Two Years Into The Trump Presidency, a Mid-Term Review

So President Trump has been in office for roughly two years. How’s he doing? You be the judge.

1.  Consistency and Accountability

“I am proud to shut down the government for border security. … I will take the mantle…I will be the one to shut it down.”

~DJT Tweet, 12/11/18

“The Democrats own the shutdown!”

~DJT Tweet, 12/21/18

Senate: 51 R, 47 D, 2 I

House: 237 R, 197 D

2.  Stability

Nine of 21 White House and cabinet positions have turned over at least once during the Trump administration, compared with three at the same point of the Clinton administration, two under President Barack Obama and one under President George W. Bush.

~NYT, December 20, 2019

It looks as though Mnuchin, and possibly Fed Chief Jerome Powell, may also be waving sayonara very soon.  Hmmm.

3.  Leadership in Time of Crisis

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor.”

~DJT Tweet, November 10, 2018

“Such poor leadership by the Mayor of San Juan and others in Puerto Rico who are not able to get their workers to help. They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort.”

~DJT Tweet, September 30, 2017

4.  It’s the Economy, Stupid!

The Dow lost 1,655 points on the week, the worst percentage drop since October 2008.

The Dow and S&P 500 are on track for their worst December performance since the Great Depression in 1931.

Both the Dow and the S&P 500 are now in the red for 2018 by at least 9 percent.

~MSNBC, December 20, 2018

“I don’t think they can impeach somebody that’s doing a great job. You look at the economy, you look at jobs, you look at foreign, what’s going on with other countries. You look at trade deals. I’m doing a great job.”

~DJT Tweet, August 24, 2018

5.  Character

“On approximately June 16, 2015, Individual-1, for whom Cohen worked at the time, began an ultimately successful campaign for President of the United States. During the campaign, Cohen played a central role in two similar schemes to purchase the rights to stories – each from women who claimed to have had an affair with Individual-1 – so as to suppress the stories and thereby prevent them from influencing the election. With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intent to influence the 2016 presidential election. Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1.”

~United States of America v. Michael Cohen, No. 18-cr-602 (WHP), U.S.D.C. S.D.N.Y. Dec. 7, 2018

6.  Philanthropy

“The Trump Foundation has done great work and given away lots of money, both mine and others, to great charities over the years — with me taking NO fees, rent, salaries etc.”

~DJT Tweet, December 19, 2018

The Trump Foundation agreed to dissolve amid a lawsuit filed by the NY Attorney alleging it violated campaign-finance laws, abused its tax-exempt status and engaged in unlawful coordination with Trump’s presidential campaign. Other reports showed that Trump donated little of his personal money to the charity after 2006 and engaged in self-dealing, including the use of Foundation funds to settle legal claims against the Mar-a-Lago resort.

~Washington Post, December 19, 2018

7.  Patriotism and Loyalty

REPORTER (Jeff Mason from Reuters): President Putin, did you want President Trump to win the election and did you direct any of your officials to help him do that?

PUTIN: Yes, I did. Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the US/Russia relationship back to normal.

TRUMP: I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.

~Joint Press Conference, Helsinki, July 18, 2018

8 U.S. Intelligence Groups Blame Russia for meddling in the 2016 election, including the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the FBI, the NSA, the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and Republican-Led House Intelligence Committee and the Republican-Led Senate Intelligence Committee.

~New York Times, August 2, 2018

8.  Tyranny

On Kim Jong Un: “He speaks, and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

On Xi Jinping: “He’s now president for life….he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot some day.”

On Vladimir Putin: “If he says great things about me, I’m going to say great things about him. I’ve already said, he is really very much of a leader.

9.  Veracity

DJT said: “The overall audience [for the inauguration] was, I think, the biggest ever to watch an inauguration address, which was a great thing.”

~January 26, 2017

The Truth: The White House said 720,000 people attended the Jan. 20 inauguration in person, while Trump estimated 1.5 million. 1.8 million who attended Obama’s first inauguration. Approximately 30.6 million people tuned in to watch Trump’s inauguration on television. 41.8 million viewers watched Ronald Reagan’s 1981 inauguration.

DJT said: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”

“How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

~DJT Tweet, March 4, 2017

The Truth: No evidence has ever been adduced to support this claim.

DJT said: “If you buy, you know, a box of cereal, if you do anything, you have a voter ID. … The only thing you don’t is if you’re a voter of the United States.”

— 11/14/18 Interview with the Daily Caller

The Truth: You do not need identification to buy a box of cereal.

10. Respect for the Judiciary

“Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have ‘Obama judges,’” Mr. Trump wrote, “and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country.”

“Judicial Activism, by people who know nothing about security and the safety of our citizens”

~DJT Tweets, November 21, 2018

“The 9th Circuit is a complete and total disaster. It is out of control, has a horrible reputation, and is overturned more than any circuit in the Country.”

~DJT Tweet, November 22, 2018

“It just shows everyone how broken and unfair our Court System is when the opposing side in a case (such as DACA) always runs to the 9th Circuit.”

~DJT Tweet, January 10, 2017

“Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statement about me. Her mind is shot – resign!”

~DJT Tweet, July 13, 2016

 

That’s your president, Folks. Once again, thanks to all of you who made him so.

Those Crazy Helicopter Parents, and Why They Need to Eject

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Such a happy celebration, and a welcome reminder to me to stop being such a cranky old bag of dog farts.

Except that I was born a cranky old bag of dog farts (or, at the very least, a vocal observer who calls out the dog farty behavior of others), and so I have to post about something that makes me want to tear my ears off. By way of just a little bit of background, I attended a seven sisters school; my oldest also attended and graduated several years ago, and my youngest is now a student there. I recently discovered a College Family/Friends/Alumnae/Way Too Involved/Go Get a Freaking Life/Parents and Community Facebook Page.

So much material to scorn, so little time to be smug and superior.

At its best, the Community Page is a nice place to post pretty pictures of this idyllic and impossibly gorgeous wonderland that is perennially acknowledged to be among the Top 10 Most Beautiful Campuses in America (pause for a moment and reflect that my alma mater is, at its core, a bastion of fiercely independent warriors who brook no Polo-reeking Frat Boys and who enjoy spending a Friday night using words like “hegemony” and chiding their parents for uttering phrases such as “third world” or “developing nations” given their inherent arrogance and ethnocentrism. Yes, the campus is pretty, but woe to the person who believes it to be a “Catholic girls school” whose students pursue non-controversial majors while binge drinking on weekends, and where the focus of student unrest mainly concerns the wilted lettuce at the salad bar).

Though its value lies primarily in producing critical, independent thinkers and strong, capable leaders, there is no question that my school is spectacularly beautiful. As an alum, the parent of an alum, and the mom of a current student, I enjoy seeing snaps of my beloved alma mater bathed in the glorious jewel tones of October, blanketed in pristine white snow during the long winter, and gleaming resplendent in greens and pinks and puppies gamboling about the green as spring approaches.

It’s a pretty magical place.

So it’s nice that the Community FB Page provides this little slice of nostalgia to the likes of me whilst we pluck inch-long hairs from our chins and rub liniment into our creaky joints.

I also appreciate that it’s a forum where parents can voice legitimate concerns – the new dining commons, the design of which assumed an undergraduate enrollment of perhaps a third of the actual population (with the result that it is very difficult for students to eat sitting down during the high-volume lunch rush); the similarly short-sighted decision to admit far more students than current course offerings can accommodate (such that underclassmen are finding most of the courses they want filled before their registration time slot even opens); or, perhaps most importantly, the botched handling of an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by a professor that, it appears, was known to the administration since the 1980’s but was essentially ignored until just recently. (Badly done, Alma Mater).

