Tag Archives: Rants

Thoughts on Stalkers!

Thoughts on Stalkers!

I recently purchased “The Narrow Stairs” by Death Cab for Cutie, so I’ve been listening to “I Will Possess Your Heart,” and revisiting why it creeps me out (even though I like the song.) In the same vein, this appeared on Emails From Crazy People. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

When the song first came out, I was shot down for finding it a creepy-stalker song. Some of the comments on EFCP reflect the same attitude towards the protagonists of both the song and the note – aww, poor guy, too shy to tell the girl he loves her face to face. . .NONONONONO!!! Wrong! Yes, there is definitely social ineptitude there, but there’s a fine line between not knowing the right way to tell someone you like her (or him) and making yourself frightening to that person. I realized that one of the reasons I heard the alarms going off in my head is that I actually have been stalked, on more than one occasion, and I didn’t find it sweet or romantic in any way. If you’ve experienced it yourself, or known someone who had, you would not call the stalker “sweet” or “shy” or “romantic.”

For purposes of brevity, I’m going to use the masculine pronouns here. It’s not that women are never stalkers (just ask David Letterman, for one) but that I’m relating it to my own experience, and because male stalkers are more commonly known. Here is why stalking is ALWAYS creepy:

The stalker is either someone you have already rejected (check out those song lyrics) or someone you would reject (the stalker knows this, which is why the approach is indirect.) He is not some shy, hopeless romantic. . .he is strange, and the strangeness evident in his stalking behavior only scratches the surface of his strangeness.

He knows you will reject him, or have, but is convinced that all he needs to do is back you into a corner, capture you, or confine you until Stockholm Syndrome kicks in. Does this work for anything? Would any sane person, after being held prisoner mentally, emotionally, or physically, ever decide that her captor/tormentor was really the love of her life? No, that would happen only after her sanity had been compromised, and her escape options had run out.

He sees you as an object. He sees you as a possession. He sees you as Galatea to his Pygmalion – a lump of clay to be carved and perfected until you fit his purpose. Your individuality, your thoughts and feelings, your sense of self-worth are all subordinate to his idea of who you should be. He has already figured out who you are and how you will fit into his life, even if the closest he’s ever been to you is fifty feet away. He doesn’t know who you really are, and doesn’t care – his mind is made up. A healthy relationship involves compromise, but what he’s looking for involves none whatsoever on his part.

He’s STALKING you! He may be outside your window while you’re sleeping. He may be following you on your errands. He may be sitting outside your office ALL DAY LONG. No matter where you go or what you do, you never know if you’re being watched from a distance. If it goes on long enough, he may come indoors, speak with other people you know about you, even break into your home (because he knows you’d never actually let him in.) His stalking behavior can very easily become threatening or dangerous. Ronald Reagan and John Lennon were both shot by stalkers. Many kidnappings were preceded by stalking. Notes from stalkers often contain escalating threats over time. A normal person would not imagine that implying dire consequences would cause another person to change her mind about loving him, but a stalker would, and often does. He will kill or hurt someone to make you love him. He will break into your home and steal things to show you the depth of his affection. He might even do things to hurt himself and tell you about them so that you know what YOU are doing to HIM by not responding to his advances.

Someone who is sweet and shy and romantic is harmless, and might indeed get the girl of his dreams based on his virtues and patience. The stalker is not harmless. He is not sweet. He is not shy. He is not romantic. There is nothing positive about his actions. He is a stalker, and he is creepy. A song about a stalker is creepy because stalkers are creepy. He might not think so, but we all should know better.

The (Annual) Christmas Rant.

The (Annual) Christmas Rant.

