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Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Peanut Buster Parfait

Image from Fanpop

Sunday evening, my husband and I went to Dairy Queen and I ordered what I always order: the Peanut Buster Parfait. I've loved them for as long as I can remember, but this time, the order was different. This order brought back a flood of memories.

When I was a kid, I spent almost every summer visiting my paternal grandparents and cousins in Missouri. My cousins and I would ride bikes, go swimming, fish, run and do all things kid-like, with no concept of time or responsibility. One summer, I had to borrow my cousin David's bicycle and took a rather dramatic spill while riding around with another cousin, Steven. I scraped my entire right thigh on a gravel road, and Steven helped me to my Aunt Bea's house so she could "fix me up." 

Aunt Bea was a trip. It was from her that I learned about the Daughters of the American Revolution (she was a lifetime member) and a little history on our family's role in the founding of this country. She was always very kind to a precocious city girl, giving hugs and cookies in equal order.

At least twice a week, Grandpa would take me, and sometimes my cousins Laura and Beth to Dairy Queen. And I would order a Peanut Buster Parfait. It didn't matter what anyone else was having-that's what I wanted every time. When it was just us two, Grandpa and I would talk about what we'd done that day and what we were going to do the next. On a normal day, we went fishing or I helped him garden. On special days, I got to sit in the governor's chair or meet George Brett and the manager of the Kansas City Royals. 

On one very special day, Grandma, Grandpa and I headed to Arrow Rock to watch the filming of the movie "Tom Sawyer." Sucking on rock candy, I wandered past Johnny Whittaker and Celeste Holm, amazed at how complicated it all looked. Arrow Rock will always be one of my favorite places in the world.

We had a membership to the Harrisonville Country Club, and Beth and I spent many extremely hot afternoons lounging in and by the pool. Neither of us had any concept of skin cancer or sun damage, which was made evident by the baby oil mixed with iodine we slathered all over ourselves. Some evenings, we were taken to Stephenson's Apple Farm, an occasion for which proper attire was required. Laura would wear a dress while Beth and I, the eternal tomboys would not. It was slacks for the two short haired wonder girls, thank you very much.

So, Sunday evening as I tried not to devour my Peanut Buster Parfait in record time, I remembered my childhood in Missouri. And I remembered my grandparents, George and Elinor. I remembered my great aunt Emily, Grandma's twin sister. I remembered my cousins Steven, Beth, Laura, David (RIP), Sarah and Brian. I remembered, a little misty-eyed, sitting on a bench outside a Dairy Queen, listening to a man I loved so very much tell me how wonderful it was spending time with me. 

All in all, I had a pretty good childhood, when I really look back. No, it wasn't perfect, and yes, my adolescence through my late thirties was an experience I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. But in the grand scheme of things, spending time with cousins I considered my best friends, a grandmother who thought I was the moon and the stars and a grandfather who spoke my name with pride when he introduced me to the governor of Missouri gave me some wonderful memories to enjoy the next time I find myself eating a Peanut Buster Parfait.
My grandfather, George Brock.

I want to be a Sparklepony

Image from

In 2012, former Minnesota Vikings punter, Chris Kluwe gained national attention with a letter he wrote to a Republican politician in Maryland. Kluwe's missive was in response to comments made by Emmett C. Burns to the Baltimore Ravens regarding a player speaking out in favor marriage equality. That letter went viral, and Kluwe found himself invited to appear on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report along with other news and entertainment programs. 

Here's the deal. Chris Kluwe wrote a book and it's not fair. Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies cannot have been written by a punter for the NFL. I mean, I know it was because it's Chris Kluwe's style, but dammit that sucks. This is a fantastic book. It's hysterically funny, deeply profound, poignant, honest and intelligent. In Sparkleponies, you will find the original version of Kluwe's letter to Burns and an edited version where he removes all the swear words, replacing them with some of the most bizarre word combinations I have ever read. Like "DISAPPOINTED LEMUR FACE WITH SOLITARY TEAR TRICKLING DOWN TO CHIN" and "ALACK AND ALAS MY TOP HAT HAS FALLEN."