These are all important issues that concerned parents want addressed, and as far as providing a forum to discuss those issues and share information, the Community FB Page is a helpful resource. Thank you, Community FB Page! #accountabilitymatters

What the Page also does, however, is nurture and encourage helicopter parenting at its absolute worst. Initially open to current students and faculty, the Page recently booted anyone who wasn’t family, friend, or alum after a kerfuffle in which, near as I can tell, a current student who was also a Page member blew the lid off those pesky, intrusive parents concerned about students smoking weed on campus (hardly something to write home about 30 years ago, and basically legal now) and wrote a searing article in the campus newspaper basically telling parents to BACK THE FUCK OFF.

In her piece, this woman criticized parents for being invasive and for inserting themselves into the minutiae of their children’s lives. She was RIGHT. Thank you, Brave Muckraking Journalist. #factsmatter

But then bunch of parents got all bent out of shape that this student dared criticize them, and one called her out like a spinster Presbyterian schoolmarm from 1873.

Then, in an unrelated matter, another parent went on a tirade directed at a professor for not being immediately available to meet with her kid, and the faculty member weighed in with some lame excuse like “we set up an appointment and your kid didn’t show up – twice- and I’m the (unpaid) coach of the rugby team and had to chaperone the women for an away game, but here’s my email and phone number, so have your helpless pudding cup of a child call me and I will meet with her whenever it’s convenient, even if it’s in the middle of my weekend while I’m out spending all the money I make as an assistant professor,” which I guess wasn’t a good enough explanation.

And so there was much wringing of hands by the HP’s (helo rental units) because, of course, this incident was the very thing that was going to permanently derail this kid’s entire college career and position her, certainly and forever, as someone who will never shop at Whole Foods or donate to PBS or spend two weeks each summer in a rented home in Tuscany with friends discussing the elderberry and nutmeg topnotes of the montepulciano they sipped at a vineyard near San Gimignano.

Some parents rightly chided the parent, pointing out that it is the student’s responsibility to address whatever issues she has, that inserting herself into the matter did nothing to assure that her daughter would learn to handle such matters on her own – which is sort of the whole point of college, itself a safe space where nearly adult humans are confronted with modest challenges and either succeed or, better yet, make mistakes and learn from them in a supportive environment where the consequences of making the wrong choices are relatively benign.

But the HP’s again fretted and expressed their hurt and outrage over the insensitivity of those who dared to express an opposing viewpoint.

It should come as no surprise, however, that parents who send their kids to eastern liberal arts colleges tend to get uncomfortable when people take a stand against anything other than Ted Cruz and disposable plastic straws (Query: When did it become a crime to use a disposable plastic straw? You’ll take my disposable plastic straw when you pull it out of the Gallon Bucket of Soda I just threw out the window).

So it was that the site moderators took swift action by ousting current students and most of the faculty/administrative presence (although a few college employees – those whose job it is to address non-academic issues – remain active to weigh in where helpful or necessary). In so doing, the moderators (themselves HP’s) seem to be striving for a controversy-free venue devoted to Happy Talk and photos worthy of Moho admissions department publications.

And that’s the Community FB Page in a nutshell.

After I joined the group this year after being alerted to its existence over the Family and Friends Weekend, I mostly ignored it, but my husband likes to watch my head explode, so he occasionally updates me as some of the truly asinine behavior masquerading as responsible parenting. For example, there were a slew of posts leading up to the Thanksgiving break in which parents attempted to manager their kids’ travel plans. I read with amazement as mommies and daddies turned themselves inside out making sure their offspring didn’t have to worry their pretty little heads about how to make it home for the holiday.

I turned to my husband (who often wishes he could shove an ice pick into his eardrums), and said, “When I was in college, I figured out ON MY OWN how the FUCK to get home for Thanksgiving!” Which often involved a variety of train, bus, and car rides that weren’t necessarily convenient or direct but which got me home safely and cheaply, and Lo, I lived to tell about it.

The point is, I made the arrangements. It never occurred to me to ask my parents to do that for me, any more than I would have called them to ask them to take care of a roommate situation (not because I didn’t have one – I did – and 30 years later, she’s still one of my best friends even though I made her wear peach when she was one of my bridesmaids). I know I probably had many complaints (I always do), although with 35 years in the rear view mirror – mostly I recall the blessings and gifts of my college years with gratitude for the woman they helped me become.

But things are different now. The brilliant Julie Lythcott-Haims has written extensively from her position as a former dean at Stanford about how today’s college students have been so micromanaged by their parents that they arrive on campus minimally prepared to deal with the challenges that await them (and let’s be honest: the vast majority of those “challenges” are of the 1% kind…a C- on a chem test LORD HELP US!). Julie has said everything there is to say with far greater insight and empirical data than I, but the point remains: Parents are WAY to involved, at their children’s expense.

Don’t believe me? Here’s another example from the Community FB page.

Last night, a parent asked for advice concerning her daughter’s plant.

You read that right.

As in, who would take care of her daughter’s dorm room plant over the winter break?

In the interest of fairness, I should probably add that, during first year orientation, students are invited to select a small plant from the college’s incredible arboretum – you know, to make their dorm rooms a little more cozy. I don’t recall this being a thing in the Fall of 1982, but maybe it was.

What I’m certain was NOT a thing is the so-called “college lore” (not really) that you won’t graduate if your firstie arboretum plant dies. Uh-huh. I know.

I sighed when I learned of this little nugget, along with others I heard for the first time during my youngest’s campus visit and which purportedly date all the way back to the school’s founding over 175 years ago (notwithstanding the four years I spent there in the 1980’s or my oldest daughter’s tenure there almost 30 years later in which there was nary a peep of such things). I suspect they were manufactured in recent years to add an extra bit of pixie dust to a legacy that needs no further burnishing – aren’t M&C’s, class animals, and Laurel Parade tradition enough?

As to the claim that the continued well-being of the Arboretum Plant plays any role in one’s successful completion of her Moho studies, if this “tradition” were true, the Amphitheater would be pretty empty each year at commencement. Truth be told, if anything is going to prevent a student from graduating, it’s probably going to be the PE requirements or organic chemistry.

And I have to add – because it would be criminal not to – that to predicate a woman’s ability to obtain her diploma on whether or not she can nurture a life form for four years seems firmly rooted in patriarchal oppression and entirely at odds with the overarching goal of educating women, but perhaps I am being overly dogmatic – indeed, I have a home filled with plants (although neither my success nor my access to opportunity is intrinsically tied to said plants’ viability).

I digress.

To recap, supposedly there is this “tradition” (there isn’t) and Sikorsky Mommy was concerned that her “DD” (darling daughter, that is – yes, I agree – barf biscuits all around) will not graduate if her Arboretum Plant DIES while said DD is home making merry over the holidays. God, those Syrians who had chemical weapons dropped on them by their own leader have NO FUCKING CLUE what it means to daily grasp, in the midst of overwhelming and utter hopelessness, at some chance for survival.

I thought, at first, that it was a joke. Then I read the comments that followed and realized that she, and her compatriots, were very serious indeed.

I was able to restrain myself for exactly as long as it took to finish watching Episode 5 of the 2017 season of “The Great British Baking Show” (just not the same since Mary, Sue and Mel left – and I feel appropriately shameful that Noel freaks me out even though he seems really nice and supportive), and then I had to respond. I think I said something like, if DD was responsible enough, old enough, and smart enough to go to college, she should be able to figure out how to take care of a plant. I don’t know exactly what I wrote because as of this morning, the whole post had been taken down. Thanks, Brave Page Monitors! #helicopterparentfeelingsmatter

I don’t care that my post was taken down (I suspect others who saw it agreed with me but refrained from weighing in in the name of cordiality, and also because the whole issue is so staggeringly dumb), and I’m actually surprised that my membership in the Safe Space for Parents to Invade Their College Students’ Lives Like Scabies was not revoked.

