harrington served a 30-day jail sentence after collecting rainwater on his property. It was apparently a violation of a state law that says that all water is publicly owned, according to the 1925 Oregon law.
  • Ashley Huff spent a month in jail after she was accused of possession of methamphetamine when police found a suspicious spoon in her car. Turns out the residue was in fact sauce from a can of SpaghettiOs.
  • Lori Teel was summoned to appear in court after she forgot to return one Twilight book and two DVDs of the set Twilight: New Moon. When she failed to do that, a warrant was issued for her arrest and she was incarcerated for a night.
  • Tonya Ann Fowler didn’t like her unattractive police mugshot, so she called 911 to complain. She got arrested and had the chance to have a new mugshot before spending three days in custody.

Are you mad now? No?

Well then, I give up.


Choice and the 63 Million

Pro-Choice advocates are appropriately concerned about recent laws enacted in Georgia, Alabama and Missouri that effectively outlaw abortion under any circumstances and would imprison physicians who perform them.

These laws are unconstitutional. All sitting Supreme Court Justices testified under oath during their confirmation hearings that, consistent with stare decisis (the bedrock principle of our judicial system) they would uphold the precedent of Roe v. Wade, as that is a matter of settled law.

If the justices act as they have promised they would (so help them God), these laws represent an obstacle for women seeking legal abortion – no small thing – but ultimately one which is temporary.

If the justices do not act as they have promised they would (so help them God), then Roe is overturned and states are free to enact legislation outlawing abortion.

We all know what happens next: Unsafe, life-threatening back alley abortions for the poor; safe, “therapeutic” D & C’s for the rich. Same as it ever was.

There isn’t much any of us can do to influence the make-up of the Supreme Court…that ship sailed 2 1/2 years ago when 63 million Americans put their faith in an unhinged narcissist whose single consideration in all things is, which choice will inure to me greater power and total control?

What we can do is make sure he doesn’t get re-elected, which, given his behavior thus far, shouldn’t be a tall order, except it turns out that our country is a lot more racist, homophobic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, and misogynistic than anyone ever suspected.

And then there are those lawmakers in Georgia and Alabama. They didn’t just wake up one morning as legislator or governor…someone elected them. A whole lot of people, actually, and one must assume that those people are okay with ending a woman’s right to choose whether or not she wants to have a child, even if that decision was foisted upon her by a rapist.

And so I guess what I’m saying is, if you don’t like where we are headed, then thank the good people of Alabama, Georgia, and the 63 million who elected a king.

Me? I’m proud to be one of the 66 Million.

On Mother’s Day, If You Care About Mothers…

It’s Mother’s Day…time for all who have mothers to be guilted into buying florid, ornate greeting cards, wildly overpriced flowers, or jewelry chain store bling, so as to check off that box.

A time for some politicians, in a transparent act of pandering, to wax rhapsodic about the importance of mothers while enacting legislation that limits reproductive choice, gutting critical educational programs and funding, lifting regulations intended to address the impact of climate change, repealing the ACA, all while enabling children to be gunned down in school day after day after day.

If you care about mothers, support their right to make family planning decisions free from the threat of criminal liability.

If you care about mothers, make sure their children have access to quality education.

If you care about mothers, work to guarantee that their children will have a healthy planet on which to live.

If you care about mothers, insist that they can assure their child’s good health by demanding affordable health care.

Finally, if you care about mothers, scream at the top of your voice for sensible gun control, so that those mothers don’t end up burying their children.

Or you can just buy a card and call it a day.

Big Racks and Small Dicks

I was recently at a deposition with six other attorneys. Besides me, there was only one other female, and she was very young.

The conference room where the deposition was being held had a deer head mounted on the wall. It was noted by one of the men that the deer had a small rack.

This meant that said deer didn’t have a lot of antlers.

I understood that term in the context in which it was used, because I live in Northeastern Pennsylvania, where there are a lot of deer, and a lot of people who like to hunt.

I have no issue with deer hunting. Everyone I know who hunts abides by the rules, practices strict gun safety, and uses the venison wisely. Deer are in no danger of extinction, hunting season is closely regulated (when you can hunt, how many you can kill, etc.) and most hunters are careful and responsible. Many of Michael’s patients are hunters who bring him venison treats – we once had a venison chili that couldn’t be beat.

So, the hunting part of this isn’t the thing that bothered me, and when I heard the assessment that the deer did not have a big rack, I understood that to be a sporting person’s description of the breadth of the deer’s antlers. That was fine.