How is this even possible? NFL players are supposed to co-write their own biographies with four researchers, three ghost writers and a household staff. What fresh hell is this? Bloggers have enough to worry about-ridicule, scorn, lawsuits from people who don't understand the First Amendment, carpel tunnel, migraines, fits of despair and/or violence-now we have to worry about brilliant, sparkling NFL punters who write as if they are the result of a strange mating between Carl Hiassen, Neil Gaiman and Kona Lowell? REALLY?

Take for example the chapter, "A Tasting Menu." Being married to a former football player, I hear quite frequently about all the nasty things that football does to one's body. The stories are really unnecessary; the snap-crackle-pop that emanates from my beloved's skeleton every morning is proof enough. Chris Kluwe lists seven frequent injuries, but he describes them as if they are entrees on a menu. Strained Groin "has a spicy yet long-lasting bouquet filled with aromas of Grimacing and Wince."

Not fair.

In "For teh Lulz," Kluwe makes a profound statement about the ridiculousness of violence. When I got to the end, I cried just a little. And then there is "A List." Kluwe shares with us a few of the things that infuriate him, including "People Who Lean Their Seats Back on Airplanes," "People with Vanity License Plates and Handicapped Stickers on Their Corvettes," and "People Who Make Lists."

See? Not fair at all.

Go buy Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies. Chris Kluwe is, as horrendous as this is to admit, a fantastic writer. Damn him.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pro-life? I don't think so

Image from Sodahead

Unless you were on vacation in Fiji last week (and if you were, why didn't you invite me?), you are aware of a woman named Wendy Davis. Ms. Davis is a senator from the once-great state of Texas who spent 11 hours not peeing or sitting down or leaning or eating in order to filibuster one of the most restrictive anti-choice laws in America. The Republicans tried everything to stop her including flat out cheating, but in the end, between Senator Davis, Senator Letitia Van de Putte, Senator Kirk Watson and what is being called The People's Filibuster, the bill was stopped and America cheered.

Rick Perry, one of the stupidest governors in Texas history, has decided that his party is so pro-life they are willing to waste about $1 million in taxpayer money and try this whole thing again on July 1st. Because they love life. Sort of.

See, on Wednesday, hours after the Texas GOP whined about how SB 5 was necessary to preserve life, Texas executed its 500th inmate. Kimberly McCarthy, a 52-year old African American woman was put to death for the 1997 robbery, beating and fatal stabbing of retired college professor, Dorothy Booth. Ms. McCarthy was a nurse who became addicted to crack cocaine. She was executed by lethal injection and pronounced dead at 6:37 PM, CST Wednesday evening.

I've asked conservatives to explain this phenomenon to me. How a person can call themselves "pro-life" and cheer when someone is murdered by the state. What I have been told is that execution is in the Bible. Of course so is stoning adulterers, beating your children to death, rape, incest, polygamy and murder, but whatever. It seems that whenever a right wing "Christian" desperately needs to justify their own blatant hypocrisy, they manage to find one or two passages in the Bible and scream them at you. Or tattoo them on their body somewhere, which is forbidden in Leviticus.

You cannot call yourself "pro-life" if you're also pro-death. You cannot support bombing <insert name of Middle Eastern country here> but tell a rape victim they have to carry to term. You cannot believe Uganda's Kill the Gays bill is a good idea, but call women who get abortions murderers. You just can't.

Of course, I'm approaching this with logic and cognitive thought. Which doesn't frequently happen on the right. Want proof? Rick Perry considers himself a flaming fundamentalist Christian, calls himself "pro-life," but he loves, loves, LOVES the fact that Texas executes more inmates than any other state.

If you're confused, join the club. We meet every Thursday. BYOB.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Bachmann Diaries: My very, horrible, terrible week and it's only Wednesday

Dear Diary,

Holy God has abandoned America. The God of Abraham, Isaac and George Jacob has taken His Almighty hand away from what was once the Greatest Country in the World. I can't believe how we went from being poised to do such great things to this.

