Deep Dive Into Sexual Assault(Or, Why I’m Still Pissed Off At Gender Traitor Susan Collins)

Brett Kavanaugh is back in the news – a deeper (way too late) investigation by the NYT as to allegations by fellow Eli Deborah Ramirez that the now SCOTUS Justice wagged his penis in her face.

Which is gross. If it happened. #probablydid

Did he? Who knows. #hedoes #maybenot #wholelottabeer

I’m so weary of allegations reported too late to make a difference, even as I understand exactly why the victims were too afraid of potential repercussions to come forward. #metoo

Because who knows who will someday be nominated to serve on the nation’s Supreme Court?

Who knows how important it may later be that someone entrusted to interpret the Constitution views half the population as chattel existing solely to wash one’s socks and administer blow jobs?

Who knows how badly a woman’s character and credibility will be destroyed before her allegations are ultimately discounted as lies, even though she has a doctorate in neuroscience? #badly

Who knows the political climate that may then exist, or the appetite of the 1% to vigorously insist that potential jurists not be the subject of myriad allegations of sexual assault?

Who knows how powerful the Fundamentalist “Christian” movement will become? Who can imagine the depths to which they will sink in an effort to bolster the “pro-life” agenda?

For centuries, the idea that women were less than men was accepted as fact.

Which is why raping women wasn’t such a big deal. Ever. And still isn’t.

And why it’s okay to take your tiny little privileged pee pee out and shake it in the face of a woman in order to impress upon her – if 18 years in this society had not already imprinted on her brain – that women exist solely to tend to your needs and satisfy you sexually.

May we someday be a culture that does not tolerate sexual assault, of any person.

May we someday be a culture that believes allegations of sexual assault, by any person.

May we someday have a government that reflects the realty of its citizenry.

COVID 19 Diary – 5/3/20

This from Oklahoma:

“In the short time beginning on May 1, 2020, that face coverings have been required for entry into stores/restaurants, store employees have been threatened with physical violence and showered with verbal abuse,” City Manager Norman McNickle said in a statement. “In addition, there has been one threat of violence using a firearm.”

Dalai Lama says we need to be kind.

Dalai Lama, I am all out of kind right now.

COVID 19 Diary – 5/02/20

During World War II, as United States industry turned its attention to manufacturing military equipment and food was needed to feed troops, Americans were forced to do without – or, at least, to do less. Tires, cars, fabric, and certain home goods were hard to come by; most food were rationed.

I wasn’t alive then, but I have a feeling people weren’t storming their state houses, armed and furious at the gross violation of their civil rights.

Then, there was agreement that we as a nation were united against a common enemy, and whether you loved or hated FDR, his message for the entirety of his wartime leadership was one of unity underpinned by a singular desire to bring peace to the people he knew he existed to serve (and no, he wasn’t perfect. He cheated on his wife and had the blood of those aboard the MS St. Louis on his hands).

Things are a little different here in 2020. Some 80 years later, when most people have never seen an iron lung and find the idea of losing a child to diseases now preventable through routine vaccination protocols, I’m not sure there is even agreement that COVID 19 is a common enemy, and of all the things that are important to the person in the Oval Office, “promoting unity” is on the list right below “stop groping women” and “read a book.”

We as a country have become a spoiled, indulged toddler whining for candy in the grocery store line. We can not tolerate a moment’s discomfort; we are impatient and intolerant of anything that stands between us and instant gratification. We so take for granted the relative ease and privilege of our lives that being asked to stay at home is, for some, a burden of such oppressive dimensions it warrants screaming at law enforcement officers, health care workers, and elected officials – all of whom have no motive other than to – wait for it – keep people safe.

Selfish fucking bastards.

What is even more difficult to stomach is the staggering hypocrisy of so many protesters, armed with their placards invoking the Constitution and insisting with the hollow self-righteousness of someone who has never actually read the Constitution that their personal freedoms have been abridged.

It’s probably not even worth mentioning that these protestors believe absolutely in their right to do so, even though these demonstrations force local governments to deploy law enforcement personnel to make sure things don’t get out of hand (and how could they, with this reasonable group of rabid, gun-toting zealots?) and, in at least on case, blocked access to a hospital. Thank god they’re not like that asshole Colin Kaepernick who disrupted traffic and required an armed police presence – at taxpayer expense – every time he took a knee at an NFL GAME.

