Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What I Learned About Rick Santorum From Last Night's Republican Primaries

But my mom's a very unusual person for her time. She's someone who did get a college education in the 1930s, and was a nurse, and got a graduate degree, even, as a nurse, and worked full time. And when she married my dad, they worked together at the Veterans Administration. That's where they met, right after the war. And later on, they had me and the rest of the family, my brother and sister, and my mom continued to work. She worked all of my childhood years. She balanced time, as my dad did, working different schedules, and she was a very unusual person at that time. She was a professional who actually made more money than her husband.
-From speech after loosing the Michigan and Arizona primaries, February 28, 2012

President Obama once said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob.
-From speech at Michigan Prosperity Forum Michigan, February 25, 2012

The radical feminists succeeded in undermining the traditional family and convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness.
-From his book It Takes a Family:Conservatism and the Common Good (2005)

He is a hypocrite. He also has three post high school degrees; a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science) from the Pennsylvania State University (1980), a Master of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh (1981), and a Juris Doctor (Law degree) from the Dickinson School of Law (1986). His wife has two degrees, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Duquesne University and a law degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (1990). She also worked as a lawyer before she married Santorum.

I can accept a person being passionate about his or her religion as long as they do not force their beliefs on me but what I won't accept is a hypocrite. Before last night he was anti-feminists and anti-college but now all of a sudden he is praising his feminist mother and her college degree. What this man said last night shows he is willing to lie to get what he wants, which is the Republican nomination, even if what he is saying is in direct conflict with what he truly believes.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Fanatic By Any Name Is Still A Fanatic

Mortification: the subjection and denial of bodily passions and appetites by abstinence or self-inflicted pain or discomfort.
-Merriam-Webster Dictionary

If you followed the link to the article about Opus Die yesterday you learned that some members of Opus Dei practice what are know as corporal mortifications or corporal penances.

...members practice small physical mortifications occasionally, such as giving up certain items of food or drink. Within this spirit, numeraries and associates (celibate members) sometimes practice traditional Catholic penances such as using the cilice and discipline. These are practices that Catholics have used for centuries and are commonplace in the lives of the saints, for example: St. Francis of Assisi, St. Thomas More, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Padre Pio and Blessed Mother Teresa. The motivation for these voluntary penances is to imitate Christ and to join him in his redemptive sacrifice (cf. Matthew 16:24), and they can also be a way to suffer in solidarity with the many poor and deprived people in the world.
-Opus Dei-FAQ

For those of you who do not know what a cilice is, Father Mike Barrett, a member of Opus Dei, describes it this way, "It's a small, light, metal chain with little prongs worn around the thigh. The cilice is uncomfortable--it's supposed to be--but it does not in any way hinder one's normal activities and there's absolutely no Da Vinci Code gore." As for the disciplines (hitting yourself with a whip) he describes it this way, "Some celibate members use them generally once a week for a minute or two. Again, no blood, no harm, just some short-term discomfort...the real disciplines are made of woven cotton string and weigh less than two ounces."

(For those of you not sure what the hell Father Mike is talking about, this is a leg cilice and this is a light woven cotton discipline rope. I don't know about you but those things look like they would hurt.)

The reason for these practices, as stated above, "is to imitate Christ and join him in his redemptive sacrifice." Opus Dei give Matthew 16:24 as the citation for the practice.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.'
-New Jerusalem Bible

How do you get from what is written in verse 24, Chapter 16, of Matthew to what can only be described as masochistic practices done in the name of Jesus? Why because they are, "commonplace in the lives of the saints." Let's face it, saints are the original fanatics. People who Merriam-Webster describe as being, "marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion." Although I was taught as a child to look up to the saints I always knew I never wanted to meet one of them. Read their life stories, most of those people are scary and a little nuts.

Not only are corporal mortifications done in the name of Jesus, Opus Dei tells us they are also a way, "to suffer in solidarity with the many poor and deprived people in the world." Since I was once one of the poor and deprived I can tell you right now this self-indulgent "I feel your pain" action is would not have helped me. If you really wanted to help you would give me food or do something constructive to rid the world of hunger and suffering.

Why am I writing about this? Because Rick Santorum is connected with this group. He may not be a member of it as rumored but he is connected to it. That speech he made back in 2002 in which he said he did not believe in Separation of Church and State and that John F. Kennedy made him throw-up was given at a Opus Dei event in Rome. When that speech went public he went on the defensive saying on ABC News:

To say that people of faith have no role in the public square. You bet that makes you throw-up. What kind of country do we live in that say only people of non-faith can come in the public square and make their case. That makes me throw-up.