Once upon a time, Christians wanted everyone to celebrate their holiday.
They wanted children to get excited about it, so they allowed the myth of Santa Claus to be created and perpetuated, and nobody seemed to mind if a few non-Christian children got presents from him at Christmas.
They wanted to have the day off – they wanted the whole nation to have the day off – so Christmas became a Federal Holiday. They didn’t mind that it had to be turned into a secular holiday for that to happen, and they didn’t mind that non-Christians got the day off, too.
They wanted Christmas music to fill the air everywhere. They wanted schoolchildren to sing songs of Christmas in school, even if they weren’t Christian children. When music for other holidays, or for secular Christmas celebrations had to be included, they didn’t mind. As long as the children sang Christmas songs, it was OK.
They wanted Christmas to be a big, big deal. When glossy Christmas sale ads started coming out earlier and earlier, they didn’t complain. When Christmas music started being played in stores and shopping centers two months before the holiday, it was welcomed, because it got people in the spirit. When TV and movies and books and magazines told the world that Christmas was a season for giving, a season of generosity that filled all the people of the world regardless of their religion, their voices did not rise up in protest.
They wanted to share their holiday with everyone, so they allowed whatever compromises were necessary in order to do so. It went from being a minor holiday, a distant second from Easter, celebrated with their families and church congregations, to a mass-marketed, materialistic, completely secular festival of excess with their full approval and encouragement.
But now that it has become a holiday that excites children, that frees workers all around the country for at least a day, that is sung about in public places, that is celebrated most of all by retailers, now, only after this, is there a protest.
“Keep Christ in Christmas,” they say. But how? They are not asking the nation’s parents to tell their children the truth about Santa Claus. They are not asking December 25th to be removed from the list of Federal Holidays. They are not asking for Hymns and Carols to be removed from the musical repertoires of non-Christian musicians. They’re shopping for toys and decorating their homes with pagan icons just like the nonreligious. If they themselves aren’t doing anything to return to the religious celebration of Christmas, how can they expect anyone else? And how can they now expect an entire nation – no, many nations worldwide – to stop decorating trees, to stop telling children that Santa filled their stockings overnight, to turn off the radio so they don’t hear “The First Noel” or “We Three Kings of Orient Are”, to stop buying presents or traveling to see family or even serving dinner in soup kitchens? Is “Keep Christ in Christmas” an ultimatum? Celebrate it our way or don’t celebrate it at all? Yet, for all the protests against the secular holiday Christmas has become, none of the War on Christmas militia seem to be leading by example, by celebrating Christmas without any of the non-Christian trappings that their predecessors so blithely allowed.
Christ cannot be inserted into a holiday that has had more than a hundred years of concerted effort put into its secularization. It is immoral and wrong to create a tradition, expand it so that it crosses cultural boundaries, intertwine it with an entire season of the year, and then turn around and insist that everyone must suddenly adopt the religion that is now only loosely associated with it. The damage is done, so to speak. Religious people are welcome to their own traditions, are allowed to share their rituals and celebrations exclusively among their own, and can make whatever changes to their own significant events that they want. At this point, though, the secular Christmas belongs to everyone. They gave it to us willingly. You can’t change the rules in the middle of the game, and you can’t take this ball and go home anymore.

Some People are More Equal than Others

Some People are More Equal than Others

So. . .this year Marching Band has props. Big, heavy, numerous props. When these props come on or off our home field, it takes up all the asphalt in front of the loading dock, plus some of the driveway. They require several adults to move and lift, and are in addition to the instruments and podiums (which have to be tipped over on their sides in a large space to be assembled and folded up.) It’s a little frustrating, then, to find that someone has decided he is worthy of a prime parking spot even when it’s not a parking spot, and have to track him down and get him to move before we can move our equipment or get our truck up to the dock. I’ve had to track these inconsiderate boors down three times before this weekend, and already got attitude from one who felt we had some nerve to be having a band competition when he wanted to leave his car in the loading dock.

Last night, it was two police cars. The security guys had told the officers they couldn’t park there before they did (this was a home football game) and apparently the f-bomb was dropped more than once, and the police cars were parked there anyway. Well, as I said, we MUST have that space, MUST have the clearance by the platform and the ramp, and in this case, also had to have everything back inside within a limited time frame so the kids could go back to the stands for the second half of the game. I wrote down the license plate numbers and the announcers very kindly read them out over the speakers and asked them to move. I waited 20 minutes. I called the dispatch. It was almost time for me to be on the field helping to move the props on for the halftime show, so there’d be no time to follow up to make sure the area was clear if I waited any longer.