Selfish fucking bastard.

But it’s about civil rights! Those inalienable rights articulated by our founders in the Bill of Rights. The same rights that guarantee freedom from unlawful search and seizure, and from cruel and unusual punishment. The same rights that guarantee equal protection under the law (okay, that came a little later). But they’re our rights, and NO one can take them away from us!!

Which is why these protesters had nothing but praise for LeBron James when he exercised his right to free speech by wearing a T-shirt at practice that said, “I can’t breathe,” or why they applauded Megan Rapinoe when she took a knee to protest the treatment of the LGBTQ Community in the United States.

And, of course, these protesters would never have supported GOP lawmakers who sought to institute stricter limitations on public demonstrations in the wake of more vocal and frequent protests in the Black Community intended to raise awareness about police brutality. Civil rights are civil rights, no matter what color you are.

But the protestors say, we have to lift all “shut down” orders so the economy can reset, so herd immunity can do its job and kill all the sick old people (because we don’t need them anyway), and so everyone can get a damn haircut.

Okay. You want to lift the quarantine? Let’s do it. As of this minute, all businesses can reopen, people can return to work, and anyone who wants a haircut can get a haircut. Protesters want the right to
Go shopping or out to dinner or bowling or to a strip club? You got it! Orders lifted! All of those businesses can reopen!

Happy now? No? How come?

Because some hair stylists, waitstaff, or other service providers don’t want to be exposed to your nasty germs, and won’t return to work?

Guess what? That’s THEIR civil rights, and you don’t get to decide what they get to do.

Even if you’re a spoiled, indulged, impatient toddler.

Selfish fucking bastards.

COVID 19 Diary – 4/29/30

Fuck you, Mayo Clinic. Fuck your doctors, nurses, staff, and patients. Fuck you all. I’m the Vice President, and I don’t need no stinking mask.

UPDATE:

Here was Toad Boy’s explanation:

“As Vice President of the United States I’m tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus. And since I don’t have the coronavirus, I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers these incredible healthcare personnel and look them in the eye and say thank you.”

The good people at the Mayo Clinic could tell you that you can be exposed and initially asymptomatic before becoming symptomatic. During this time, you can be ragingly contagious.

Also…and doctors, help me out with this…I didn’t know that wearing a mask rendered one unable to (1) talk; or (2) look people in the eye.

Finally, a nice way to say “thank you” is by being respectful of hospital protocols and by setting a fucking example.

COVID 19 Diary – 4/28/20

Doctors and scientists aren’t sure it’s a good idea for everyone to be getting back out there, going to restaurants, breathing on each other in the movies, and exposing salespeople and waitstaff to our nasty germs.

Lots of people who aren’t doctors and scientists say it’s fine.

One of them – a leader of the “Reopen North Carolina” movement, Audrey Whitlock – has tested positive for COVID 19. Can’t imagine how she got it.

Many are anxious to reopen the economy so that things can get back to normal, the stock market can start booming again, and everyone can get a haircut, but those pesky epidemiologists suggest that a premature re-entry could unleash a second wave of contagion.

I like my personal freedom as much as the next middle-aged lady growing out her gray hair, but I also like not dying, so I think I am going to listen to the people with advanced degrees, and not people who go to protests carrying signs that say “Live free or die” (or maybe both); “Freedom Trumps Safety” (which is why we let toddlers run into the street); and “Quarantine the Sick, not the Healthy” (great idea…now you tell me who’s sick and who’s not, please); and “Flatten the curve, not the Economy” (translation: “we should stay home, but we shouldn’t have to stay home”).

Anyway, the two major health networks in my home town both say I should stay home, and since staying home is more likely to keep me from dying than not staying home (so long as I avoid mainlining Windex, that is), I think I’ll stay home.

COVID 19 Diary – 4/24/20

At his press briefing yesterday, our president suggested that scientists explore whether the internal use of disinfectants could cure those with COVID 19.

He said it during a televised event ostensibly televised to provide information and guidance to the American people during a confusing time.

After being appropriately criticized for such an irresponsible suggestion, and following statements companies like Lysol and Clorox probably never thought they would ever have to issue (that is, don’t ingest our toxic, poisonous cleaning products), Trump now says it was a prank on reporters.