Oh, please, no one is saying people of faith have no role in the public square. We are saying that people of faith have no right to force their personal religious beliefs on other Americans and, therefore, have no right to make those personal religious beliefs public law. Rick Santorum knows this but like Opus Dei he thinks that if he downplays what is really going by lying about it no one will see him for what he really is, a religious fanatic who wants to recreate the county in his own image.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dear Republican Party

Please, please, please pick Rick Santorum as your presidential candidate. The more idiotic things he says...

1. Education is baaad.

2. Women are baaad.

3. The US Constitution, along with John F. Kennedy, is baaad.

4. President Obama apologizing to another country's leaders for the burning of copies of the Koran by American soldiers is baaad.

5. Homosexuals are evil and baaad (Paragraph six).

6. Birth control is baaad.

7. Sex is baaad (Except when you are trying to make a baby and are married).

...the more he drives away Independent and moderate voters.

The fact that Rick Santorum would say what he has about homosexuals, birth control, and sex is not that shocking if you believe he is a member of the ultra-conservative Catholic group Opus Dei as rumored. Opus Dei is baaad.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thank God It's Friday.

Love And Kisses

(Thank God it's)
(Thank God it's)
Friday, Friday, Friday, Friday

Put a smile on your face,
Things are coming your way,
Out there somewhere tonight,
(It's the right time and place)

I saw you baby,
For the very first time,
Couldn't take my eyes off you,
Girl you just had to be mine.
You're the key I'm dreamin' of,
For it just had to be you,
Girl I know this time
I'll make all my dreams come true.

See the stars in his eyes,
And that music in you,
Tells you how you can find
(Your way to paradise)

(Thank God it's)
(Thank God it's)
Friday, Friday, Friday, Friday

Put a smile on your face,
Things are coming your way,
Out there somewhere tonight
(It's the right time and place)

See the stars in his eyes,
And that music in you,
Tells you how you can find
(Your way to paradise)

Put a smile on your face,
Things are coming your way,
Out there somewhere tonight
(It's the right time and place)

See the stars in his eyes,
And that music in you,
Tells you how you can find
(Your way to paradise)....

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Last Night's Republican Debate

You get to ask the questions you want, I get to give the answers I want.
-Mitt Romney, after the debate moderator asked him why he was not even pretending to answer a question put to him.

Thanks for giving us a new tag line for the Republican Party, Mitt.

You get to ask the questions You want
We get to answer the questions We want

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Welcome To My Humble Abode

I'm not sure if I've ever told you that our house started life out in the country but it did. In 1934 it was moved into town and set on a new foundation and more rooms added on to it. I've always known that the house had been moved to town but I never knew just where it had been and for some reason thought it was on land somewhere north of town. Last Saturday I found out I was wrong.

My husband and I took the dogs for a run in a field south of town, one we have run the dogs in numerous times, and, as we walked, he casually mentioned that the old foundation for our house was "over there" to the right of us. Since I had believed the house had been on land north of town I was stunned to hear this. I'd run the dogs in this field for many, many years and all that time I had been within walking distance of my house's original location. He then asked me if I wanted to go look at it. I told I'd wait until the next day as I wanted to take photos and did not have my camera with me. Sunday we, the dogs, and my camera went back to the field and walked over to were our house once stood. I was even more surprised to learn that the foundation was right next to the road we drove on to get to where we parked our truck. I had driven by this farm site hundreds of times and never once noticed it.

As we walked around I could tell the house had been tiny. What had once been a farm house that sheltered a family of six was now the living/dining room of our house. A man who grew up in the house told us it had been divided into two rooms. The room on the north end of the house had been the living room/kitchen. The room to the south had been subdivided into two bedrooms. His parents slept in one of the bedrooms and two of his brothers slept in the other. He and another brother slept in the basement. The house had a well in the northeast corner of the basement which was connected to the water pump by the kitchen sink. It had no bathroom and probably no electricity. Life and people were tougher back then.

A view of the foundation from the hill behind it. The road runs north/south. North is to the left.

Me, standing inside the basement with the hill behind me. That pile of concrete in front of me is what is left of the front steps.

My husband lying down inside the foundation.