But then someone else said something like, “hey, be careful what you say about BIG RACKS, heh heh heh,” thereby introducing into a conversation about interior decor a sexual component, i.e., women’s breasts. Because of course they did. One of my partners was also present, and I think he was as disgusted as I was, but we let it pass, and then we spent three hours talking about snow removal and backhoes.

Later, as we were leaving, someone mentioned a painting in the front room – the offices are located in a lovingly restored old mansion, which feels more like a antiques shop than a law firm. The painting was a portrait of a woman who looked a lot like Martha Washington, bonnet and frilly blouse which, for reasons not immediately apparent to me, was pulled aside to reveal her right breast, rosy nipple and all.

Which, if hanging in a museum, or someone’s house, would be fine (though perhaps still somewhat confusing. Was she getting a mammogram? Was she about to breastfeed? We will never know).

But in a law office, maybe not so much, because such a display tends to embolden people to say things, as one of the male attorneys did, like, “Now, THERE’S your big rack!” Again, not my partner, because he’s not an asshole.

I left.

Now, I’m not often in a professional situation where there is artwork that depicts the naked form – I would say it’s happened less than two times in my career. Taxidermy has also played a fairly limited role in the category of “things you talk about while waiting for a deposition to start,” although I did once have a case in which it was the plaintiff’s job to paint glass eyes for stuffed wildlife. Apparently, this woman used to stick her brush in her mouth in order to better shape the bristles, but then she got lead poisoning. There’s probably a lesson to be learned in that story, but we will leave that for another day.

Anyway, as I thought about these juvenile comments about women’s boobies, I got so mad, and I just wanted to say, “You know, some guys have really big dicks, and what girl doesn’t like a big fat dick? You know, THAT guy looks like he’s really packing some heat! Let’s now talk about dicks and how much we girls really like us a high hard one!” Which is pretty much the female version of what these guys were saying, if women were great big walking glands who made most of their decisions based upon the whims of their gonads.

I have a feeling that if I said something like that, those guys would have been very uncomfortable, and would probably have thought that I was pretty unprofessional, and they would have been right. They would have been shocked. For some reason, however (eons of male patriarchy, I imagine), some men still think it’s okay to talk about women’s bodies, particularly the parts that the bathing suit covers, but even if it’s in the abstract, guess what? Not okay!

No one said anything about my boobs (they’re not very noteworthy, though they performed yeoman’s service for a several years doing the very thing they were designed to do), and no one groped me or asked me to perform a sexual act (that’s setting the bar high).

Still, is it too much to ask that professionals gathered to conduct a legal proceeding not act like a bunch of 14 year old boys who got their hands on a Playboy magazine? (And yes, I know I’m harkening back to a gentler age…these days, it’s more likely porn on someone’s smartphone).

Some young women say they don’t need feminism. I would respectfully suggest that the incident I’ve just described, which happened just a few days ago, is a good argument for why we do.

Also, Les Moonves.

I get weary of the bad behavior, wearier still of people who think it’s harmless. It isn’t. Every time something like this happens, it’s an attempt by a man to diminish the women present, akin to saying, “it doesn’t matter that you’ve passed the bar and practiced law for years and are probably a better lawyer than I am, I will reduce you to nothing more meaningful that your physical attributes, which exist solely to give me pleasure.”

At its most benign (I guess), it’s a bit of a test to see how the women in the room respond, on two levels: One, is she one of the guys who goes along to get along, or is she a shrill, emasculating bitch who takes the fun out of everything? Second, is she a little bit naughty, and will she play along, in which case now we’re theoretically contemplating, in the abstract, a sexual encounter, which is yucky and awkward and really, really gross. Because even if you DO have a great big dick, I’m not interested.

Anyway, I’m not sure what I should have said, but I felt particularly bad for the young woman sitting there, and I felt bad that I didn’t speak up, because I’m old and I can afford to be the humorless menopausal schoolmarm who calls these jerks to the carpet. That young woman deserved more from me, because I know how demoralizing a lifetime of this brand of bullshit can be, although, who knows? Maybe she didn’t even hear it.

But I did, and it makes me angry that men continue to think it’s funny and acceptable to objectify women.

Also, I feel bad for the deer.

A Sonnet to All the Dicks Who Like to Talk About Big Racks 

Constrain her to a finite set of choices,
Assure she can’t provide without a man.
Preclude her giving heed to louder voices
That tell her that she absolutely can.

Convince her that she has no real potential,
And tell her that she needs to be “completed.”
Presume that she will ne’er be influential,
And watch your propaganda be defeated.

We ask no more than fundamental fairness
As straight, White, Christian males assume their due.
A level field, integrity, awareness
If that’s what you get, damn it, we do, too.

A warning, boys, in case I didn’t mention –
We’re wide awake. You’d better pay attention