First, no it wasn’t. Watch the tape. Read the transcript. Don’t step in dog poop and tell me I farted.

Second, even if he were the kind of guy who liked a good prank – and in the last three years, Trump has displayed a sense of humor about as often as he has gone to church – now is really not the time, least of all when the intended audience is not reporters, but the American people.

Third, if it truly was a prank, maybe mention that fact while the people who might be inclined to experiment are still listening. Like, maybe say, “that was a joke, by the way, because I like to tease the reporters.”

Because, sadly, there are people in this country that, for reasons that confound me, trust this president above every other source of information, including ones we used to, as a nation, consider incontrovertible. There are some people who believe that he, and he alone, is the only person who will tell them the truth, and for whatever that says about them, Trump knows it, and he knows there are a few of them that would go straight to the cleaning cupboard and start chugging the Clorox if he told them it would keep them safe.

So, Trump is either (a) really bad at making jokes; (b) irresponsible in his pranking; (c) a bald-faced liar; (d) a complete and total moron; (e) a narcissist who believes he knows more than the CDC, WHO, Fauci, Birx, every doctor, nurse, respiratory therapist, epidemiologist/public health professional, biologist, toxicologist, etc.; (f) in the advanced stages of dementia; (g) on drugs; or (h) all of the above.

But maybe just one tweet to remind your peeps not to drink the bleach.

UPDATE: Dr. Birx had this to say today:

“When he gets new information, he likes to talk that through out loud and really have that dialogue and so that’s what dialogue he was having. I think he just saw the information at the time immediately.. and he was still digesting that information.”

So…it wasn’t sarcasm, it was Trump processing new information? Ummm….okay.

COVID 19 Diary – 4/23/20

For all who say “Blue Lives Matter”…I hope you’re as furious with these privileged, entitled white folks, whose contempt for law enforcement just trying to do their jobs is just staggering, as you are with those folks who got killed for being black in public.

Imagine what would happen if a group of black people started mouthing off about their civil rights and how their taxes pay the salaries of the police officers trying to enforce a state-wide order?

And BTW? Being a “mom” does not relieve you of civic responsibility.

COVID 19 Diary – 4/21/20

I see that Harvard, with its $40 billion endowment, is getting $8.7 million in coronavirus stimulus relief, while small businesses are at risk of shuttering forever. This seems, to put it in the Latin, bass-ackwards.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, after decisions to send students home for the balance of the semester were made, Harvard, like many colleges and universities, faced pressure from students and parents, as in, “are you planning on refunding any portion of my fees?” And Harvard, like many colleges and universities, DID issue pro-rated room and board refunds for students living on campus ($4,600, or about 27% of the annual room and board fee) but continues to charge full tuition. With an undergraduate population of around 6,800 (most of whom live on campus), that’s roughly $32 million, which is a lot of money.

But now deduct the food that isn’t being purchased, the water, electricity, heat and other utilities that aren’t being consumed, and the other goods provided to or for the benefit of students as part of room and board fees (toilet paper and other paper goods, cleaning supplies associated with housekeeping, cafeterias, and classroom buildings), and that number is substantially offset. Factor in, as well, that (unlike my alma mater, Mount Holyoke College) Harvard has laid off all employees that cannot work remotely, such as custodial staff and food service workers, and that number declines to an even greater extent. So, perhaps the loss isn’t as big as initially contemplated. But still a loss – hence (presumably), the application for stimulus funds.

Harvard is a great school – probably the finest institution of higher learning in the country. I’ve spent time with Harvard students and have had the privilege of walking its campus; it is everything it’s cracked up to be, and more. It’s the polestar we hold up as the ultimate academic achievement to which we and our children can aspire, and rightly so, because people who attend Harvard tend to be brilliant on a level that most of us cannot begin to comprehend.

I could have studied 80 hours a week from the time I was 6, taken SAT prep courses starting in 7th grade, and written an essay that would have made the rocks weep, and I still wouldn’t have gotten into Harvard, and even if I had, I wouldn’t have done well, because I’m just not Harvard Smart, and I’m fine with that. I think it’s really good that there ARE people who are Harvard Smart (in fact, it would be really nice if one of them was in the Oval Office right about now).