A view of the foundation from the northwest corner.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can't Tell The Players Without A Program

Demagogue;a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.
-Merriam-Webster Dictionary

In answer to a comment left on my blog post yesterday I wrote, "...the Republican Party sold its soul-no, I take that back, they willing gave it- to religious and political groups who preach demagogy in a desperate bid for power at any cost. The party of Lincoln has thrown away its legacy. Its a damn shame." I now realize it is not only a damn shame it is frightening.

For those of you who are not sure how to tell a Demagogue from an ordinary political candidate I present The Demagogy Checklist reprinted with the permission of the author Craig Chalquist, PHD :

The following checklist is designed to help detect the deliberately propagandistic elements in any speech, sermon, or other public proclamation or communication. What differentiates demagogic propaganda from straight talk is the attempt to fog and manipulate the audience's awareness instead of appealing to its rationality and realism, those qualities upon which every democracy depends. Therefore the more of the following that are present, the more underhanded the communique

1. Hypnotic rhythms ("We will be strong, we will unite, we will not fail....") intended to lull the attention into trancelike suggestibility.

2. Scapegoating: the attempt to "otherize" a given population (e.g. the Mexicans, the Arabs, those who don't share our views). Psychotherapists call this dynamic projection, an evacuation of our darker motives onto handy opponents.

3. Sweeping generalizations and oversimplifications. Free trade will erase poverty, more weapons will win the war on terror, banning assault rifles is an attack on personal freedom, etc.

4. Black-and-white categorization (we are good, they are evil; we're right, you're wrong).

5. A tone of sanctimonious moralizing.

6. Noble-sounding justifications for rigidity, oppression, intolerance, incompetence, indifference, or violence.

7. The replacement of concrete details with vague appeals to traditional values (patriotism, family, God, church).

8. Intolerance of disagreement ("you're either with us or against us").

9.The branding of the adult capacity for critical self-examination as misguided, unpatriotic, or disloyal.

10. Group narcissism disguised as loyalty (our truth is the only Truth; we are Number One; etc.).

11. No room given to healthy self-doubt or the recognition of ambiguous realities in a given situation.

12. Recurrent appeals to the "self-defense" argument as a justification for domination.

13. A childlike assumption of entitlement.

14. A childlike sense of omnipotence.

15. Euphemisms (e.g., "targeted defense" rather than "assassination"; "spiritual guidance" and not "intimidation").

16. Imposition of group norms described in terms of unity and solidarity (we do this for the good of all).

17. Minimization of the potential dangers of one's actions; whitewashing of unjust consequences.

18. Peer pressure, subtle or outright.

19. Threats, implied or overt.

20. Blaming the opponent for one's own aggressive actions.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Dear Republican Candidates

Will you please, please read the U. S. Constitution before you open your mouths and show your ignorance about one of the most important document written by our founding father? Rick Santorum, I'm actually talking to you this morning after your faux pas yesterday when you stupidly insinuated that President Obama was not a real Christian. You, Sir, need to study up on Article VI, paragraph 3 of that document:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

The irony of you as a Catholic not understand this fundamental right would be amusing if it did not show how completely ignorant you are about another Catholic whose religious beliefs were almost a roadblock to his presidential aspirations, John F. Kennedy. In an address he made to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in 1960, Senator Kennedy tackled this issue straight on saying in his speech:

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute—where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote—where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference—and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish—where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source—where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials—and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew—or a Quaker—or a Unitarian—or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim- -but tomorrow it may be you—until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril.

Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end—where all men and all churches are treated as equal—where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice—where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind—and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.

That is the kind of America in which I believe. And it represents the kind of Presidency in which I believe—a great office that must neither be humbled by making it the instrument of any one religious group nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding its occupancy from the members of any one religious group.

I believe in a President whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office. I would not look with favor upon a President working to subvert the first amendment's guarantees of religious liberty. Nor would our system of checks and balances permit him to do so—and neither do I look with favor upon those who would work to subvert Article VI of the Constitution by requiring a religious test—even by indirection—for it. If they disagree with that safeguard they should be out openly working to repeal it.

I want a Chief Executive whose public acts are responsible to all groups and obligated to none—who can attend any ceremony, service or dinner his office may appropriately require of him—and whose fulfillment of his Presidential oath is not limited or conditioned by any religious oath, ritual or obligation.