The officer shows up, and I explain to him that we need the area clear for our equipment, and that time constraints are involved. He moves the first car two feet forward, then the second car two feet forward. I ask him, please, pleasantly, to understand that we have many large props, the podiums, two wagons being pulled by a tractor, and we need the whole area clear. He condescendingly points out to me that there’s a nice five-foot-wide space directly in front of our makeshift ramp, and we should be able to get around him. I begin explaining to him that no, we cannot get an eight foot tall podium folded up in a five foot wide space, and not everything goes up the ramp. Please, I implore him, clear the loading dock – we really, honestly need the whole thing.

He moves the first car forward, still not past the yellow line delineating the loading area, at an angle. I think, hopefully, that he’s moving it so he can get the other all the way out more easily. After all, the driveway is lined with all the buses from the other school’s football players, cheerleaders, and band. No, he moves the other vehicle another two feet and gets out.

Look, I’m a very pleasant person (internet snarkiness aside) but at this point, halftime’s approaching, and this police officer is deliberately yanking my chain. “Sir,” I say, “you have to understand – we really do need this entire area!”

“I’m sure you can get around.”

“OK, then,” I say, still trying to eke out some niceness, but with difficulty, “may I assume that we won’t be held liable for any damage to the vehicles?”

“You have a nasty attitude, ma’am,” he says. “You don’t need to be nasty.”

“I’m not being nasty, sir. I just want a guarantee from you that we won’t be held liable for any damage to the vehicles that occurs while we move our equipment.”

There were names he called me that I assume I was not supposed to be able to hear, but he moved the cars. I hauled my tail down to the field just in time to move a couple of set pieces.

So today we had a competition, and I wanted to make sure we could get our truck up to the loading dock. I painted a board, “Active Loading Dock, DO NOT BLOCK”. We propped it up across a couple of paint cans, added some other 2x4s on either side to make it obvious.

The DJ for the homecoming dance took it apart, tossed it aside, and parked in front of the ramp in the loading dock. I did not do any of the things I wanted to do about this. I thought of many.

Just Another Rant.

Just Another Rant.

This was the text included in a photo that was put up on Facebook. It’s probably not new – at least the sentiment behind it is as old as humankind itself. Let me just start with the quote:

“The word hate will never be enough. It can’t describe the depths of my feelings, every day I put up with the same shit. The imbecilic people and their fucking lies. The pointing and the laughing, the misery and pain that they bring me.
I want to hurt them, to strangle them, to kill them. They all deserve to die.
But I know that won’t satisfy me. …No amount of torture can ever make me happy. So I’ve decided to end this my own way. They’ll live live being miserable and regretting every day. I’ve decided to take my revenge. They’ll be sorry… They’re going to go on knowing that they killed me. They brought my hands to this gun and caused my finger to pull the trigger, the bullet piercing through my tender brain. I’m going to make them suffer the way I did.
They’ll be scared to die the death they made me embrace. Because they know that when they die… THEY’RE ALL GOING TO FOLLOW ME STRAIGHT TO FUCKING HELL!!”