My point is, Harvard is great. Harvard graduates have shaped this nation – people like Theodore Roosevelt and Barack Obama and Antonin Scalia and Tom Morello. Harvard has been responsible for some of the greatest research, and thought, and scholarship, of our time. We need Harvard.

I’m just not sure Harvard needs stimulus money.

Many Harvard graduates go into law, medicine, science, research, banking, consulting, government, and business, but when I say “business,” what I mean is, Fortune 500 companies, as opposed to the types of local small businesses that are hardest hit by the COVID 19 epidemic. Harvard grads aren’t opening pizza shops or hair salons or dry cleaners or the many types of businesses most people frequent as part of their daily lives. Harvard grads are the types who often go on to make or influence or benefit from the laws that help big business. They are probably not, as a group, those hardest hit by things like economic downturns or once-in-a-century pandemics that threaten to eradicate the viability of the small business model seemingly forever.

Which is why Harvard grads are able to donate generously to their alma mater, which is why Harvard has an endowment of $40 billion, which is 50 times the endowment of Mount Holyoke, which also issued a pro-rated room and board credit AND retained its entire on-site staff AND raised over $200,000 in emergency aid for students impacted by the COVID 19-necessitated relocation from campus. So it seems as though maybe Harvard could have dipped into its endowment to cover the net portion of that $32 million room and board refund (or for whatever else the $8.7 million in stimulus money was intended), what with that being less than 3/100’s of a percent of the total endowment.

Harvard is not alone in its grabbiness. Ruth’s Chris Steak House received $20 million (it has cash reserves of $86 million and furloughed most employees following COVID 19 shutdown orders), and other larger companies did, too, with the result that the $350 million fund – which was intended to help small businesses with fewer than 500 employees – is now depleted. Many seeking modest aid packages well under $100,000 were denied.

The Harvard thing is just one more sign of the times we live in, where we no longer think on a community-minded level (if, in fact, we ever did), but from a “me first” perspective. We see an opportunity to get something, and even if we don’t really need it, by gosh, we’ll die trying (so much the better if it’s free).

Case in Point: Until stores started putting limits on certain high-demand items, people were hoarding things like masks and hand sanitizer, without realizing that a mask and hand sanitizer sitting on your shelf doesn’t protect you from COVID-19 nearly as well as that same mask and sanitizer being used by someone else. You know. So THEY don’t get YOU sick.

And all that food that people are starting to hoard? What makes anyone more entitled not to starve than someone else? Does the ability to access food and purchase in large quantities make a person more worthy of having food than someone who does not?

But tensions are high, times are uncertain, people are worried, and, yeah, I can understand panic shopping after you read articles about not having enough toilet paper or laundry detergent. At some point, that stuff is important.

But for those who have the least to fear – and in the world of academics, Harvard is that “who” – there is an opportunity to set an example, to step aside, and who knows? Maybe 87 coffee shops, or bakeries, or lawn care companies, or organic honey farms, or hand-made paper stores, or yoga studios, or auto service stations, or dog-walking businesses, or artisanal olive oil vendors, or custom bike shops, or exotic pet emporiums, or tattoo parlors, or WHATEVER, BECAUSE THAT’S THE AMERICAN DREAM, ISN’T IS? could have used that money to keep their doors open.

And you know, you would think Harvard would be all over that: What liberal New England educated East Coast socialist communist left wing sociopath like me does not regularly bemoan the cultural wasteland, the psychic fart bonnet, that is suburbia, with its big box stores and franchise food chains and cineplexes? There are no original ideas here, no literary salons or Algonquin Round Tables. This is where intellectual idealism goes to die, right next to a minivan and Weber gas grill. No one who ever graduated from Harvard ever wrote a scholarly work on the virtues of the suburbs, and every avant garde artiste, every cutting edge fashion designer, every beat poet or singer/songwriter or indie filmmaker worth his or her snotty Brooklyn address will tell you how they barely escaped the suburbs – thank god! before it was too late.

And what’s the ONLY thing that can save the suburbs?

Small businesses, that’s what. You know it. You’ve read it. You’ve heard it. Probably from someone with “Harvard” on their resume.