On Tuesday, the formerly great state of Texas allowed a snotty woman named Wendy to stand in PINK SNEAKERS on the floor of the Senate for 13 hours in order to filibuster the most incredibly Christian bill. This bill would have protected unborn babies while making it almost impossible for liberal women to get abortions. But the evil Nazis at Planned "Parent" Hood (they don't want people to be parents, they just want to murder the unborn) claimed the bill HURT women. Who cares about nasty women who want to kill their babies? Abortion should be illegal, and anyone who has one should be flogged like they did in the Old Testament when harlots had abortions. I think that's in Leviticus. Maybe Job, I'm not sure.

So, this horrid woman tried to convince good Christian Republicans like my wonderful friend, Donna Campbell that this bill was a bad idea. But Donna and other God-fearing senators saw right through that. Now, I really don't know how the senate works, because I'm a congresswoman. What I saw seemed to make sense though. Donna made a "point of Mordor" that Wendy Davidson Davis wasn't talking about anything important (and she really wasn't I mean our unborn children matter more than women) and that was like the 5th point of Mordor, so the guy in the big chair told everyone they were going to vote.

THEN this uppity Mexican woman started asking all these STUPID questions, and so did some old guy named after Captain Kirk on "Star Trek," AND the homeless Occupy hippies started screaming obscenities like "My body, my choice" and that woman's name over and over and over again, and suddenly it was midnight. She had to keep talking until midnight in order to stop this amazing bill. But the Republicans said the vote on something was before midnight, and they won. But they didn't, because they got caught changing the date and time on the record from the 26th to the 25th. SO WHAT. It doesn't matter if they lied and ignored all the rules of their senate-these are innocent perfect unborn BABIES. Cut food stamps or preschool or something, but we must protect the unborn however we can.

There was a glimmer of hope on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court pretty much said what I've been saying for years: colored black people shouldn't be able to vote, and if they can, it should be really difficult. I mean, seriously, how do you think we wound up with a Kenyan-born Muslim socialist in the White House? Do you really think any white people voted for him? Of course not. Plus, there's ACORN, which completely stole BOTH elections for that Godless commie.

When I woke up on Wednesday, Marcus was sitting in his office, glued to something called "scotusblog." I asked him what it was, and he told me the Supreme Court, the same Supreme Court that had just reaffirmed my faith in white America had declared DOMA unconstitutional. Diary, I am still in shock. How did this happen? My millions of fans and supporters hate the idea of two men or two women kissing or getting married and think of the children! Can you imagine going to school and having to explain to your friends how you have two mommies? I mean, I understand that bullying is part of life and anti-bullying laws would just turn our boys into girls, but that's child abuse!

Marcus gave me an early dose of my Geodon and I fell asleep on the ermine divan. When I woke up, I was naked under that tree next to the living room window. I had somehow managed to rip apart a badger with my bare hands and was rocking back and forth. I don't remember leaving the house, but thank Holy God I was nude or my Chanel suit would have been covered in blood.

Diary, I'm going to pray to Holy Almighty God to save our once perfect country. Marcus, bless his heart, is trying to look on the bright side of this. He's going to San Francisco this weekend to participate in a 2-day conference on saving homos. California is now allowing homos to get married to each other. Why can't they just marry a straight person like Marcus did?

Maybe wine would help. We have a box of white zinfandel in the fridge. That sounds good.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dying to Vote

Image from Google

On June 21st, 1964, three civil rights activists were murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi. The young men-James Chaney, a 21-year old black man from Meridian, MS, Andrew Goodman, a 20-year old white man from New York and Michael Schwerner, a 24-year old white man also from New York-were registering black people to vote.