I’ve known this feeling. Most of us have, even if it’s been to a lesser degree. There are people out there who feel no pangs of conscience about tormenting another human being, and there are people out there who become their victims, sometimes for no apparent reason other than their availability. The tormentors are usually the ones with the problem. That’s hard to see when you’re on the receiving end. So hard that you’re helpless to defend yourself from them with the one weapon that’s stronger than hatred, more formidable than anger, and more satisfying than revenge – indifference. You’ve probably heard the saying that the opposite of love isn’t hate, but indifference. That works for hate, as well. If you’ve been treated like this, felt this feeling, but then – one day – somehow pulled from deep inside you the ability to give your tormentors exactly the amount of attention and respect they deserve (that being none), you know what I mean. When you stare them down, eye to eye, let them say their worst without any reaction, let them keep going until they realize how stupid they sound, see them walk away first, then you’ve actually accomplished something. It doesn’t always work the first time, and sometimes you’ll get hurt (but you would anyway. . .) but when it does, it’s far more satisfying, and lasts longer.
Hurting yourself because other people are enjoying being mean to you is completely counterproductive. They don’t give a crap about your feelings, they don’t care if you break down, or cut yourself, or commit suicide. It’s just one more thing for them to laugh about, because you are not a person to them, but an object. I remember watching a show once, the premise of which was something about people who had made major changes in their lives getting in touch with people from their past. In this one segment, a woman whose entire school life had been miserable in good part because of the singular efforts of one of these assholes, wanted to see if he had it in him to apologize for everything he’d done to her. She had really come into her own – grown out of being an ugly duckling, succeeded in school and career, had the love of family and friends, but still kept inside all the horrible things this guy had said to her, still allowed them to undermine her happiness. With the cameras rolling, this now mid-thirties guy regaled the audience with stories of the things he’d said and done to her, roaring with laughter. He confirmed all the hateful things he’d been charged with, and expanded upon them with more tales of how stupid, ugly, and deserving of torture this girl had been. Rather than regret, he felt pride. Oh, how clever he had been! How much fun he’d had thanks to this girl! How cool he was, how admirably witty! Of course, his victim, no longer the sad creature she had been, was watching this, and eventually came onto the set and revealed herself. She derided him for his attitude, told him how horrible he had made her feel, still hoping for some show of conscience. No – he chided her for not being able to take a joke, made crude “compliments” about how she had changed, and then – get this – offered to make up for all those years by having sex with her. Is this the kind of person who’s going to feel bad for making you kill yourself? Hell no. 10, 20, 30 years from now, he’ll still be laughing about the stupid/ugly/dorky/retarded kid who was so much fun to tease. If he has any regrets about your death, it will be because he had to cultivate a fresh victim, and that’s so much harder than just going after the same one year after year.
No, living well is the best revenge. It’s the one way you can see everything play out the way it’s supposed to. If the idiots don’t change, and you run across them later, you can see how well their social skills have helped them in life. Not. If they have, and you run across them later, it’s always good to find that common sense won out, and to hear a truly heartfelt apology. (You’d be amazed. . .) Your fantasy about how awful they’ll feel about having driven you to the brink will never happen. Even if it did, you’d never be able to enjoy it, because you’re f’ing dead. Better to show them by rising above and enjoying your life more than they’ll ever enjoy theirs. Their coolness depends on intimidating you, while your happiness is in no way connected to them. They need you far more than you need them. If you don’t give them what they want, you’ve taken power into your own hands. If you dismiss them as unworthy of your attention, it’s the worst thing you can do to them.
Hurting you is entertaining to them. How would hurting yourself have an opposite effect? They enjoy seeing you suffer, so you’ll “show them” by exhibiting how much they made you suffer? If they make fun of you when you cry, will they feel bad watching the people who love you cry? If your hatred of them makes them laugh, will the hatred of the people who care for you have any impact on them? Even if it did, so what? You won’t be there to see it. It will benefit you not one tiny bit. Instead of living a few years of your life being bothered by morons, you’ll have spent almost all your life being bothered by morons. You’ll never get to know how great things can be after you get away from these bothersome morons, and how what goes around comes around to bothersome morons. No, you want to show them, show them how decent, good people become happy and successful, while imbeciles who make other people miserable never seem to do quite so well at all. That kind of revenge lasts longer and has so much more to offer.

Thank You, Buddy Amato.

Thank You, Buddy Amato.

What follows is my own opinion and reflects my personal feelings. It is not a statement representing any of the groups involved, and nothing I say should be construed as originating from said groups.

Everything was under control with this rescue, but Mr. Amato, who has no jurisdiction in Ocean County, decided to stick his nose in. The report on News 12 quoted him as saying “All the animals should have been removed. . .then you get them adopted. You don’t just leave them there.” Yes, Mr. Amato, simple as that. You take 44-plus cats, all sick, flea-infested, and emaciated, and easily fit them in a shelter that has only about a dozen cages. The shelter will find a way to fit them all in, even though they’re so antisocial that almost all of them need to be caged separately. The town council will feel so bad that they all need to be spayed and neutered, that the females that are too pregnant to be spayed will give birth to sick kittens that will need veterinary care, and that they’ll need other expensive treatments and individual attention before anyone would want to touch them, much less adopt them, that they’ll give the shelter all the money they need to rehabilitate and house the cats. And, after the shelter miraculously becomes larger and acquires at least ten more cage banks, people will pour in from all corners to adopt them, even though there were already plenty of good-looking, healthy cats being put to sleep after too long a time without being adopted. In fact, the shelter administration will get so much money, so much space, and so many clients, that they will no longer have to decide that a cat is too expensive to treat, or that one cat is more adoptable than another, and opt for euthanasia. Oh, no, every cat that comes in will be taken care of, no matter how much it costs, no matter how difficult it might be as a pet, and live out its days in comfort until it finds a home! Does it work that way in Monmouth County, Mr. Amato? Lucky you!

