A STORY OF RAPE IN FIVE ACTS, WITH AN ENCORE

OVERTURE

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.

ACT I:  SAD SWIMMER SORRY (NOT SORRY)

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.

ACT II:  ALASKA ATTACKER ABSOLVED (…AND ALL THAT JIZZ)

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!

ACT III:          EVERYTHING’S LEGAL IN JERSEY

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!

ACT IV:  HERE COMES THE JUDGE (….OR, FIVE IS MAGIC NUMBER)

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!

ACT V:  A FEW FOR THE ROAD

  • 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).

ENCORE, ENCORE!

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.

APPLAUSE

I’m Gorgeous

“I’m fat,” I say.

We’ve just made love…we are 55…we’ve been together for 36 years…we’re each other’s one and only lover…ever…

I was 110 pounds of long legs and silky hair when we met. I was gorgeous, but I didn’t know it.

We got married. We had kids. I was trim.

In my 40’s, for the first time in my life, I got fat. So fat, my breasts were abundant.

But I was fat.

I lost weight. I was, once again, slim. I was gorgeous.

Ten years passed.

I got fat again. Menopause and anti-depressants. Ten years older, crow’s feet and age spots.

Which is where I am today.

It’s okay.

Today, I love myself. I’m happy. I have a good marriage. My kids are doing well. My career is vibrant, and I make a good living. I’m talented and creative and…if you don’t mind a little padding, well…

I’m gorgeous.

Not because I’m slim, which is what he calls me, even though I’m not.

Not because I have exceptionally great skin, which I do.

Not because I can still turn a head. Which I can.

I’m gorgeous because I love, and I care, and I give and think and try.

I’m gorgeous because I love. I love. I LOVE.

It feels good.

“I’m fat,” I say as we make love. 165 pounds.

He doesn’t argue.

He’d like me thinner. I’d like that, too.

But still, I think, I’m gorgeous, even if I’m no longer his skinny little wife.

Knowing all the ways that I am, indeed, gorgeous, fills my soul with great joy.

I know.

It’s enough.

He loves me. He always will. He is my deepest and dearest and only love.

I am no longer slim. It’s unlikely I’ll ever weigh less than I do at this moment.

That will have to be okay for him. It’s okay for me.

I’m happy. I’m at peace.

So, I’m gorgeous.

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

Keep Your Deeply Held Religious Beliefs Off My Body

June 25, 2018

After giving birth to her first child, Nicole Mone Arteaga suffered a number of miscarriages. When she recently became pregnant again, her doctor monitored her carefully on a weekly basis; at 9 weeks, however, she learned that, tragically, the baby was not developing, that there was no heartbeat, and that the pregnancy would not result in a live birth. She was offered the option of an invasive surgical procedure or a prescription medication that would allow her to resolve the pregnancy at home, and which was likely less expensive and less medically risky. She discussed the matter with her physician, who ultimately issued an prescription for an “abortion drug.”

Ms. Arteaga did not want an “abortion,” and this pregnancy was no longer viable – no beating heart, no living fetus. She was heartbroken, because she had wanted this baby very much. But since there was nothing else to be done, she went to Walgreen’s to fill the prescription, aware that it would induce painful uterine contractions that would cause her body to expel a pregnancy she desperately wished to keep.

When she went to collect her prescription from Walgreen’s, the pharmacist on duty refused to fill it because of his “deeply held religious beliefs.” He expressed those “deeply held religious beliefs” to Ms. Arteaga, in front of other store customers and Ms. Arteaga’s 7 year old son. Ms. Aretaga attempted to explain her situation to him, but the pharmacist refused to budge.

Eventually, Ms. Arteaga was able to fill her prescription at another Walgreen’s store and then went home to complete her miscarriage. Walgreen’s has commented that, under Arizona law (and that of five other states), a pharmacist may refuse to fill a prescription when doing so would violate “deeply held religious beliefs,” but that the pharmacist must then step away and allow the prescription to be filled by another employee. That did not happen in this case, and Walgreen’s was appropriately apologetic to Ms. Arteaga for the conduct of its employee.