But here’s the thing: This is EXACTLY what the People Whose Politics We Don’t Like mean when they demonize millennials, except that they should be demonizing the parents who insist on infantilizing their children. If my kids EVER called me from school to ask me to arrange to have their plant taken care of for four weeks so they wouldn’t be at risk of NOT GRADUATING, after I mopped up the kitchen floor of the pee I expelled as the result of hysterical laughter combined with sorely challenged pelvic floor muscles, I would have told them (1) look it up on the interwebs; and (2) if you don’t graduate, you’ll need a better excuse than a dead plant; and (3) you need to be studying, hiking, or getting arrested for attending a protest march.

Except I doubt that DD ever mentioned her stupid Arboretum plant, except perhaps in passing, as in, “I really wanna binge watch “Friends” on Netflix, Mom…” and probably never even considered that if you don’t water a plant for a month, it often dies.

BECAUSE THEY’RE COLLEGE STUDENTS!

As another example of the sissification of America’s youth, yet another parent posted and generated 35 – THIRTY FIVE – comments on what snow boot to buy her never-spent-a-winter-in-New England daughter. I guess her kid has never bought footwear on her own before.

You know what happened to me when I bought shoes or clothing that did not keep me sufficiently warm and dry? I GOT COLD AND WET, AND THEN I LEARNED.

Lest you think I am a prickly, unsentimental ogre with an apricot pit for a heart, you should be aware that (1) I hate fruit; and (2) if my heart is other than a four-chambered organ intended to pump blood throughout my aging, cellulite-ridden body, it would be a Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll emblazoned in beautifully piped royal icing, “I love my daughters with every fiber of my being and frequently wonder what to do with these arms when they aren’t enfolding said daughters and pressing them to me, teary-eyed with pride and a love so fierce it you could install it on the Southern Border to successfully repel all those Islamic Terrorists in diapers that keep trying to infiltrate our nation.”

Which is a long, politically-charged sentence that conveys my love for a truly awful dessert treat while neglecting to mention my Bingo Wings (if you don’t know what they are, message me and I will tell you).

No mother ever loved her children more, nor yearned more profoundly that they become functional adults with meaningful lives than I – EXCEPT FOR PRETTY MUCH EVERY OTHER MOTHER OUT THERE and that’s the WHOLE POINT:

Sikorsky Mom et al., your “DDs” are no more precious or lovely or brilliant or WORTHY OF A MAGNIFICENT LIFE EXPERIENCE than every other young person out there, even if you have a lot of money and are yourself well-educated.

Helicopter parenting, it seems to me, finds its origins in the self-esteem movement of the 1980’s and 1990’s and from a desire of baby boomers to be more available and nurturing to their kids than their parents were to them.

At it core, though, Helicopter parenting is an ugly combination of “my child must be successful in order to validate me as a parent” and “my child is better than all other children and I will use my advantage and privilege to make sure he/she – worthy or not – gets pushed to the top in every circumstance and in every setting.”

My kids are now 27, 24, and 19. From the age of 18 to 27, the oldest was sometimes 5, sometimes 25 hours by car from home. During those years, she got sick, homesick, scared, and overwhelmed. She was even monumentally shafted during her graduate school years in the way that forever inscribes on your heart and etches upon your entrails that Life, in fact, is not always fair. Wherever she was, whatever she was doing, we always took her calls, checked in, listened and helped when asked. But we didn’t try to solve her problems for her. She now has a masters degree, a good job, and a caring and devoted husband who is also gainfully employed. They have and pay for their own housing, cars, and insurance. She survived.

My middle daughter, who has intellectual disability and is on the Autistic Spectrum, spent 9 months a 7 hour drive from home in a remote corner of West Virginia pursuing an education in equine care. Her school was 2 hours from a regional rail station or airport. Her roommate moved out a week after she got there, there was no student support whatsoever, and the promises that the school could and would make accommodations for her never materialized. We asked her if she wanted to come home, and though she was desperately lonely (she spent her weekends holed up in her windowless cinder block room, because no one could be bothered to get to know her), she opted to grind it out until the end of the year. She now has an internship in her field, a part-time job, is in a book club, rides, can cook a mean Chicken Francaise, and is doing just fine.

The youngest still isn’t fully baked, but she’s on her way. To put it succinctly, she can take care of her Arboretum Plant on her own or, if she chooses not to, can handle the repercussions.

I say this not to brag (though I’m quite proud of these kids), and with the understanding that no one knows how to parent well unless they don’t have kids. I’ve made many mistakes along the way, but my guiding philosophies as I raised my girls were (1) teach them to be resourceful and optimistic; and (2) make yourself obsolete.

Our children don’t need us to solve every problem for them. They benefit from learning how to cope with frustration and failure, for no life is so charmed as to be free of sadness, disappointment, or hopelessness. Being able to endure hardship is the only way that mankind has ever been able to persevere and ultimately succeed.

So, to the good people at the Community FB Page, if you truly want what’s best for your kids, leave them alone. Let them neglect their plants and go without snow boots and make their own travel arrangements. They will thank you, and you will have more time to watch “The Great British Baking Show.”

Also, you can’t go wrong with LL Bean footwear.

Midterms Wrap-Up and Electoral Surf-Jargon Wonk-Fest

Blue Wave? Well, to throw some surfer patois at you (thank you, http://www.surfing-waves.com/surf_talk.htm, for the hook-up) it was no Pipeline – more a Clean Set – and may end up an Ankle Buster that turned into a Pumping Reform.  Yeah.  You heard me.  This is not your father’s Election Night Post-Mortem!

Let’s take a look:

The House:

Leading up to the 2018 Midterms, the House was 235 R – 193 D, with seven vacancies, for a total of 435 seats.  As of this writing, Dems now hold 225 seats, the GOP won 197, and there are 13 up for grabs.  Of those races that are still too close to call, 10 are leaning Democrat.

When all ballots are counted and all races called, the House could be 235 D – 200 R.  We will have 55 Barneys (new members), and as many as 100 Bettys (women), including our own Wahine from the LV, Susan Wild – Slotted, Amped and Stoked throughout the campaign (yay, Susan!) who rode a Bomb to best her challenger, Marty “I Need a Rail Banging” Nothstein.

It was a time for new blood:  Gremmie Kendra Horn pulled an Epic Layback, upsetting Republican Rep. Steve Russell in Oklahoma’s 5th District.  There was some serious Cranking in Virginia, as Jennifer Wexton, Abigail Spanberger, and Elaine Luria caused their Male GOP opponents a serious Mullering.

But was it a Blue Wave? Well, according to political scientist Jacob Smith, from 1918 to 2016, the president’s party has lost an average of 29 House seats in midterm elections.  Presumably, then, the loss of MORE than 29 seats would constitute a “wave.”  If Republicans prevail in all 13 outstanding races, the tally would be 225 – 210, for a loss of 25 seats.  If the Dems prevail on 10, as predicted, the GOP will have lost 35 seats.  Sounds like it could be Stacking Up to a potential Thundoar.

The Senate:

The Upper Chamber is another story – a real Mushburger for Dems: Heading into Tuesday, the make-up was 51 GOP, 47 Dems, and 2 Independents, including Grey Belly Zimzala Bernie Sanders.  Thanks to some Shoulder Hops from DJT, many GOP candidates Slashed and it was Firing, and as of today, the GOP has held 51 seats, the Dems are at 44, with 2 Independents.

Potential Cinderella Brah Beto O’Rourke was Raked Over early on but looked to be on the Lip before getting Caught Inside, Locked In, and, ultimately Licked.  Another victory for incumbent Ted Cruz (people are saying he’s an Aggro Beach Leach who likes to Drop In).  In Pennsylvania, Lou Barletta went Over the Falls as Bob Casey was Trim in the Tube.

Three races are too close to call:  In Arizona, the fight between Sinema and Sally has gone back and forth; Sinema now leads by 9,000 votes, but roughly 400,000 ballots have not yet tabulated, suggesting that there could be more Clidro in the days to come.