Unfortunately, it’s not that way in any town or county shelter I’ve ever heard of, and not that way in Toms River. That’s why the cats were going to be removed in stages by the rescue group. Tails With Happy Endings took out as many cats as they could house, and began getting them the veterinary care they needed, paying for it with its own funds, swallowing the costs for food, litter, bedding, additional cages. The idea was that since the town shelter would have had to put them all down, the rescue would take them in stages and get them adopted when they were healthy and well socialized, and the town would monitor the whole situation. Yes, it meant that some would be left in their same situation for a while longer, but they’d have a chance for a better life.

I doubt that Mr. Amato bothered to find this out before issuing his judgment. In fact, I doubt he bothered to find it out at all, because he apparently exerted his influence on certain officials of Toms River to have
Animal Control go back into the house and remove every single remaining animal.

In Buddy Amato Fantasy World, he’s a hero to these animals. Here where the rest of us live, their last memories before they die will be of having been captured ungently in a place of fear and filth. The shelter is already full of cats that have all their fur, that come forward in the cages to be petted rather than cowering and hissing, that are pretty and healthy and adoptable. None of them will be displaced by the “rescued” cats. Perhaps being dead is a better alternative to living the way they did, but it’s not a better alternative to the way the first batch will end up – the way they, too, would have ended up if Mr. Amato hadn’t swooped in to save the day. Bravo, sir.

Of course, now that the town doesn’t have to spend anything to care for all these animals, maybe they can purchase a vehicle for the same purpose. Outfit it with multiple gas chambers, capture animals in crates that fit right in, cold storage in the back, and they don’t even have to go back to the shelter. It could say in big letters along the sides “Buddy Amato Mobile Euthanasia Truck,” so he could get the recognition he deserves.

Something about Hacking.

Something about Hacking.

We had what appeared to be an emergency last week, when one of the girls was told by someone she was IMing that he might have transmitted a virus to her that would completely wipe out her computer. There was much scrambling around for blank CDs to copy her files onto, hubby checked every possible way for a virus to get in as well as ran a regular virus scan, and I had to calm down a justifiably upset daughter. She does everything on that machine, and it would have meant losing art, writing, photos, tutorials, correspondence, and homework. Fortunately, it turned out to be a false threat, but it got me thinking.

You see, this young man and his friends enjoy hacking, creating and combating viruses and worms, challenging each other by passing them around (or teaching those less computer savvy a “lesson”). However, they don’t seem to think things through to all their possible outcomes, a typical hazard of, well, being a teenage boy. It brings me back to the early BBS days, when I had to deal with teenage boys who didn’t understand that they couldn’t have everything their own way, and couldn’t do things to people in real life to “teach someone a lesson” for something they didn’t like online. And, just as it was then, this young man simply couldn’t understand why my daughter was upset, why his offer of a rebuilt gaming computer and a half-hearted apology would not have been sufficient had she really lost everything. Then, as now, the ability to understand and empathize isn’t a well-developed trait in this demographic.

The problem I have is that I wish I could get these boys to really understand, not to punish them or work out my anger, or anything like that, but just to get it, because I know several of them, and they’re decent kids. If hubby wasn’t a computer genius, if he didn’t know how to safeguard the computers and fix things in case something went wrong, it could have been a huge-ass deal, indeed. 15 years worth of digital photographs. Downloaded programs, and programs we’d have to search through thousands of discs to find again. All the tutorials and game mods I’ve ever written, handouts for classes I’ve taught. Plus, since hubby works from home, all kinds of confidential information and work for clients could be compromised – the kinds of things a person could lose his job for. Of course, this is why he’s put in all kinds of protection, but there are some people out there with just as much to lose who are vulnerable. Were they to be hit, they would certainly not appreciate a cavalier attitude, nor would they let these kids off because they were just playing around. I don’t think, though, that they’d understand even if the ramifications to others or the consequences to themselves were outlined. It hasn’t happened so far, so it’s not going to, right?