Everything I just wrote is a fact.

Here’s my take:

The pharmacist in this story thought his right to live his “deeply held religious beliefs” was more important than Ms. Arteaga’s right to fill a legal prescription ordered by a medical doctor.

He believed that his “deeply held religious beliefs” entitled him to violate Walgreen’s policy and Arizona law.

He believed that he had a right to impose his “deeply held religious beliefs” upon a customer who, through no fault of her own, was in need of a prescription medication.

He believed that his refusal to serve a customer who was understandably distraught over losing a pregnancy was consistent with his “deeply held religious beliefs,” none of which, it would seem, include the value of compassion.

He believed that HIS interpretation of his “deeply held religious beliefs” required Ms. Arteaga to, oh, I don’t know, continue the pregnancy until it ultimately terminated itself, with whatever medical risk that may have involved.

It is bad enough that this moron determined that his “deeply held religious beliefs” trumped Ms. Arteaga’s own motives, ethics and values – about which he made unfounded and inaccurate assumptions; what’s equally atrocious is that he also attempted to override the professional judgment of her physician.

Last time I checked, pharmacists don’t hold medical degrees. They don’t examine their customers, take medical histories, lay hands on them, or have discussions with them about treatment options.

Do they have to know something aboue medicine and physiology? Of course. But they aren’t physicians, and this particular pharmacist did not know whether or not there may have been extenuating circumstances which would have ruled out a D & C or a natural conculsion to the pregnancy because, guess what?

HE’S NOT A FUCKING DOCTOR.

I find it outrageous that this pharmacist thought his “deeply held religious beliefs” entitled him to override not only the judgment of someone who had ACTUALLY BEEN TO MEDICAL SCHOOL, but also to determine that it was his right to decide for Ms. Arteaga how she should deal with her dead fetus. That she, too, may have had “deeply held religious beliefs” about abortion was something he apparently never considered, nor, apparently, did it trouble him that shis prescription was not being filled for the purpose of terminating a viable pregnancy (thought it was none of his business in the first place whether it was or not) but, rather, to bring to a final conclusion what had already happened.

It is outrageous that some in this country believe that their “deeply held religious beliefs” are morally superior to the “deeply held beliefs” of those who may not agree with them.

It is outrageous that those same people believe that their “deeply held religious beliefs” entitle them make decisions for the rest of the world, including by refusing them access to healthcare.

This country was founded upon the principals of religious freedom, including the freedom to espouse viewpoints different from those purportedly held by some asshole pharmacist working at Walgreen’s.

And guess what else? Just because you call them “deeply held religious beliefs” doesn’t mean that I have to bow to them, or that they’re “right.” It just means that they’re yours.

I’ve never had a miscarriage, but I know plenty of women who have. Most of them were extremely excited to learn that they were pregnant, did everything they could to maximize the chances for a healthy pregnancy, and were heartbroken when they learned that the pregnancy had terminated. Those who miscarried spontaneously have described the pain and the emotional trauma of their experiences, which for many required them to retrieve the “products of conception” and deliver them to their doctors in order to make sure the miscarriage was complete.

Others learned that their pregnancy was over on the ultrasound table, and were sent home to await the miscarriage or undergo a painful medical procedure which has risks of its own. I don’t know which would be worse. What I do know is that each and every woman who has ever told me about a miscarriage – whether she has gone on to have more or other children – was deeply traumatized to lose a baby she very much wanted to parent, and the pain is still there even years later.

Bottom line, Mr. Walgreen’s Pharmacist? Ms. Arteaga came to you for a prescription she never wanted to have to fill, knowing from past experience that the process awaiting her after she took said medication would be painful and traumatic. Your response was to get up on your deeply held religious high horse, buttressed by the smug self-satisfaction of someone who has exactly ZERO understanding of what is like to be pregnant, or to lose a child to miscarriage.