In Florida, Rick Scott (he seems like he would be a Shubie Frube) is sitting on a razor-thin, 0.2% (representing a difference of 15,071 votes).  A projected 7,000 – 10,000 votes remain to be counted, but some media outlets suggest that at least 25,000 ballots from Broward County cast votes in the gubernatorial election but not in the U.S. Senate race.  Rick Scott has lodged allegations of voter fraud but has not yet disclosed the basis for those allegations.  All predictions tend to favor Scott.

Mississippi will hold a runoff election since none of the three candidates received over 50% of the vote.  The Republican candidate, Cynthia Hyde-Smith, is heavily favored over Democratic challenger Mike Espy.  The runoff election will be held on November 27, 2018.

When all is said and done, the GOP will hold the Senate, with a likely total of 53 to the Dems 44 and 2 Independents – the Sinema/Sally election could go either way – but it could be Stacking for Sinema.  In any case, Dems lost 2 or 3 seats.

State Elections:

In state races, Democrats flipped seven governorships.  Georgia is still too close to call, though Stacey Adams seems to be getting Worked in a Washing Machine and headed for a Dirty Licking, while the nicest thing you can say about her ethically-challenged opponent, Brian Kemp, is that he’s a Clucked Kook-y Paddlepuss.

Republicans flipped one governorship in Alaska – Mike Dunleavy was in the Green Room all the way.  Two secretary of state offices (Colorado and Michigan) flipped GOP to Dem.  Andrew Gillum is hoping for some way to hold on; conventional wisdom says he’s probably Noodled.

As for ballot measures, I’m totally Frothin’ that Florida has voted to make dog racing illegal while the folks in Massachusetts have voted to protect the rights of the transgendered.

And there you have it, your Surf-Time Election Wrap-Up.

You’re welcome.  Now go Hang Ten.  (Michael, you can Hang Eleven).

I’m Not a Junkie, But My Doctor is a Dick

Three weeks ago, I broke my right shoulder after falling in the shower. It was a stupid injury, and one that has severely impacted my ability to do a lot of things I take for granted, and I find myself in much the same position as the plaintiffs I routinely depose about similar injuries. When I hear them tick off all the things the can’t do because of a torn rotator cuff, I am much more compassionate, because I feel their pain – literally. Compassion is a good thing.

It’s also something that the caregivers with whom I have consulted for my injury seem to be utterly lacking. Over the last three weeks, I have learned that there are no circumstances under which I qualify for narcotic pain medication – despite the fact that I have a broken bone in my body – because, apparently, I am at risk for becoming a junkie. Maybe I already am a junkie. I didn’t think so, what with the fact that the only times I’ve ever taken narcotic pain medication has been after dental surgery. I was given a prescription for twenty Percocet after I had Allison, and the doctor who treated my broken toe was prepared to have me take Vicodin for as long as I needed. I never filled either prescription, because I wasn’t in that much pain, and Tylenol was adequate to relieve my discomfort.

The orthopod who confirmed my broken shoulder told me that I should wear a sling for a couple of weeks and then start physical therapy. He noted that the pain would subside, but that if I was still having significant discomfort at the time of my follow-up appointment, he would have to consider whether there was any tendon or ligament damage. As he was sending me on my way, I asked, “what should I do about pain?” – of which I was experiencing quite a lot at that moment.

When he answered, “oh, Advil or Aleve should do the trick,” I was a bit skeptical, but since he was the doctor, and since I was in so much pain I was almost nauseous, I nodded, took the sling the nurse gave me, went home and took some Aleve. Several hours later, I could barely see straight, so I called Michael, who told me to take one of the Vicodin dispensed to Hanna after her appendectomy last spring. “Are you sure?” I asked. After all, who hasn’t heard about the opioid crisis? “Yes!” said Michael. “For Pete’s sake, you have a broken shoulder!”

Guess what? It worked.

Over the next three weeks, my shoulder got marginally better, but the pain was still pretty severe (probably because I insisted on working 10 hours a day typing and writing with my right arm). The only way I got through it was by budgeting Hanna’s 12 Vicodin (which the label says can be taken every 4 hours) at a rate of one every three days, and only at the end of the day, after I’d finished everything that required my focused attention, mostly so I could get some sleep. Without a Vicodin, the pain was so exquisite that sleeping was futile, and there were some evenings I got up and took a swig of Nyquil just to get some sleep.

I know.

After two weeks of this, with little improvement, I was ready to report back for my follow up visit. The orthopod canceled due to his overly busy OR schedule, so I was put off for another week. When I called to reschedule, I asked about pain relief. No one called me back.

The pain continued. During this time, I tried to get by on Advil or Aleve on my NVD (non-Vicodin days), and I also tried Naproxen and Meloxicam, both of which had been prescribed for me by my primary care provider when I was having right knee pain. Neither made a dent in the pain.

And so, anticipating that I was almost done with Hanna’s Vicodin (makes me feel like a dirtbag to admit that I took my daughter’s pain meds), I called my primary care provider and explained the situation – I told her what I had taken, what had worked, and what hadn’t worked. I asked for a non-refillable script for 12 Vicodin to get through the next three weeks in the hope that by then, the pain would be more bearable. I told her that I had reported to Michael each time I took a Vicodin so that he could monitor and make sure I didn’t become dependent. I begged her for relief.

She said no.

I should probably mention that my PCP is a former partner of Michael’s – a woman who worked alongside him for 10 years, observed his treatment of hundreds of patients and the very careful approach he, too, took with respect to prescribing narcotic pain medication. Although she has known me both personally and professionally for over 20 years, although I asked for a very limited amount of pain relief, although she knew my husband to be a conscientious physician who was carefully monitoring my care at home – she nonetheless refused to treat me.

So I called the orthopod – again – and did not get a response – again.

A few days later, I had my follow up appointment with the orthopod. To say that he was, and is, a gigantic asshole, would be an insult to assholes everywhere. Without going into details, he was as helpful – and charming – as bag moldy bread – but since he had told me at my first appointment that continued intense pain could be a sign of a larger problem, I made the mistake of telling him how I was feeling and mentioned that I had called twice for pain relief but hadn’t gotten a response. He stated that he wasn’t aware of any request for pain meds and offered to prescribe exactly the same medicines that I had already told him did not work. “Then I guess I’ll have to refer you to pain management,” he said.

“Are you telling me that you perform hip replacements and fix torn ACLS and you can’t prescribe pain medication?” I asked.

“You have a broken shoulder,” he said. “It’s gonna hurt.”

Uh-huh.

Imagine you hired someone to come over and fix your broken furnace. It’s the dead of winter. It’s 23 degrees in your house. The HVAC guy come over, looks at your furnace and says, “Yeah, your furnace is broken. Put an extra blanket on the bed. It’s gonna be cold, but it’ll warm up by April.”

You say, “but we’re freezing! We need some heat!” and the guy says, “Well, I could fix your furnace, but then you might become dependent upon heat during cold weather, and we can’t have that.”

After I left the orthopod, and as I was driving home, I found myself in tears of pain and frustration, wondering, what do you have to do to get appropriate relief when you are in serious pain without being presumed a drug-seeking junkie?

Believe me when I say, I understand that there is an epidemic of opioid addiction in this country. Several months back, I read an exceptional article in The New Yorker about a town in West Virginia where pretty much everyone is addicted to opioid medications. Those who can’t get prescriptions from their doctors are now scoring pills – or pure heroin – from dealers. It’s become a huge problem, it’s a scourge, and people who took opioids for legitimate pain are now addicted, and dying, because it is so very easy to become dependent on this class of drugs. Some blame Big Pharma, some blame the FDA, some blame the doctors who prescribed opioids like candy before anyone understood how terribly addictive they are.