I don’t know. Would they understand it if it were put in a more personal perspective? Say, oh, what if some kids were playing around with a slingshot or BB gun, and that car you’ve been restoring for years got messed up. Would it be OK if they offered to lend you one of their bikes? After all, they were just fooling around. And they’re sorry, geez, chill! What if someone found the case of CDs your band made and played frisbee with them all, leaving them scratched and broken all over the parking lot? Well, they didn’t know how hard you worked on them, and they can’t afford what you paid for the studio time, mixing, art, or production, but what if they feel kind of bad and give you a stack of blanks from Staples? That’d be OK, right?

Nah, that probably wouldn’t work, either. But at least I’ve said it and gotten it out of my system.

How do I Get a Bailout?

How do I Get a Bailout?

Come on, I’m looking at the credit card statements, the current value of our house, the gas prices and the utility bills, and I’m thinking that if Mr. Bush wants us to contribute to the rescue efforts for Insurance and Banking, he should be sending a little our way, too. After all, we didn’t get into this situation by making ass-backwards investment decisions, and we don’t have well-padded portfolios and personal assets to fall back on, so don’t we deserve it even more? Oh, wait – maybe that’s what you need to have to qualify.

The way I see it, though, we’ve already paid enough to the “decision-makers”, and giving them more of our money instead of making them pay the consequences is so incredibly. . .gawd, there is no way to simply express the absolute depth of the asininity of this. This is like giving your kid a brand new Maserati to replace the Ferrari he trashed when he got drunk, drove it into a house, set it and the house on fire to cover it up, and said it had been stolen when he was found the next day passed out on the front lawn next to the smoking wreckage.

Make the company owners pony up for their own bailouts. Take it out of the pockets of the folks who stole it in the first place. Either that, or let’s be fair and use that money to bail out the people who were hurt by these companies in the first place. That’s not the real world, I know. In this world, we have an in-group that sneaks provisions into things like the Commodity Futures Modernization Act that make corporate bailouts an unprotestable, no-voting-needed automatic gimme. If McCain gets elected, with Phil Gramm in a position to get even more of this kind of one hand washes the other legislation put through, there’ll be more of the same.

These are the folks who are trying to convince us that the other guys are “elitist”. This little club that gets to take things away from other people, and keep all the good stuff for themselves. Well, at least they’re not the undesireable kind of elitist, whatever that’s supposed to be. Oh, wait – that would be the rest of us, complaining about footing the bill for their selfish, stupid, wasteful investment schemes. Those of us who will be paying the bailout billions, not receiving them.

Drinking the Sarah Palin Kool-Aid

Drinking the Sarah Palin Kool-Aid

I haven’t been astonished at the reactions I’ve been seeing among certain people to the nomination of Sarah Palin. Honestly, there are still people out there who think that Saddam Hussein engineered the 9/11 attacks, that we need to fight terrorists over there so we don’t have to fight them over here, and that George W. Bush is one of our greatest presidents EVAR. They write lots of letters to the editor, and they leave poorly-thought-out comments on blogs. Without exception, they sound like they have gone to the Fox News website and copy-pasted directly into their brains. Yesterday, though, I was shocked to see a Palin endorsement on the blog of someone I once considered a critical thinker. Yowza.

What did I see? Well, the complaint about the press coverage of daughter Bristol’s pregnancy. The argument that it’s a private matter is generally put forth by people who are unaware or unconcerned that Ms. Palin wants every child in the US to benefit from the same kind of sex education that got her daughter that way in the first place. Admiration that she can field dress a moose (a very important thing for the leader of our country to know.) A casual disregard for the fact that Ms. Palin did not know what the Bush Doctrine was – only one detail of what she does and does not know, as seen in her interview with Charles Gibson:

For me, this shows that during the time that she was secreted away, protected from the press, she was learning not about issues, or filling holes in her knowledge, but how to use approved Republican sound bites to dance around the issue without actually answering any questions.