In May of that same year,  two young black men went missing in May, from Roxie, Mississippi. The beaten bodies of civil rights activist Henry Hezekiah Dee and his friend, Charles Eddie Moore were found in a river, bound to an engine block and railroad rails. The Ku Klux Klan was suspected in both these killings.
James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were members of the Council of Federated Organizations, a group effort organized by the NAACP along with other organizations. COFO’s goal was to educate African Americans about voting, register them to vote and help them then register others. COFO volunteers traveled all over the South, meeting up with other men and women dedicated to voting rights for African Americans.
The events of June 21st that led to the deaths of these three young men were nothing new in Mississippi. The Ku Klux Klan refused to relinquish its hold on the South, and having members in law enforcement guaranteed that their reign of terror went practically unchecked. People, white and black, were terrified of the Klan and that fear kept them silent.
Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner had decided to head into Philadelphia to inspect the remains of Mount Zion United Methodist Church, a meeting place for civil rights activists that been burned only 5 days earlier. The three young men spoke with COFO organizers, giving them locations and check-in spots, letting the teams know exactly where they were. It was during one of those conversations the young men learned the White Citizen's Council and the Klan had somehow gotten hold of the license plate number on their car.
Later that afternoon, Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price, a member of the Klan, pulled over a blue station wagon driven by James Chaney. Price arrested Chaney for “driving 35 miles per hour over the speed limit.” He also arrested Goodman and Schwerner for “investigation,” and took all three men back to the county jail. At no time were they allowed a phone call, and when COFO team members called the Neshoba county jail, the secretary was instructed by Price to tell COFO the three men were not there. During the time Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner were held, Price notified Edgar Ray Killen that the men were being held and their location was still unknown to COFO. Killen contacted other Klan members, who planned to murder the three young men.
Once the  Klan ambush was set, Price let the three civil rights workers go, fining Chaney $20 and telling them to get out of town. On their way out of town, Price pulled them over again, siren blazing, and held them on the side of the road until the Klan murder squad arrived. The Ku Klux Klan members took the three young men to an isolated spot, shot Goodman and Schwerner and beat Chaney before shooting him to death. The Klansmen drove the COFO car into Bogue Chitto Swamp, setting it on fire. The bodies of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were buried in an earthen dam at the Old Jolly Farm. Less than a month later, the Neshoba CountyFair opened. From We Are Not Afraid: The Story of Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney, and the Civil Rights Campaign for Mississippi:
“The 1964 Neshoba County Fair, ‘Mississippi’s Giant House Party,’ opened as scheduled on August 10. The rambling fairgrounds were located on Highway 21, only a few miles from the Old Jolly Farm, where the civil rights workers’ bodies had been recovered the week before, and the event was unusually tense and subdued. Republican presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, the popular choice for most Neshobans, cancelled a planned appearance, saying he was unable to work it into his schedule. Even George Wallace found an excuse to stay away from the fair-traditionally an obligatory stop for for politicians courting Mississippi’s vote.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. said this about Philadelphia, Mississippi, on the second anniversary of the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwermer:
“This is a terrible town, the worst I’ve ever seen. There is a complete reign of terror here.”
The new voter suppression laws being introduced by Republican politicians are taking us back to a time when blacks, women and the poor were seen as second-class citizens. And today, June 25th, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the deaths of these young men doesn't matter. The sacrifices of the Freedom Riders doesn't matter. 
We have lost something precious today, something vital to the survival of our country. We have lost our way, our soul and our sense of right and wrong. This decision is wrong. But with our voices, our power and our vote, we can make it right again.
Thanks to Southern Poverty Law Center for their tireless work and their contributions to this piece. 
Edited version originally published at Mad Mike's America.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A rape kit is not an abortion (trigger warnings)

Image from

Jodie Laubenberg, a Republican state representative from Texas, made a comment Monday on the House floor that has gone viral. Rep. Laubenberg, during a debate about a law that would deny women access to an abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy, addressed exceptions to the ban for women who had been raped, saying:

"In the emergency room, they have what's called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out."