I’m not so interested in playing the blame game, and I agree that something has to be done to address what has become an almost unmanageable problem. I do take issue, however, with the notion that from here on out, no one should ever get another prescription for narcotic pain medication, end of story, case closed.

Sometimes, people have injuries, and sometimes they are in pain. Conservative pain management makes sense, certainly, but I believe that the medical profession, which was at least somewhat complicit with getting so many people addicted to opioids, has now made a wild over-correction, similar to banks who, in the early 2000’s, where handing out subprime mortgages to people who clearly could not afford them.

After the economy collapsed due to the greed of companies like Countrywide, it suddenly became far more difficult to get a loan of any kind – even if you had high credit scores, steady income, and a low debt-to-income ratio. In an effort to make sure that people did not take out loans they couldn’t pay back, the mortgage industry started demanding that any potential borrower – regardless of their credit history – provide twenty years of paystubs, a letter of explanation for an unpaid parking ticket from 1982, and a semen sample before even opening a file.

That’s what’s going on these days in the medical industry where the issue of pain is concerned. Providers are immediately suspicious of anyone who asks for a narcotic, the assumption being that they are drug-seeking. Now, I’ve been married to a family practice doctor for 29 years, and in that time, I’ve heard a lot of stories about drug-seeking behavior: The patient who is going to multiple doctors to get prescriptions and who fills them at different pharmacies. The patient who is going away on vacation and needs a new script because they are going to run out of their pain meds while they’re away (even though, according to their chart, they still should have plenty to get them through). The patient who’s purse/car/bike/briefcase was stolen, with the prescription for pain meds inside – remarkably, the same patient has sometimes been robbed six or seven times!

So, I get it. I understand why certain types of physicians (orthopedics, pain management, for example) insist that patients receiving narcotic medications sign a contract acknowledging the prescription policies and the limits on what will and will not be prescribed. I appreciate that doctors have to be very careful and discerning lest they get a patient hooked on opioids.

I. Get. It.

But, hey, medical profession…WE’RE NOT ALL JUNKIES. Some of us are nice old ladies who wouldn’t know how to score drugs if our lives depended on it (is that something you Google? Yelp? I have no idea). And honestly, who has the time to got to six different doctors and eight different pharmacies? I am not trying to minimize the very serious issue of addiction, but here’s the thing: ASKING FOR PAIN MEDICATION AFTER SUSTAINING A SIGNIFICANT INJURY DOESN’T MAKE YOU AN ADDICT. If medical science didn’t recognize that humans can experience unbearable pain from time to time, I guess it wouldn’t have seen the need for developing pain medications. It makes me wonder if, should I have to undergo surgery, I’m going to be told to take two Tylenol while someone cuts into my body – you know – so I don’t become addicted to anesthesia?

It’s frustrating that I have not been able to get any relief for my pain, but I’ll get over it. Eventually, the pain will go away, and then I’ll just have arthritis that will flare up when the weather is bad, much like Uncle Henry’s bunions. I’m tough. I will endure.

Far more upsetting to me is to have a health care provider who knows me well question my veracity when I relate the my level of pain; I find it downright offensive that by making a request for pain medication that has proven effective, I am presumed to be drug-seeking.

It occurred to me ask how that same physician might respond if it were she, or her spouse or child, who had the broken shoulder. Would that same physician tell her loved one to just tough it out? Would she discourage them from seeking, or taking narcotic pain medication? Somehow, I sort of doubt it.

In the future, I will know better, and I won’t bother to ask for help, even if I’m in pain, because I would rather live through the “discomfort” (such an inadequate work) than be made to feel ashamed for asking for relief from legitimate pain. I mean, it’s not like the pain is going to kill you, except that it might: Statistics suggest that 10% of all suicides may be linked to chronic pain.

Pshaw. Just put on an extra blanket and take a Tylenol, and don’t call me in the morning.

A Brief History of Feminism

Ever since there have been humans, the women have been having the kids.

When women first started having kids, the only way to nourish them was by breastfeeding.

By the time they were done breastfeeding one child, there was usually another, and another, and another.

Women had no choice but to feed their children, so they ended up taking care of them, too. Until they died.

This freed up men to keep on doing what they’d always done, which, initially consisted of inventing fire and hunting mastodons.

But as technology and knowledge and our understanding of the world increased, men didn’t have to spend so much time killing large animals for food, and they got better at sheltering themselves from their environment.

Which women probably could have done, had they not been so damn busy breastfeeding and taking care of the kids.

Eventually, some men had so much free time on their hands they started to think about things like gravity and calculus and philosophy. They also found time to create art and literature and music. Which, once again, women might have done, but, you know…cleaning and cooking and stuff.

Later, some women were rich enough to hire other women to do those things, but since only men had ever done science or music or writing plays, it never occurred to anyone that a woman might be able to do those things, too.

But then it occurred to women, and so they tried to do the same things, but this made men uncomfortable, because if they couldn’t have babies (not that they wanted to, mind you), then women shouldn’t be able to think about chemistry and astronomy or write sonnets. Or think, really, about anything other than girl things.

Men tried to keep women from doing man things, and women caught on. Some woman did those man things, like writing books or making art, anyway, but they used male pen names so no one would know.

Other women tried to do man things as women, and sometimes they were even successful.

Which made men even more uncomfortable, especially since some people were starting to say that you should be able to have the same opportunities even if you weren’t white. What, with that to deal with, men found themselves fighting on two fronts, and that was hard, because they weren’t used to being challenged, especially by people of color AND women – who were supposed to be docile and stupid.

Yes, by the beginning of the twentieth century, men had their hands full trying to dominate anyone who wasn’t a white male. Then the automobile was invented, and men got really distracted. Also, rich people weren’t able to stay so filthy rich because of the income tax, and so you can understand how women were able to win the right to vote.

Then there was the depression, and then there was a war, and pretty much everybody was really tired, and that’s when men said, “Hey! This is a perfect opportunity to re-subvert all non-white males!”

And it was the 1950’s, and people drank a lot of milkshakes and wore poodle skirts and went to sock hops, and everyone was just so happy to be alive and prosperous, they didn’t notice that white men had re-established themselves as boss.

Well, that didn’t last long. People of color and women said, “Uh, no, bro.” And they marched and protested and rallied, and smart people like Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsberg got involved in civil rights litigation, and things started to shift again.

Then people who were LGBTQ said, “what about us?” And straight white men, sensing yet another diminution of their power, said, “NO!” They also hoped that all gay people would die of AIDS, but instead of doing that, the LGBTQ community got smart about how they had sex and pressured government and medical research to find a cure, which, essentially, it did.

Thus, by the end of the twentieth century, lots of women, gay men, and people of color had risen to positions of power and influence. They made good money. They began to enjoy equal opportunities.

This was a problem for some white men. You see, at least since the end of World War II, pretty much all you had to do to be successful in this country, as a white man, was to have a pulse. White men began to assume that well-paying jobs, a nice home, and a few weeks’ paid vacation was their due – something they were entitled to. But, as the new millennium approached, that wasn’t the case anymore.

“They’re stealing out jobs!” some white men cried. “They’re taking what’s ours!” They didn’t realize that the people stealing their jobs might have worked harder at school, or were better and more conscientious employees, or maybe didn’t act so entitled. Still, they complained.

Some white men saw this as a wonderful opportunity to manipulate those who were no longer able to get a job simply by virtue of being white. They decided to manipulate these people, and they came up with two really, really clever ideas, and they both started with “G:”

Guns and God.

They told everyone that people should have unfettered access to any weapon they wanted AND, also, God, because THE WORLD IS FULL OF NON-WHITE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO KILL YOU.

And people got scared, and when people are scared, they don’t act rationally, and so a lot of women who otherwise might NEED FEMINISM decided that what they really needed was God (and God hates feminists). They became less concerned about equal pay for equal work, or reproductive rights, because they were so afraid of being raped by men of color or getting shot up at a movie theatre by an Islamic extremist.