What blows my mind is that the only issue mentioned where there is a difference of opinion between Palin and this person is abortion. I cannot fathom why there is no concern about the fact that Palin believes the world is only 6,000 years old, that man walked with dinosaurs, that she wants the Bible to be used as a history and science text in public schools, and that we’re living in the “end times.” I was surprised that nothing had been mentioned about her attitude towards Israel, since that is pretty much the top subject of the blog, but I wonder. . .most of the rapture-ready are very pro Israel only because they’re certain that the return of all the Jews to Zion will get the Revelation ball rolling. If I were concerned about electing a candidate who supported Israel, I wouldn’t want one who wanted to ship all the country’s Jews over there so the end of the world would come faster. In fact, regardless of that, I wouldn’t want a president or vice president who wanted to hasten the end of the world in any way whatsoever.

Why is there no concern about the Wasilla librarian fired by Palin because she wouldn’t take “objectionable” books off the shelves? Doesn’t it rankle that she lied about her support for the “bridge to nowhere” and earmarks in general? Is it unimportant that her geographical closeness to Russia is represented as “foreign policy experience”? That when she (or McCain) are caught distorting the truth, they manufacture outrages rather than issue corrections or apologies? (Lipstick on a pig is now a sexual slur, but it wasn’t when McCain said it a few years ago? Cut me a break. It’s a sexual slur the way “pot calling the kettle black” is a racial one. Which is to say, not.)

Nope. It looks like there is one overarching qualification Palin has that subverts any of her other shortcomings. She has a vagina.Around 3:19. . .Samantha Bee is parodying this attitude, but to see it in real life is disturbing. No matter how you expand it into an argument in favor of putting more women in positions of authority, when it comes down to that, it doesn’t count as a rational position. To see it coming from someone who purports to be a rational thinker is truly unpleasant. The thought that people all over the country will be so easily hoodwinked into the idea that voting this woman into office will in any way represent progress for women makes me fear for my daughters’ future.

The Power of Prayer. . .

The Power of Prayer. . .

Not too long ago, I passed on a story about a young girl who died because her parents were treating her diabetes with prayer. A different church attempted the same thing with young Ava Worthington, with equal success, and now Ava’s cousin has had the same results.

Fortunately, Oregon, unlike Wisconsin, has laws that hold parents responsible for withholding medical treatment from children in favor of faith healing. (In the articles from kgw, it looks like this particular church was a driving force in this law.)

Colorado had just changed their law granting exemption from prosecution for faith-healing parents when this happened:

March, 2001
Grand Junction — Charges have been filed against the parents of a 13-year-old girl who died from a common infection that turned into gangrene after her parents opted to treat her with prayer but not medicine.

Randy and Colleen Bates, members of the General Assembly Church of the First Born, were issued summonses Friday on charges of criminally negligent homicide, reckless manslaughter, reckless child abuse resulting in death, and criminally negligent child abuse resulting in death.

Church of the First Born members believe there is a biblical injunction against medical treatment. They treat illnesses and injuries with prayer.

Amanda Bates, one of the Bateses’ 11 children, died Feb. 6. Someone at her home called 911 early that morning to report an unattended death. Paramedics were able to revive the skeletal youngster, and she was kept alive until evening on machines at St. Mary’s Hospital and St. Luke’s Hospital in Denver. An autopsy showed she died from complications of diabetes, which include an increased risk of infections. Amanda’s infection began with an easily treated vaginitis, which eventually spread and turned to gangrene.

Even a group called Religious Tolerance lists faith-healing sects, including their incidences of unnecessary deaths. Our tolerance, as well, should be exclusive of beliefs that cause this kind of suffering. Perhaps we must allow people to hold their beliefs, no matter how ridiculous, but they have to be held responsible for the actions they take because of their beliefs. People whose beliefs include animal sacrifice or grave robbing for human remains to be used in ceremony find themselves charged with crimes if they’re caught sacrificing animals or robbing graves. There is no reason that people who withhold medical treatment from children until they are clearly ill, even until they die, should not be charged with a crime. The evidence of faith healing’s failure as a treatment is abundant – evidence of its success is wishful thinking.

And yet. . .our tax dollars just paid for Ken Ham to speak at the every-Wednesday Pentagon Prayer Breakfast.