What Rep. Laubenberg is saying with her statement is that a rape kit is an abortion. She then went on to say female rape victims "had five months to make that decision, at this point we are looking at a baby that is very far along in its development."

There are a plethora of things wrong with Jodie Laubenberg's comment. In order to make certain I had all the correct information, I made two phone calls Monday morning-one to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the other to Hennepin County Medical Center's Sexual Assault Resource Service office. This article will share what I learned from the BCA's media representative and a nurse with HCMC who specializes in treating rape victims and administering rape kits.

Jill Oliveira with the BCA told me that rape kits are designed and used only to collect evidence after a sexual assault. The BCA processes the DNA and other evidence they receive from rape kits. Jill felt she was unqualified to make statements regarding the medical aspects or science related to rape kits, and referred me to HCMC, specifically the Sexual Assault Resource Service. After contacting them, and receiving the go-ahead from their public relations department, I spoke with Barbara Kern-Pieh, a SANE A-P nurse (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, Adult, Adolescents and Pediatrics). 

What is a rape kit? Barbara told me a rape kit is a common term for a sexual assault evidence collection kit. A rape kit is used for collecting different types of evidence immediately following a sexual assault. Rape kits are used by trained medical personnel, who not only perform the tests and adminster the kit but perform medical exams and gather medical information from the victim. If a victim is on medication that causes bruising for example, it's paramount that the nurses and/or doctors are made aware of what the medication is, so they can differentiate between bruising caused by the assault and bruising caused by the medication.

Barbara went into great detail regarding exactly what occurs during the administration of a rape kit, using her own personal experiences with patients. If the victim knows how he or she was raped (vaginally, orally, anally), Barbara will swab those areas. A victim who was orally raped may have DNA-saliva, semen, even blood-on their face, neck or in their hair, so Barbara would focus her testing there. For victims who were drugged or otherwise incapacitated, a black light can be used to find hard-to-see fluids, and blood and urine are necessary to determine what if any drugs are in the victim's system. 

In the case of vaginal rape, where a condom was either not used or the victim does not know if a condom was present, the cervix will be swabbed, again for DNA. At no time is anything introduced into the victim's body that could cause an abortion. There is one thing offered to female rape victims at the time of their exam that Barbara believed is often mistakenly connected with abortion-Plan B. Plan B is emergency contraception that prevents pregnancy. Plan B does not impact an existing pregnancy, nor does Plan B cause abortion. Plan B simply keeps the egg from being fertilized.

Rep. Laubenberg's comments about rape kits are incredibly ignorant, but more importantly, they are dangerous. A rape kit is a tool used by highly trained medical personnel to help catch sexual predators, and comparing them to abortion could impact decisions made by rape victims in the hours after an assault. Her statement regarding a rape victim having "five months to make that decision" is also disturbing. 

Rape traumatizes you. I don't know any rape victim, including myself, who was thinking clearly after they were attacked. Maybe a rape victim has heard and read the false information from the right wing about Plan B. Maybe she was drugged or intoxicated and doesn't think anyone will believe her. Perhaps she thinks the stress of the rape is why she hasn't had her period for a few months. 

We live in a society where the President of the United States had to say on national television that rape is rape. We have primarily Republican politicians saying the most horrendous and misleading things about sexual assault, and when medical professionals like Barbara Kern-Pieh and law enforcement specialists like Jill Oliveira come forward with the truth, the right wing shouts them down with fear-based rhetoric and victim shaming. 

The last thing Barbara and I spoke about was the reaction of victims to the rape kit. She told me they never force or coerce a victim to undergo anything, they simply let the victim know the evidence has to be collected now. Forty percent of the time, she and her staff administer the rape kit knowing the victim is not likely to report the rape. But it is imperative to collect everything they can, no matter what. 

A rape kit is not an abortion, Plan B does not cause abortion. Rep. Laubenberg owes survivors of sexual assault in Texas, and all over America an apology. Her words were callous, thoughtless, ignorant and harmful.