Then two bad things happened:

First, John McCain picked Sarah Palin to be his running mate, and men were okay with that, because she wasn’t very smart but she WAS very fuckable, which is what a lot of men want in a woman. Palin also told people that feminists abort babies with disabilities. Also, she could field dress a moose. And God.

Second, the economy did a nose dive because certain banks made bad loans to people who couldn’t afford them, then those people defaulted, and then lots of people lost their jobs, or were underwater on their homes, and their retirement savings tanked.

It sucked.

Now, John McCain did not win the election. Barack Obama did. That made a lot of people mad, because he was black, and everyone knows that black people aren’t smart enough to run a country. Also, his wife was very intimidating to many because she worked out and thought kids should try to eat healthy. Uppity Bitch.

Also, it took a little while for the economy to rebound, but ultimately, it did, just in time for the 2016 election.

Many, many people hated Obama, and lots of white men, like Steve Bannon and the Koch Brothers thought, “this is great!” And they started conservative websites that peddled stories like, Hillary Clinton runs a pedophile ring in the basement of a Washington, D.C. pizza parlor.

Also, her emails.

Hillary also scared people because she was a woman who acted like a man, and because she was very smart, but not very fuckable. Also, some people think she’s a lesbian, and she made men uncomfortable because she called them on their bullshit. Some women didn’t like her, I am convinced, because they resented her success. Such women are also known as “assholes.”

So you have a sluggish economy and a democratic candidate who was easy to dislike, and a lot of people said, “well, ANYTHING has to be better, even if its a self-promoting carnival barker who can’t say ‘anonymous.'”

And those people elected Donald J. Trump, who is the opposite of a feminist.

And that’s why feminism matters.

The End

Kavanaugh, At Last

Well, it’s done. We have a new Supreme Court Justice, which, given the manner in which he was confirmed, seems a funny thing to call the person who, together with 8 others, will, for the next 30 years or so, set the course for virtually every aspect of how Americans live their lives. Having lived through the last month closely following this story, I’m not sure anyone, regardless of their politics, believes that justice played any role in the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to our nation’s highest court.

It occurs to me that my perspective on the process is necessarily tinged by the fact that I am a lawyer, and a litigator at that. I try cases, I argue in court, and any matter I handle has the potential (albeit extremely remote) to be reviewed by the Supreme Court. Indeed, one of my partners just argued a case before the Court, and every attorney at our firm – litigators, all – were so very thrilled that one of our own got to experience the ultimate professional goal for a litigator.

For lawyers, the Supreme Court is a mystical, sacred institution. It was the Supreme Court that first articulated principles that now form the bedrock of our society – the rule of law, that all people must be treated equally under the law, and that the right to free speech may be abridged only under the most narrow of circumstances. The power yielded by the Supreme Court is enormous and far-reaching. That is why our country has consistently demanded that those who are elevated to the high Court be of an impeccable intellectual pedigree and possess a rigorous and exhaustive understanding of the intricacies of American jurisprudence.

I’ve read many Supreme Court decisions, both as a law student and as a practicing attorney who loves the law and is continually in awe of the talent, insight, complexity and passion that so many justices have brought to the bench. Whether you agreed with him or not, Nino Scalia made the Court better. So did Benjamin Cardozo and Felix Frankfurter and Thurgood Marshall and John Harlan and Sandra Day O’Connor.

I’m a scholar of the Court as well, devouring everything that’s ever been written about it. One of my most prized possessions is a copy of “The Nine,” signed by my favorite law geek ever, its author, Jeffrey Toobin.

I love the Supreme Court. I revere it. I have enormous respect for all it represents. Which is why I am so angry at the fact that Brett Kavanaugh will now join this most august assembly of jurists.

From the beginning, the process was shot through with political import: The retiring Justice Kennedy was ever a swing vote who frequently broke ranks with the more conservative wing of the Court in matters that perhaps have the greatest impact on day-to-day lives. Certainly, his replacement would have the ability to move the Court, finally, to the far right, accomplishing what so many evangelicals have, for 45 years, been fighting for.

Abortion isn’t the only issue that could be on the chopping block during this and subsequent Supreme Court dockets, but it is perennially and disproportionately the one that matters most when a Supreme Court vacancy opens up. For a very long time, it did not appear that there would ever be a point at which the Court included five reliably anti-abortion justices. Now it does, and we can all reasonably predict that Roe will be laid to waste in the not too distant future – everyone except Susan Collins appears to understand that.

So the stakes were high. Because Trump had promised that any justice he appointed would be anti-abortion (an oath that has nothing whatsoever to do with his personal beliefs and everything to do with solidifying his one-issue base), Democrats were understandably concerned about who he would nominate. When he chose yet another judge handpicked by the Federalist Society (as we all knew he would), Dems understandably lost their shit.

GOP senators have made much of the speed with which Dems expressed their opposition to Kavanaugh, suggesting that they had never even given the nominee a chance (which is sort of like what they did to Merrick Garland, some might say). It’s a spurious argument, though – the Federalist Society Chosen, as well as the names on Trump’s short list, were made public well before Kavanaugh was officially nominated. Is it credible to suggest that Dems hadn’t done their research as to ALL potential nominees and weren’t painfully aware of what a Kavanaugh nomination might mean prior to the moment he was anointed by King Donald? No.

But the instantaneous opposition to Kavanaugh set the tone for the entire process, and it wasn’t long before things spun out of control. The GOP accused the Dems of leaking the identity of Christine Blasey Ford – an accusation as uncorroborated as Republicans claim Dr. Ford’s account of a sexual assault by Kavanaugh to be. It got worse when Debbie Ramirez stepped forward with a second account of sexual assault by Kavanaugh, perhaps especially so because a number of her fellow students at Yale either corroborated her story or else raised significant questions about Kavanaugh’s penchant for frequent, heavy drinking.

And then we heard from Michael Avenatti, a self-promoter so shameless he would make Donald Trump himself blush. His client spun a tale of dubious credibility at a time when it was critically important that any challenge to Kavanaugh’s nomination be thoroughly vetted and fact-based. In disseminating a tale that seemed designed for maximum shock value while being entirely uncorroborated, Avenatti enabled many who already had questions about Ford and Ramirez to reasonably conflate their experiences with those alleged by Julie Swetnick, and it was all over after that.

That there was a hearing at which Dr. Ford and Kavanaugh both testified was perhaps as devastating to women, and Ford, as NOT holding hearings might have been. Those who watched (and there were many) almost unanimously agreed that Dr. Ford seemed credible, and that her testimony was powerful and heartfelt. Few could fairly argue (though some nonetheless did) that she comported herself with dignity and with respect for the tribunal of men so aware of experiences in their own life that must have leant a throbbing credence to the allegations of Ramirez and Ford that they did not trust themselves to do the dirty work of examining Ford on their own lest they reveal themselves to be entirely unimpressed and unmoved by testimony recounting the searing impact that such shenanigans might have on a 15 year old girl, or an 18 year old college freshman.

Terrified of revealing the inherent distrust they harbor for women, in general, and victims of sexual assault in particular, they brought in a hired gun who was largely ineffectual and severely hindered, given the manner in which the hearing was conducted, in her ability to establish what did and did not actually happen. During her testimony, Dr. Ford suggested possible avenues for locating corroborating evidence. She delivered powerful testimony explaining the neuroscience of human experience, something she has studied for 30 years. By the time she was finished, the consensus was that she was sympathetic, credible, and, in the words of the inimitable Orrin Hatch, “attractive” and “pleasing.”