Because I was curious, I looked up whether or not pharmacists take an oath with regard to the discharging of their duties; turns out, they do, and it includes, as the very first item, way at the tippy top of the list, the following:

“I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering my primary concerns.” https://www.pharmacist.com/oath-pharmacist

Looks like, in addition to Walgreen’s policy and Arizona law, this guy also violated his oath as a pharmacist. I guess the “welfare of humanity” and the “relief of suffering” are irrelevant in the face of one’s “deeply held religious beliefs.”

I also guess that those “deeply held religious beliefs” do not include the basic concept of “don’t be a fucking asshole.”

On Being A Feminist

October 10, 2017

Being a feminist doesn’t mean that you are “angry inside,” but it may mean you get angry when you see people treated differently based upon their gender, skin color, or ethnicity.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate an appropriate acknowledgment of some aspect of your character, but it may mean you don’t like it when random men on the street provide feedback about your boobs.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean you don’t lead a “normal life,” but it may mean that you understand that “normal” may be different for other people, and that everyone should find out what “normal” means for them.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean that you aren’t moral, but it may mean that you appreciate and respect that others may have different values than you do.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean that you hate men, although it may mean that you prefer a woman as sexual partner.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean you sleep with every man or woman you meet, but it may mean that you are comfortable exploring your sexuality in a mature and thoughtful way.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean that you are always on the look out for oppression, but it may mean that you are sensitive to situations in which someone is being evaluated or treated differently because of their gender, ethnicity, race, or religion.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean that you “won’t raise a family,” but it may mean that you do a lot of thinking about when and whether having children is something you are ready and able to do well.

It also may mean recognizing that the definition of “family” doesn’t necessarily mean getting married to a man and having and raising biological children with him.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean you have to have short hair, a bold look, or a confrontational facial expression. It may mean that you don’t buy into to societal norms about what constitutes feminine beauty, or that being physically pleasing to men may not be the most important thing on your list of priorities.

Being a feminist also means that you probably don’t make broad generalities about others based upon a staggering misunderstanding about what “feminism” actually means.

If you think about it, being a feminist pretty much means that you advocate that women not be treated differently from men – in the home, workplace, and society in general – simply because they have different body parts.

In fact, being a feminist pretty much means not being an asshole. Which is more than I can say for the person who created this meme.

The List

Updated 12/15/17

GOVERNMENT

Donald Trump (45th President)

Bill Clinton (42nd President)

George H.W. Bush (41st President)

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn)

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.)

Rep. Blake Fahrenholt (R-Texas)

Don Shooter, Arizona House

Raul Bocanegra, California Assemblyman

Tony Mendoza, California Senate

Steve Lebsock, Colorado House

Paul Rosenthal, Colorado House

Randy Baumgartner, Colorado Senate

Jack Tate, Colorado Senate

Jack Latvala, Florida Senate

Ira Silverstein, Illinois Senate

Dan Kirby, Kansas Senate

Jeff Hoover, Kentucky House

Dan Johnson, Kentucky House

Julian Carroll, Kentucky Senate

Tony Cornish, Minnesota House

Dan Schoen, Minnesota Senate

Joshua Peters, Missouri House

John Diehl, Speaker, Missouri House

Paul LeVota, Missouri Senate

Eric Schleien, New Hamphire House

Mark Menendo, Nevada Senate

Ruben Kihuen, Nevada Senate

Cliff Hite, Ohio Senate

Wes Goodman, Ohio House

Will Fourkiller, Oklahoma House

Ralph Shortey, Oklahoma Senate

Bryce Marlatt, Oklahoma Senate

David Gomberg, Oregon House

Jeff Kruse, Oregon Senate

Matthew Wollman, South Dakota House

Brian Gosch, South Dakota House

Mark Lovell, Tennessee House

Jeremy Durham, Tennessee House

Brendan Williams, Washington House

Clarence Thomas, United States Supreme Court

Roy Moore (Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, Alabama; former member of Alabama Supreme Court)

Alex Kozinski, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Andrew Capone, New York State Court