So, Mister Santorum, as a Catholic do you feel even a little ashamed about what you said? Knowing ignorance is bliss, I'd guess not.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Keep Your Filthy Paws Off My Silky Drawers

So what will you remember about the beginning of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings on contraceptives? Mine will be the image of five self-righteous men lined up behind a table sitting in judgement on a women's right to control her own body. And let me tell you, people, that is what all this bulldooky boils down to, control. It's not about sex, it's not the unborn, and it's certainly not about religious rights. It's about just who has control over a woman's body, the authorities (be they governmental or religious leaders) or women themselves.

We teach our children that their bodies belong to them and that no one has the right to interfere with it. We specifically teach them that the parts of their bodies that are covered by their swimsuits are off limits to other people. Those parts are labelled private and anyone who is too interested in those private parts is labeled a pervert. So, following this train of thought to its logical conclusion, doesn't this mean that the religious and political far right,  who seem obsessed about women's private parts, are also perverted? Yes, and they should back off, they're creeping me out.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Smell Of Childhood

I have been sick for over a week now with that cold virus that is sweeping across the country so blogging is low on my list of priorities right now. I have reached the point where I am tired of being indoors and in pajamas all day so this morning I got dressed and went with my husband when he took the dogs on their morning run. When I stepped outside a fragrance on the breeze send me instantly back to a memory from my childhood. I was eight-years-old, sitting cross-legged and hunched over on the sidewalk in front of my house with a rock in my right hand. My left hand was pressing a section of a roll of paper caps flat against the concrete in front of me as I smashed my rock down on one small disk of explosive material after another. The banging noise produced by my action was very pleasing to me. So was the smell of sulfuric smoke and burnt paper wafting up into my nostrils as each cap exploded. The air was scented with that smell this morning; the ghost of paper caps past.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Birds, do it, bees, do it
Even educated fleas, do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

In Spain, the best Upper Sets, do it
Lithuanians and Lett's, do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

The Dutch in old Amsterdam, do it
Not to mention the Fins
Folks in Siam do it, think of Siamese twins

Some Argentines, without means, do it
People say in Boston even beans, do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

Romantic sponges, they say, do it
Oysters down in oyster bay, do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

Cold Cape Cod clams, 'gainst their wish, do it
Even lazy jellyfish, do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

Electric eels, I might add, do it
Though it shocks em, I know
Why ask if shad do it, waiter bring me shad roe

In shallow shoals, English soles, do it
Goldfish in the privacy of bowls, do it
Let's do it, let's fall in love

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Joy of Books

My sister shared this with me and now I am sharing it with you.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston (1963 - 2012)

My soul is full of whispered song;
My blindness is my sight;
The shadows that I feared so long
Are all alive with light.

-Alice Cary (1820-1871)

Whitney Houston

A few stolen moments is all that we share
You've got your family and they need you there
Though I've tried to resist being last on your list
But no other man's gonna do
So I've saving all my love for you

It's not very easy living all alone
My friends try and tell me find a man of my own
But each time I try I just break down and cry
'Cause I'd rather be home feeling blue
So I've saving all my love for you

You used to tell me we'd run away together
Love gives you the right to be free
You said be patient just wait a little longer
But that's just an old fantasy

I've got to get ready just a few minutes more
Gonna get that old feeling when you walk through that door
'Cause tonight is the night for I feeling all right
We'll be making love the whole night through
So I'm saving all my love
Yes I'm saving all my love
Yes I'm saving all my love for you

No other woman is gonna love you more
'Cause tonight is the night that I feeling all right
We'll be making love the whole night through
So I'm saving all my love
Yeah 'm saving all my lovin'
Yes I'm saving all my love for you
For you
For you

Friday, February 10, 2012

Three O'clock In The Morning

In the real dark night of the soul, it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sometimes, while watching a movie, I find some bit of dialogue that a screenwriter has written for a character resonating within me. This happen to me earlier this week while I was watching Infamous (2006). Infamous is about Truman Capote and his research into the the Clutter family murders in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas back in 1959. The information he gathered there became his best selling book In Cold Blood.

In one scene of the movie Capote and Nell Harper Lee are standing in field with a farmer who knew Herb Clutter, the head of the Clutter family. The farmer is giving examples of how Herb Clutter was a good and decent man when he pauses and says:

I've always believed that whenever you do something right it gives you a little bit of weight so that you come to feel rooted to this earth, you know? Solid. Secure. Now what scared me is that, well, sometimes, out of nowhere a bad wind blows up. Now it could be cancer, could be drink, could be some woman that don't belong to you. And despite the weight that's holding you to the ground when that wind comes, it picks you up light as a leaf and takes you were it wants. We're in control until we're not. Then we're helpless.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is someone describing the horror of his three o'clock morning moment. And isn't this realization, that we aren't in control of our lives the way we think we are, that in reality we are helpless, every soul's three o'clock in the morning?