It was then time for Kavanaugh. Many felt his testimony was disrespectful, arrogant, disturbingly partisan, and indicative of a man lacking the judicial temperament typically required of Supreme Court Justices. Others defended his remarks, and those of men like Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn, and Orrin Hatch – who abandoned their stolid, methodical sex crimes prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, in favor of an all-out spleen-letting directed at SJC Dems and anyone who would seek to tarnish the good name of Brett Kavanaugh. How else would you expect him to react? they said. He’s been unfairly accused. He has every right to come out swinging.

The combined “outrage” demonstrated by these 11 white men has rarely been on display in such a transparently craven fashion, and to the extent that there was any genuine umbrage, it had less to do with the genuine pain experienced by Kavanaugh’s wife and daughters, and far more to do with the double whammy of (1) fear that their own behavior in high school and college, if known, could end their political careers; and (2) fury at any woman who dared to stand in the way of a white man getting what he wanted.

For a few minutes, Senator Jeff Flake exhibited a conscience, and a backbone, and there was hope that further investigation would tease out what even Republicans knew to be true but didn’t care about – that is, that in his earlier years, Kavanaugh was a heavy drinker who exhibited a lack of respect for women (which in turn suggested that he was very much the kind of guy who might assault a vulnerable young woman, especially if he was being egged on by a drunken buddy at the time). I think those same people understood that Kavanaugh had probably lied to the SJC, but they just didn’t care.

An investigation ensued. It appears to have been

woefully inadequate and limited. Many who alerted the FBI to information that would have been damaging to Kavanaugh never got a call back. People who perhaps could have provided greater clarity as to the cryptic content of Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook entry were not interviewed. Who knows if the Safeway where Dr. Ford claims to have encountered Mark Judge several days after the assault was ever contacted.

The FBI issued its report at the same time as the man who ordered it mocked and derided Dr. Ford to audiences all too happy to laugh right along with him. GOP senators issued statements in which they inexplicably professed to finding Dr. Ford – who testified that she was “100% sure” that Kavanaugh had assaulted her – credible, but nonetheless concluded that Kavanaugh had nothing to do with whatever had happened all those years ago.

In the court of public opinion, women called Ford either a brave hero or a dim-witted puppet of the Democratic political machinery. Those who supported Kavanaugh justified his TTEP (temper tantrum of epic proportion) before the SJC as understandable given what he and his family had so unfairly endured. Kavanaugh’s experience as a Supreme Court nominee even became a rallying cry for the #hetoo movement, and we as a nation were actually asked to commiserate with men who would now, in the context of their sexual encounters, have to exercise caution and endure the disbelief of strangers in the event that an allegation of rape was later advanced.

For a few hours on Friday, it seemed possible that Kavanaugh would not be confirmed, but as Senators Flake, Collins, and Manchin made their politically-motivated intentions known, the awful truth finally and mercilessly registered in my brain and was indelibly imprinted on my hippocampus, or whatever part of the brain records forever the twin emotions of grief and despair.

As I watched Collins’ floor speech with two of my daughters and the mother who raised me to be a nasty woman, I felt myself on the verge of tears. This was going to happen. There was nothing left to do. Protests and fury were futile. Once again, those in power chose to disregard what is more likely than not true, in order to accomplish a political gain.

I have never been sadder by what seems to be happening to our country. There appear to be no consequences for the outrageous behavior of the well-heeled and powerful, and women, when they confront men on their bad behavior, will be believed only when the experiences of those who are accused of wrongful conduct cannot somehow be used to advance the political goals of those in power.

That’s why no man in government cared that Harvey Weinstein or Les Moonves or even Roger Ailes were ousted from positions of great power following evidence that they had sexually assaulted or harassed women, because those men, and the things they were accused of doing, could not be twisted into a sound byte which would support their political agendas. It was easy to pay lip service to the to the #metoo movement, or, better still, to invoke their status as father, son, husband or brother to a woman who deserved to be treated with respect.

I have no idea what comes next, or if I can even stomach any continued involvement in or painstaking scrutiny over what happens in the hallowed halls of government. I don’t know that I can keep watching, and exhorting, and screaming about the blatant injustice that happens virtually every day in the Era of Trump.

What I do know, if I know anything at all, is that during the summer of 1982, two very drunken young men tried to rape a 15 year old woman. One of those men has acknowledged in print, and in unflinching detail, to his “wasted” youth, including the inebriated exploits of one “Bart O’Kavanaugh,” a name too conveniently similar to the manner in which Kavanaugh referred to himself in those days to be a coincidence.

The other man will now sit on our nation’s highest Court until he dies or decides to step down.

Thats what passes for “Justice,” in America, in 2018.

I Won’t Shut Up And You Shouldn’t Either

Called Senators Collins, Flake and Murkowski tonight. Had to leave voicemail. Hope they listened.

They won’t.

So. Here’s what we’ve learned…what we should know 27 years after Anita Hill, but probably still won’t have done anything about 27 years from now:

1. It would be worse for BK to not be confirmed than that a victim of sexual assault be believed.

2. There is no end to how gullible some women are, and how easily manipulated they can be. As an example, here are a few things that were said to me BY WOMEN when I attempted to have a measured, peaceful conversation with those who support BK:

“Ford is a stupid Valley Girl” (NB.. she has a Ph.D. In neuroscience, and I don’t think you even know what a hippocampus is)

“Those Dems are lying sacks of shit”

“36 years she’s lying. If something happened she would have said something. She’s a liar.”

“Wendy, you’re mentally ill.”

“Wendy, you’re passive aggressive.”

“Wendy, you don’t know anything about the law or BK.”

“I read Kavanaugh’s opinions except I didn’t actually read his opinions I just said that to sound like I form my own opinions based upon empirical data but I’m lying and how dare you actually read his opinions and tell me what they say!! “

3. Mark Judge wrote a book that discussed the drunken debauchery of “Bart O’Kavanaugh.” BK wrote a letter about BEACH WEEK LETS GET DRUNK AND PUKE ON EVERYTHING signed “Bart Kavanaugh” AND NO ONE THOUGHT TO ASK WHETHER HE LIED ABOUT HIS DRINKING. Because lying isn’t important.

4. Let’s write a letter to the WSJ trying to explain our insane, obnoxious behavior before SJC.

Wait…what? You want a do over???

That’s what you chose to say, you lunatic! On national television. You’re a federal judge, and that’s what you thought was the best face to put on your nomination???

(4(a): From the Republican members of the SJC: If you’re a white man who drank so much in college you just can’t remember how many women you assaulted…hey, we get it! We did that shit, too! God, how awful for you to have people challenging you on that!!! It’s OK, buddy!! Thoughts and prayers, BK. God, how you have suffered.)

5. Male. White. Straight. Christian. Western European. The rest of you, roll over, shut the fuck up, and wait to be penetrated. How dare you demand to be treated with dignity and respect.

6. “What goes around comes around.” Uh huh. Yes, it does. #2045iscomingwhiteboy

7. Justice = conducting a full investigation of anyone who could shed some light on whether or not BK is a serial drinking assaulter. Since he probs doesn’t remember.

8. Fuck those 1,000 law professors, the ABA, and Justice Stevens. What do they know? #trainingthenextgenerationoflawyers

9. Red State America say…FUCK THE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT. Red State men say, women are vaginas. Red State women say, that’s okay and #idontneedfeminism

(But please watch me blinking in Morse Code to save me. Please. Also, he’s got 13 year old girls locked in a shed).

10. Wake the fuck up, America. Wake the FUCK UP.

Some Thoughts on Christianity and Our Faithless Leader

Although I believe that our current president is doing a woefully awful job and has engaged in conduct that warrants his ouster, I find all the coverage of his skirt chasing 15 years ago tiresome. Was there anyone out there who didn’t know he was an unfaithful degenerate who would sleep with anything that moved (particularly one with enormous breasts and dubious career choices)? Is anyone truly surprised to learn that he routinely cheated on his third wife, when the New York Post covered every sleazy detail of the affair that ended his first marriage (remember “best sex I ever had”?) Can you credibly say that you’re shocked to hear that he engaged in unprotected intercourse with both a Playboy Playmate and a porn star?