Rafael Ovalles, Rhode Island State Court

Thomas Estes, Massachusetts State Court

Richard Roberts, Federal Court

Ronald Duebbert, Illinois State Court

Hassan El-Amin, Maryland State Court

Timothy Parker, Arkansas State Court

George W. Huss, Montana State Court

John Caruso, Connecticut State Court

Bob Filner, Former Mayor of San Diego

 

ENTERTAINMENT

Harvey Weinstein, Producer

Roy Price, Producer, Amazon Studios

Andrew Kreisberg, Television Producer

Peter Aalbaek Jensen, Producer

Gary Goddard, Producer

Adam Fields, Producer

Morgan Spurlock, Producer

Matthew Weiner, Television Producer

John Lassiter, PIXAR

Chris Savino, Creator, “The Loud House”

Matt Weiner, Creator, “Mad Men”

Roman Polanski, Director

Lars Von Trier, Director

Oliver Stone, Director

James Toback, Director

Brett Ratner, Director

Kevin Spacey, Actor

Ben Affleck, Actor

George Takei, Actor

Jeremy Piven, Actor

Casey Affleck, Actor

Ed Westwick, Actor

Jeffrey Tambour, Actor

Steven Seagall, Actor

Andy Dick, Actor

Dustin Hoffman, Actor

Richard Dreyfuss, Actor

Tom Sizemore, Actor

Garrison Keillor, Host, “A Prairie Home Companion,” NPR

Louis CK, Comedian

Bill Cosby, Comedian

Eddie Berganza Editor at DC Comics

Kirt Webster, Publicist

David Guillod, Agent

Carter Oosterhouse, HGTV

 

MUSIC

Russell Simmons, Music Producer

R. Kelly, Musician/Rapper

Matt Mondanile, Real Estate, Duck Tails

Alex Calder, Singer/Songwriter

Ethan Kath, Crystal Castles

Twiggy Ramirez, Marilyn Manson

Nelly, Musician/Rapper

The Gaslamp Killer, D/J and Producer

Heathcliff Beru , Music Publicist

 

PHOTOGRAPHY

Terry Richardson

Bruce Weber

 

FINE ARTS

Benjamin Genocchio, Artist

Israel Horovitz, Playwright

James Levine, Conductor, Metropolitan Opera of New York

 

NEWS MEDIA

Roger Ailes, Fox News

Bill O’Reilly, Fox News

Mark Halprin, MSNBC

Charlie Rose, CBS/PBS/Bloomberg

Glenn Thrush, New York Times

Ryan Lizza,The New Yorker

Michael Oreskes, NPR

Tavis Smiley, PBS

Hamilton Fish, The New Republic

Rick Najera, Diversity Showcase (CBS)

Knight Landesman, Artforum

Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic

Lockhart Steele, Vox Media

Ken Baker, E! News

Andy Signore, Defy Media

Stephen Blackwell, Billboard Magazine

Roger LaMay, NPR

Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone

Matt Zimmerman, NBC

Jimmy Soni, Huffington Post

Giuseppe Castellano, Penguin Random House

Matt Lauer, Anchor, “The Today Show,” NBC

Tom Ashbrook, Host, “On Point,” NPR

SPORTS

Warren Sapp, Former NFL Player, NFL Network On-Air Analyst

Eric Weinberger, President, Bill Simmons Media Group

Marshall Faulk, Former NFL Player, NFL Network On-Air Analyst

Ike Taylor, NFL Network On-Air Analyst

Heath Evans, NFL Network On-Air Analyst

Gregg Zaun, Television Analyst, MLB Toronto Blue Jays

Eric Davis

Warren Moon, Former NFL player and Radio Analyst for the Seattle Seahawks

Donovan McNabb, former NFL Quarterback

Jamie Horowitz, Former President of Fox Sports

 

CHEF/RESTAURATEUR

John Besch

Bobby Flay

Mario Batali

Johnny Iuzzini

Ken Friedman

 

OTHER

Steve Jurvetson (Business/Venture Capital)

Larry Nasser, US Gymnastics Doctor