Despite the fact that Ken Ham is delusional, as any look at Answers in Genesis or a brief tour through his ludicrous Creation Museum shows. But our military leadership wants to hear what he has to say.

Despite the fact that the prayers of devout believers directed at specific individuals has failed to save their lives, our government supports prayer to save entire troops (who were sent into danger by the very same folks soliciting the prayers) both ideologically and financially.

Despite the fact that parents avoid simple, proven medical treatments in favor of wishing really hard end up killing their children, many states exempt them from prosecution.

Am I wrong to object to my government endorsing religion in this way? Does it not seem like letting people die is OK as long as you really wish hard that they don’t? Is doing nothing, in the form of waiting for your invisible friend to grant your wishes, a get out of jail free card?

As long as prayer is held up as a viable course of action, practiced loudly and publicly by influential people, and allowed as an excuse for people to act in otherwise inexcusable ways, it is indeed an establishment of religion. It is a violation of the Constitution, and a violation of common sense.

Congo Attacks Again

Congo Attacks Again

Why did this have to happen? I am not a fan of euthanizing animals, even when it’s the alternative to a protracted, painful death (a mercy, but I still feel bad), but an animal that’s dangerous and hasn’t been controlled by its owners shouldn’t be allowed to live.

Now Congo, his mate Lucia, and offspring Hunter and Bear were euthanized after attacking the mother of their owner’s wife.

“I don’t want people who were supportive of Congo (after last year’s landscaper mauling) to think they were supporting a bad dog,” Guy James said in an interview. He said Tuesday’s unfortunate encounter between the dogs and his mother-in-law “wasn’t an attack at all. It was dogs jumping.”

Right. He claims that his mother in law opened the back door, and the dogs were just jumping enthusiastically because they wanted to come in. They were so happy that they bit her head, chest, and forearm. Just a little innocent play. Oh, and they knocked Mrs. Ladd over, breaking her hip. Wait, that’s another place where the police report was wrong – according to James, his wife knocked her mother over trying to get between her and the dogs. Nice way to shift the blame, dude. Especially if Ladd dies or is severely disabled as a result, which is highly likely.

He’s telling the press that the dogs were euthanized because a judge would force him to do it anyway, and he didn’t want them stuck in a cage while the lawsuit went on. Nobody understands how delicate these sweet doggies really are, apparently.

I mean, after all they went through after that little incident with the landscaper, you can understand why they might be a bit nervous! (And look at the photo of Rivera – what a whiny baby!)

A google search on this dog returns more hits sympathizing with the dog than anything else. It’s sickening. What’s clear to me is that Guy James is an irresponsible pet owner. He has not trained them to behave, he has not made accommodations to protect people in lieu of training the dogs, or in response to the dogs’ propensity to attack. If you have an animal that responds violently and offensively to strangers and/or surprises, you need to train that animal. If the animal can’t be trained, then it must be restrained. If you can’t or won’t restrain the animal, you need to put it to death.

Did he train Congo? His wife claims that she commanded the dogs to stop attacking Rivera, to no avail. If that reflects their training, I’d say they were untrained or badly trained. Were they restrained? Well, if a guest can open a door to the house and get attacked, then the restraint was inadequate or nonexistent.

Two of the cats I’ve had in my life and one of the dogs were put to sleep as soon as it was clear they were dangerous. The first cat jumped on my sister while she was sitting watching TV, and his antisocial nature indicated this would happen again. He went to the vet that afternoon. The dog was from back in the days when you let the dog out to wander – we don’t know if he bit anyone else, but he bit someone who knew who he was, and he was put to sleep as well. A few years ago, one of our cats overreacted to provocation – I was willing to give him a chance, since this was the first time, and he had actually been hit on the head deliberately. When my daughter was snuggling with him and he sunk claws and teeth into her head, that was his last chance. If any animal of mine inflicted the kind of injury these dogs did, they wouldn’t have gotten that second chance. You can’t reason with them or negotiate.

I just wonder how long it’s going to take Guy James to get himself some more dogs to ruin with indulgence and excuses. Congo’s Law should include a provision restricting people from getting more animals – but by euthanizing these dogs before he could be charged under even this watered-down piece of legislation, James has nothing holding him back. Sadly, I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing this man’s new dogs in the news somewhere down the line, too.