Of course not. And sure, perhaps there were payoffs that violated federal election laws (not to mention, depending upon whom you believe, the lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct). But whether or not he had sex with these women (he did) has nothing to do with whether or not he’s fit to lead (he isn’t), and it’s a topic that we as a nation have no standing to judge – that right belongs exclusively to his wife, who entered into a marriage with a pig, knowing full well that he was a pig, likely because being married to a pig was an acceptable trade-off for the lifestyle that said marriage would afford her.

So, until there’s proof that these assignations and the non-disclosure agreements that followed can be linked to illegal behavior – and I love Anderson Cooper as much as the next person – enough.

Here’s what IS worth discussing: The deafening silence of “Christians” who can’t figure out how to condemn this piece of crap without taking their foot off the Anti Abortion gas pedal. They know he admitted to assaulting women. They know he’s been accused of assault by almost a dozen others over two decades. They know that he’s about as much of a Christian as I am an Australian sheep farmer, but so single-minded are they in their quest to end legal abortion that they will twist themselves into a constrictor knot trying to apologize for his behavior.

They say it happened years ago (it likely continued right up to the point that he was too much in the public eye to be able to get away with it). They say he is a “changed man” (though there is no evidence whatsoever that he has). They say they believe in the redeeming power of God to forgive, and that only God can judge (unless, of course, you’re talking about a politician who supports a woman’s right to choose).

Here’s the thing, Party of Family Values: If you’re going to embrace the president as a beacon of ethics or moral leadership, you don’t EVER get to condemn any politician or celebrity or sports figure or whatever for not conforming to your so-called “Christian values,” because you’ve already demonstrated that the only “value” you care about is ending legal abortion. Whether or not that’s a worthy goal is an argument for another day, but stop pretending to be the standard bearer for what’s right and what’s wrong in the eyes of Christ.

I know plenty of “Christians,” and I know plenty of people who have at the center of everything they do or say love of and devotion to Christ and his teachings. The latter have made it their life’s work to walk in His path to be of service to the poor, the sick, the homeless, the discouraged. They live their faith, they know they are imperfect, and they are guided by humble, loving hearts that teach tolerance, forgiveness and social justice. And yeah, I can’t read their minds or see into their hearts, but I CAN see what they do and listen to what they say.

Every one of this latter group of people is deeply troubled by the arrogance, self-aggrandizing, tyrannical power junkie that holds our nation’s highest office. While they, too, may wish for a day when Roe v. Wade is overturned, they recognize the contemporaneous and urgent needs of children living in poverty, our obligation to preserve the environment so that people will be able to continue to live on Earth for the foreseeable future, and that being “pro life” means you also have condemn the death penalty. They also refuse to swallow the wholesale bullshit pedaled by Evangelical leaders that Donald Trump is a good Christian (note to said leaders…would you actually suggest that your congregation follow his example?)

Stop pretending that our president (it still pains me to refer to him in that capacity) is anything other than what he is: A morally bankrupt carnival barker who gathered a fearful, ignorant base of people who see diversity as a threat and education and knowledge as the enemy. A man who will embrace any organization, regardless of agenda, so long as it can be easily manipulated into supporting him.

How long, “Christian” Trump supporters, will you continue to support him? Because you’d better believe that if NARAL or NOW could offer up a similar number of mindless sheep who could as easily be hoodwinked into buying into his agenda (which boils down to amassing as much power and unquestioning fealty as he can), his next Supreme Court nominee would make William Brennan look like the leader of the Federalist Society. The only way he’s been permitted to get away with a systematic dismantling of our government and the rule of law is your silence and complicity. And to those who have criticized me for my anti-Trump posts, yes, I mean you and all whom you purport to speak for.

Being a Christian means having respect for all people, including women. It means leaping to service to help those in need. It means a deeply committed love for one’s fellow man, regardless of color, race or creed (which will probably come in handy when White Christians are the minority in this country, a time which is coming in the not-too-distant future). It means loving God with all your heart, your mind, your soul, and your strength. It’s about humility and compassion. And if you don’t want to take it from me, a devout agnostic, take it from the New Testament, because that’s what Christ and his followers who wrote is had to say. I’ve read it. Trump supporters, have you?

I don’t care who he slept with, and when I listen to Karen Mcdougal or stormy Daniels, mostly what I feel is sad. When I think of the president’s young son, and what he is surely exposed to on a regular basis despite what I suspect are the best efforts of his mother, I am sadder still. None of this really matters, though, unless you’re a right wing Christian conservative trying to convince The American public that Donald J Trump is good man devoted to the teachings of Christ who acknowledges any “higher power” than himself.

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

More Bad News for Catholics

I see a lot of “Christians” Biblesplaining on FB how we need to go easy on the Catholic church and its century-long history of making children available to pedophiles like an Old Country Buffet restaurant, because, God. Also, Jesus.

I’ve read people – good Catholics, mind you – blame the rampant pedophilia and victimization of children on the fact that lots of men who enter the priesthood are gay. You know. Because “gay” equals “pedophile.” Yeah, it’s the same thing. Except that millions of gay people who AREN’T priests manage to live their lives without anally violating little boys.

Other people of God suggest that it was a lack of understanding that raping children was…wrong. Can you cite for me a single era in history where forcing children to fellate grown men was an acceptable part of daily life?

The Catholic church has since its inception attempted to keep its people ignorant, obedient, docile, and silent. It told its people that its priests were Jesus on earth, placed them on a pedestal of unquestionable moral authority and sealed the deal by deeming the pope “infallible” – essentially God on earth.

That’s how it’s possible for a grown man to sodomize a young boy so badly that he suffered injury to his spinal column, with zero repercussions to the perpetrator.

All in the name of the Bible which the church has made every effort to insure its people don’t actually read.

But if they did, they might want to take a look at Matthew 18:6 for starters, then mosey on over to Luke 17:1-2, or maybe just take in the overarching import of the Gospels in which Jesus essentially says, “DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE AND TREAT PEOPLE AS YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED.”

But if you like to be raped by men who think they are above the law, by all means, go for it.

It is abundantly evident to any sentient being that those who are twisting themselves into knots attempting to defend the Catholic church are frightened to their very marrow that their church cannot withstand any challenge to its moral authority and that any endeavor to investigate its conduct must be stopped in its tracks lest the church be shown to have engaged in an ongoing, knowing, decades long cover up of the most horrifying and in-Christian of conduct.

Pope Francis has made no comment. The church has been largely silent, although some bishop from Indiana did tell CNN this morning that he’s personally devastated to learn that people he trusted turned out to be such villains. I feel so bad for him. He also thinks it’s too early to really do anything because the church doesn’t really have all the information, even though it apparently knew of these crimes as they happened and actively worked to keep the truth from coming to light.

There are good Catholics who love God and live Christ’s teachings. There are others who love the church because they need someone else to do their thinking for them and are terrified that if they question the church’s teachings, they will be doomed to spend eternity in hell.

The problem is, most of the latter think they are the former.

No one should ever presume to know the contents of another’s heart, but in this case, the clergy of many Pennsylvania dioceses have, by their actions, told us all we need to know about the value they placed upon the lives of children. But, then again, the church has never cared about the lives of children AFTER they are born…only before, and only as a means of exerting control over women in order to keep them so busy raising children they don’t have time to think about the fact that the church considers them second-class citizens, and for the purpose of growing its ranks.

Catholics should be outraged and should demand accountability. Most probably won’t, though some may quietly leave. The church should be very worried, but in its arrogance it simply trots out the same nonsense.

No one is above the law. I’m guessing that Jesus doesn’t approve of child rape. Wake up, Catholic church. Wake up.