Thank you to Jill Oliveira of the BCA and clinical care supervisor, Barbara Kern-Pieh with HCMC's Sexual Assault Resource Service for their time. If you wish to contact Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, her information may be found here.

The Deen Defenders are wrong

Image from Google

Paula Deen's in big, big trouble. Seems she and her brother Bubba are being sued by a former general manager for all sorts of terrible things. You've got Bubba and Paula frequently making racist statements, Bubba viewing porn on public computers at work, Bubba grabbing and shaking staff members and Bubba sexually harassing female employees. And Ms. Paula Deen knew about most of Bubba's behavior and never did a thing about it.

Crawling out of the woodwork over the past few days have been thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of Deen Defenders. These are folks who are willing to say anything to explain away Paula Deen's behavior. Like:

*She's Southern, what do you expect?

*She didn't say it on the air, so what's the big deal?

*Everybody uses the word nigger, who cares? It's just a word.

*I'll never watch Food Network again until they bring back Paul Deen!

*Yes she's a racist, so what? God, let it go.

The first and last comments are a mashup of statements made by friends of mine who just don't "get it." They haven't read the court documents, they haven't really been paying attention and they think we're making too big a deal of this whole gosh darn thing.

The academic dean of my culinary school had numerous affairs with female students. The advanced ala carte instructor sexually and verbally harassed students. And everyone knew. From the admissions staff to the front office staff to the executives-everyone knew that one chef instructor was banging students while the other was threatening them with violence or making extremely offensive comments. But no one cared. The dean was (and still is) a brilliant chef with charisma coming out of his pores, and that's what counts.

I've been groped, screamed at, threatened and physically attacked, all while working in the hospitality industry. I've heard line cooks, dishwashers and bus people called the most horrific racial epithets. I had a fellow desk clerk in Oregon, my first hotel job out of school, tell me he wanted to kill my then husband so he and I could be together. When I reported him, the husband and wife management team gently reprimanded him and put us back behind the desk together. He eventually got me fired by claiming I sexually harassed him. True story.

So, for all of you Deen Defenders and Paula Pushovers, ask yourselves one question. What if Lisa Jackson was your wife or sister or daughter? What if she was someone you cared about, loved and wanted to be safe? Would you still be defending Paula Deen and her brother? What if Hollis Johnson was your best friend, and you watched in horror as Ms. Deen told him to get away from a dark wall because people couldn't see him?

Keep right on defending her, keep right on telling people like me who won't back down or ignore this event that we're blowing things out of proportion or making too big a deal out of it. Then tell all that to Lisa Jackson, who after 5 years working for Paul Deen and her brother, left her high-paying general manager position and was forced to move because she couldn't find another job. Tell it to the dishwashers who've been called "wetbacks." Tell it to Michael McNeely. Oh, and tell it to these kids.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Rep. Steve King, animal lover

Image from The Grio

Congressman Steve King from Iowa has a strange view of animals. Rep. King hates them. He must, given all the legislation he has championed to insure they come to more harm, and the legislation he has fought and ridiculed that would help animals live better, healthier lives. 

In 2012, Rep. King sponsored an amendment to the Farm Bill that would have undermined animal safety laws in many states. You see, Steve King likes gestational crates for sows and similar confinement for veal calves. He's a huge fan of tail docking and feeding arsenic to chickens. 

Steve King also loves dogfighting. He loves it so much he fought a law that would have made it illegal to take a child to a dogfight. Because what could be more fun on a Friday night than bringing your 4-year old to an old barn to watch dogs kills each other. Heck, maybe King would bring that kid's puppy to use as the bait dog. 

This is a quote from Rep. Steve King about a portion of his amendment that related directly to what I guess is his favorite "sport." 

"When the legislation that passed in the farm bill that says that it’s a federal crime to watch animals fight or to induce someone else to watch an animal fight but it’s not a federal crime to induce somebody to watch people fighting, there’s something wrong with the priorities of people that think like that."