So, you would think Harvard would be embarrassed to even consider applying for those funds that Tim, the Guy Who Makes Vegan Muffins, and Tina, the Organic Butcher really, really need right now, but in Trump’s America, we no longer get embarrassed about anything, especially if we’re rich, and certainly not by anything as puritanical as the concept that greed is something to be avoided.

Maybe it’s time to stop telling kids, “study hard and you can go to Harvard! Work hard and you can become the President!”

Perhaps we should be saying instead, “study hard, and you can either attend a reasonably-priced institution of higher learning that will provide you with a solid education, or maybe a quality technical school to learn a trade such as plumbing or auto repair, because everyone has a broken car or a broken toilet at some point in their lives, and also, work hard, and you can be the owner of your own business, employe members of and contribute to the life of your community, and set a good example of character and leadership on a local level.”

And that’s all I have to say about that.

UPDATE: As of the afternoon, Harvard announced it would return all stimulus funds. Additionally – and this is critically important – HARVARD DID NOT APPLY FOR THESE FUNDS. They were automatically allocated for emergency relief for students impacted by COVID 19.

Aw, Harvard. I’m sorry. See? I told you I wasn’t Harvard Smart. But I am Mount Holyoke rigorous.

COVID 19 Diary – 4/19/20

I love taking apart vacuum cleaners.

I do.

Ever since I was very young, few things have given me greater satisfaction than taking apart a vacuum, cleaning out all the hair and gunk, wiping down the innards, and putting it back together, good as new.

I don’t mind saying I’m pretty darn good at it, too.

Had I not been able to pass the bar exam, I would likely have set up a nice little sew and vac shop somewhere and made $237.43 per week. It wouldn’t have paid for the Milanos, but boy, would I have been happy.

So it was with enormous delight that I, assisted by Mike OConnor, my favorite companion in all things, took on the steam cleaner.

We were victorious.

I should mention right about here that said steam cleaner was purchased in response to the chronic gastric condition that first befell our first Bernese Mountain Dog, Angus, some time around 2004 after eating half of a chocolate birthday cake. Later that evening, at approximately 2:30 a.m., Michael and I were awoken by perhaps the foulest smell ever encountered by those who do not live in a raw sewage drainage field.

Alas, poor Angus had showered the living room with liquid proof why chocolate and cake are not good foods for a dog. Have you ever seen dog crap on a drapery valance? Until that moment, neither had I.

In the days and weeks following The Night of the Shit Sprinkler, as it is now lovingly recalled in our house, we came to appreciate the need for deep carpet cleansing and thus came to invest in our dependable Hoover steam cleaner, Old Steamy, who served us faithfully for many years until (1) we finally got rid of all our rugs; and (2) Angus died. (Sad Face).

For many years thereafter, Old Steamy sat, unused and unappreciated, in the laundry room, collecting dust and serving as a permanent reminder that there was once a time when our house always stank of dog shit.

Then, just a few weeks ago, Kyle Svecz and Brittney Billman mentioned they had to steam clean the rugs in their apartment before moving out.

“Don’t rent a cleaner!” Michael and I crowed. “We have one you can use!”

Much like my Dad, who used to say, “aw, why’d you buy THAT? We have one of those in the basement!” Didn’t matter what “THAT” was. Could have been a salad spinner, could have been a nuclear centrifuge; according to my Dad, there was one in his basement.

But Kyle and Brittney are very polite, so they borrowed Old Steamy, and they pulled three or four decades of dirt out of the carpets that had probably never been cleaned before (and certainly not in the month prior to their move-in last January), and returned Old Steamy to us, and you could see it in his eyes…he felt…needed. He felt important. It was like the Velveteen Rabbit but sort of in reverse, or maybe not at all.

Except Old Steamy was looking really, really gross, and so it was that our odyssey to return him to his former glory began. Out came the screwdrivers! Out came the sponges! Out came the paper towels and brushes and cleaning solution!

We had our work cut out for us: Fifteen years of dried on, caked on, 100% genuine certified dog crap in every nook and cranny and corner and crevice and surface and gasket and slot. It took determination, grit, and elbow grease. It took a strong stomach and a resolute will. It took the love of an old Vac Girl.

We brought Old Steamy back to life that day, my friends, and I don’t mind telling you, well, we’re better for it. I’d like to think the world is a little better, too, or at least our little corner of it is.

And now you know.