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Bite Me Once, Shame On You

Bite me twice, shame on me.

I don't know how many of you remember my post from May of 2009 about Trixie the colt filly but you can go to it here and see photos of her. What I did not know at the time is that Trixie would bond with me in a way that was a threat to my safety. By the time she was about six months old she started treating me like another colt filly and would prance up to me the second she saw me to get face rubs. At first this was fine but then she would trot along side me and push against me hard enough to make me stumble. She would also press against my face with the side of her head. One day she did this so many times I told my husband to distract her so I could slip behind a tree as he led her away from me. This only upset her and she trotted around looking for me not letting my husband get near here. I finally stepped out from behind the tree and when she saw me she rushed up to me so quickly that for a second I thought she was going to knock me down. That is when I knew I had to leave so I started walking down the trail back to the truck. Trixie stayed by my side, bumping into every once in awhile, so I decided to take a short cut that got me away from her faster. This shortcut led to her stable. She followed me the whole way and when I got to the fence she decided it would be fun to set the bottom of her jaw on top of my head and press down. I ducked away and quickly climbed over the fence. I felt afraid ,angry, and sad. I was frightened because I knew she could have accidentally hurt me with her playful behavior, I was angry because she had frightened me, and I was sad because I knew I would not be able to walk the river until she had outgrown her behavior.

Flash forward to the beginning of November of 2010. It had been such a long time since we had been down to the river by then we decided to give it a another try. When we got there I was surprised to see how much Trixie and grown and then delighted to see she now had her own baby. We started walking and Trixie looked up at us and then ignored us as we passed by. I was relieved. Each time we went down on the river from that day until yesterday she ignored us. I don't know why yesterday was different but when she heard me calling the dogs she looked over at us from where she was grazing and, when she saw me, she quickly trotted over with her young colt  filly right behind her. I loudly told her to go away and she paused. I started walking and she started following me. I again told her to go away but she kept coming and then stopped right in front of me. I rubbed her nose and turned to walk away. At the same moment my husband yelled at me to look out I felt Trixie's teeth on my upper left arm and I cried out in pain and shock. The winter clothes and parka I was wearing kept her from really getting a hold of me so her bite did not break the skin or even bruise me. My husband grabbed Trixie's hackamore and pulled her away from me. I asked him to hold on to her as I again took the shortcut across the field and over the fence. When I got to the dirt road I shouted to my husband and he let Trixie go. In less than 15 seconds she came running up to the fence that I now stood on the other side of and stared at me as if expecting something exciting or good to happen. I stared sadly back at her because I knew she wasn't going to outgrown her behavior and that she would always think of me as another colt filly. It was never going to be safe for me to be down there with her and I sure wasn't going let her bite me twice. The little dope.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Been To The River Seen A Horse With No Name

Photo taken by my husband

I like the way this horse glows in the winter sunlight. I see he is wearing his best winter coat, too.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Walking In A Winter Wonderland

Woke-up this morning to find that the not-as-big-as-expected snowstorm left behind only 2 to 4 inches of snow, no wind, and a faultless clear blue sky. It was such a beautiful morning my husband and I took the dogs down to the river. When we turned down the lane that led to the parking area we were amazed to see hundreds of turkeys assembled in the middle of the field behind the the small horse stable to the right of the trail. When we got out of the truck the dogs ran over to check on the turkeys. They both know they cannot catch turkeys but the turkeys did not and started evacuating the area. The whirling noise created by hundreds of turkey wings flapping at the same time but out of sync with each other surprised me. I don't know what I thought hundreds of turkeys taking off sounded like but I never imagined it would be almost the same whirling sound made by a wind-up toy.

The land we were walking on had been so thoroughly transformed by snowfall my husband decided to run back to the house and get my camera. Below are 5 of the photos I took. In the first photo all that churned up snow was created by turkeys walking over it and the dogs are checking out the smells those turkeys left behind. I don't know who enjoyed our walk the most; the dogs, my husband or me.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Don Cornelius (1936-2012)

Love, Peace and Soul
-Don Cornelius

Love, peace and soul to you, too, Don.

-The Museum of Broadcast Communication article about Soul Train here.

-The New York Times article about Mr. Cornelius and Soul Train here.

-The New York Times obituary here.