And now, Steve King, animal hater is all bent out of shape about a California law that requires hens to live in 200-square inch crates and requires the same humane treatment be used by any company that sells eggs in California. These crates would give the hens the ability to STAND UP and TURN AROUND. Oh the horror.
Given Rep. King's adoration of gestational and confinement crates, it actually makes sense that he would take offense at any animal being allowed to move while on a farm. What's interesting is what he did about this California law, due to go into effect in 2015. He invoked the Commerce Clause

According to Rep. King, "If California wants to regulate eggs that come into the state, fine. But don’t be telling the states that are producing a product that’s already approved by the USDA or the FDA how to produce that product.”

Err, what? That's the same thing! What California is doing (bless their hearts) is telling companies and states that unless their hens can stand up, they won't be able to sell eggs in California. Now remember, King is a Tea Partier and loves, LOVES states' rights, unless of course those states' rights mean Farmer Bob can't torture his hens, then eff that, Commerce Clause, we're amending the Farm Bill. King claims this law violates the commerce clause of the Constitution, which gives the federal government jurisdiction over interstate commerce issues. Hens in crates large enough to spread their wings? BAD. More federal government to keep hens from being able to spread their wings? GOOD. 

Excuse me, but this is all a bit befuddling. If California, a state, wants to dictate the conditions by which a company must abide in order to do business in the state, what's wrong with that? Don't misunderstand-I understand the commerce clause, I understand what it does and what it's used for. However, the Tea Party adores states' rights, which is where I get a wee bit confused. Oh wait. The Tea Party only adores states' rights when it comes to firing gay people, discriminating against the brown-skinned folks and restricting voting. My apologies; I forget the blatant hypocrisy. 

Once again, Rep. Steve King, poster child for Kentucky Fried Chicken, Michael Vick and serial murderers everywhere, proves that your state has the right to govern itself unless that governing somehow helps someone or something he doesn't like. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I was Paris Jackson

Image of Paris Jackson from Twitter

Numerous media outlets are reporting that Michael Jackson's 15-year old daughter Paris is in the hospital after a suicide attempt. The Jackson family has issued a statement thanking people for their thoughts and concern and assuring fans that Paris is physically okay.

I saw a few photos of Paris's left arm this afternoon. The underside is covered with scars. Paris is a cutter, which makes sense given what she's gone through over the past few years: her father's death, the publicity, the trial of Michael Jackson's physician coupled with the emotional stress of simply being Paris Jackson. But, as usual, there are some who don't or won't understand.

When I was 16, my life looked fantastic from the outside. We lived in a nice house in Minneapolis, my dad made good money, I attended private school. Without knowing me, it would have been easy to dismiss my first suicide attempt as something other than what it was. No, I was not a celebrity, but the life people saw didn't mesh with the person I was on the inside.

My guess is that if the people whose comments I have been reading online had witnessed my 16th birthday, their responses would have been similar to their responses after learning about Paris Jackson. What a brat, just looking for attention, send her to Haiti so she can see real suffering. Armchair psychologists without any understanding whatsoever of the darkness and turmoil within.

It's mind boggling to see such a lack of empathy. This is a 15-year old girl who seems to be in a great deal of pain. Paris Jackson attempted suicide allegedly after being told she could not attend a concert. And this appears to be the justification for an onslaught of hatred against a teenager; the possibility that the concert was simply the end of a long struggle doesn't seem to occur to these narrow minded commentators.

Well, try this. My last suicide attempt, 20-something years ago, occurred after my cat ran out the door of my efficiency apartment and got stuck in a palm tree. Was that event the reason I took all my Pamelor, legally died and had a pet neurologist? No. It was simply the last straw. Something trivial pushed me over the edge, and I have a suspicion that is exactly what happened to Paris Jackson.

If you're the sort of person who wrote a cruel and selfish comment under one of the articles about Paris Jackson, ask yourself why. Why, when faced with a story about a girl who self-harms and tried to end her own life, is your first response to demean her, make fun of and belittle her?

Would that have been your first response to my 16-year old self?