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The Ramblings of a Grumpy Grandpa September 1, 2011

Posted by Bill in Family Values, humor, Parenting, Personal, Uncategorized.
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This country is in serious trouble because there is a problem that, as far as I can tell, is NOT being addressed.   Of course, given our current situation in Washington D. C.  (the septic tank overfloweth) it’s a problem that is going to have to be solved by you and me – the people both common (you) and uncommon (me). 

And the problem is:

Mail Carriers.

Fed Ex, UPS, and USPS – all of them.  Each and every one. 

 Today I was babysitting my grandson while my daughter went to work.  Brent  (my grandson, although I do occasionally allow my wife to claim partial ownership) woke up too early and as a result was in a very grouchy, fussy, unhappy mood.  And he likes to share. 

Finally though I had him down for his first nap (he is 9 months old in case you’re wondering).  Just 5 minutes after getting him down my daughter comes home from her work.  Fortunately he slept through her coming home. 

My daughter had a client to see in three hours and since she was tired from a lack of sleep (she’s a partying type of gal and although she claims it’s the result of developing lesson planes and Brent’s midnight feedings and such she don’t fool me none).

Well since Brent was asleep in his crib in his room and my daughter was asleep in her bed in her bedroom and since I was also a bit tuckered out from the constant studying needed to maintain my A average in college I decided to lay down on the couch and get a bit of a nap myself. 

For 23 minutes that plan worked like a charm.  And then the doorbell rang.

Actually, it didn’t just ring.  It gonged.  My daughter and her husband have  the loudest doorbell I have ever been woke up by.  I will say though that it did get results.

I jumped off the couch before my eyes were even open.  My daughter comes charging out of the bedroom.  And their dog, Amelia, started barking up a storm, even louder than their doorbell and a whole lot more insistent. 

All three of us rush the door to keep whoever had rung the doorbell from ringing the dag-nabbed thing again.  And despite being atheists we were all praying that the noise had not woken Brent up.  Well, two of us were.  I think Amelia didn’t care – she was just having a good old doggy time having an excuse to bark. 

Anyway, my daughter reached the door second (Amelia was first).  She pushes Amelia aside and flings open the door to accost, browbeat, kick, hit, spit on, slap, yell at and in general make whoever was on the other side of the door miserable and forever regretful for daring to ring  her doorbell.  Opening the door she (and myself) discovered that the craven coward had fled and that no one was there. 

However there was a package.

Now, it don’t really matter which carrier delivered it cause they all do the same thing.  Put it on the porch, ring the doorbell, and then high tail it out of there. 

Let me just ask this one itty bitty question – WHY????!!!!!

I mean, if you’re not going to wait for the person to get to the door and hand it off to them then WHY ring the bell?  Do you ring the bell when you put mail in our mailbox?   Heck No!

Just leave the blasted package on the porch.  We’ll see it at some point when going in and out and without all the grief and suffering caused by ringing the doorbell and running.  I can’t begin to count the times when I have run out the bathroom pulling up my pants and trying to get the belt buckled and zipper done before I reach the door(that’s hard to do without falling down).   Only to find a package instead of a person.   Then I have to go back to the bathroom and start up where I left off.  At my age that can be kinda hard to do sometimes. 

I swear that the head of each of these three outfits must have been one of those annoying kids who think it funny to go up to a house, ring the doorbell, and then run away.  It wouldn’t surprise me at all to find out that they have all gotten together and set a date when every house in the United States of America – or heck, the world for all I know – receive a package on the same day so that all of their mail carriers can drop it off on the porches of hundreds of millions of homes, ring the doorbell, and run away.  They must be rolling around laughing inside their penthouse office suites, thinking about this doggummed, obnoxious, juvenile prank being done on a world wide scale – their fantasies writ large. 

Anyway, my daughter brought the package in.  As she did there came from the back of the house the sound we both dreaded most – Brent’s wailing.  Actually I dreaded it more than my daughter cause since I was the babysitter I was the one who got to stay up with him while she went to finish off her nap. 

Crabby and grouchy Brent from the morning was gone now.  Now I was dealing with the Very Grouchy, Upset, I Don’t Like Anything Not Even Grandpa Brent. 

Not fun.

So – since our politicians for sure aren’t going to deal with this issue I’m taking matters into my own hands.  I’m creating a sign to put over the doorbell which reads:



Quietly put the package on the porch, back up softly and quietly and then just plain go AWAY!

Just in case that don’t work I’m learning how to shoot a gun.  Once I get that down I’ll get me one.  And a silencer.

Dagburned mail carriers.

Postscript – Just now noticed that although I named my grandson and the dog I didn’t name my daughter.  Well, actually I did name my daughter and now that I think about it my daughter and her husband named Brent and Amelia.  What I meant though is that in this blog I provided the names of the dog and grandson but not my daughter.  But that’s OK, cause as long as you get the big stuff right the little, unimportant details can slide right on by.   Right Fritha?


The Times Have Changed – A Belated Thanks May 30, 2011

Posted by Bill in atheism, Family Values, Personal, Uncategorized.
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I am rather behind the times in writing this.  But then that is hardly surprising.  Normal day to day living can put a person behind on so many things – from the mundane such as yard work and learning Spanish to the more important such as telling loved ones that they are loved. 

This falling behind the times is even more pronounced when the times themselves are changing drastically.  Even if those changes are good and wonderful as well as scary and concerning. 

This is my attempt to catch up on one of the more important items that I am behind on – about six months behind in fact. 

I was updating my profile today to reflect some changes that occurred over seven months ago.  A mundane update.  However in starting this I realized that I really needed to do something more.   This change demanded something be done more important than just updating my profile.   

This is the something more.

In my blog profile I mentioned working as Operations Manager at a production facility.  I also made it clear that while it brought in some good money it was not one of my passions.   It was, however, OK and I didn’t hate it.  I did well, receiving good evaluations, promotions, nice raises, and had the respect of my people and peers. 

Things changed though a few years ago when our then Plant Manager left to take a new position with another company.  I was made interim Plant Manager and asked if I wanted to be among those considered for the position.  Given my lack of passion for it, the fact that I already was working more hours than I really cared for, and the fact that I did not wish to travel as much as the position would require – I declined and thanked them for seriously considering me.

After about four months of being interim Plant Manager they hired someone to take the position permanently.  Two months later I was beginning to regret my decision not to go for it.  As were many at the plant. 

I will not go into the details here other than to say that the man had good and innovative ideas, was very knowledgeable about the budgetary details and processes so important for Plant Managers, had extensive experience in setting up data bases that were useful in tracking the Plant’s process.  However his people skills and management style were abysmal.  He made the workplace very difficult to work for and, for me, turned what was a tolerable situation into one that was a nightmare.

He tended to accuse first and if you successfully defended yourself there was no apology.  He came across as abrasive, so much so that I had two or my people within the space of a month burst into tears under his questioning – and he wasn’t even in full chew out mode.  He either did not know or did not care to compliment people on what was done right, only chew on them.   He also was a poor communicator on his expectations and although he made the right noises about being willing to help if asked, his help was not really helpful.   

However, despite these flaws, he did make sure that the Plant was profitable and turned out a quality product.  As long as he did that no one at our corporate office was going to do anything about the manner in which he accomplished this. 

Given our financial situation at the time I did not feel that I could just quit without having another job with comparable pay in the hand.  And it needed to be in the area since Dindy had a nice job making the same amount of money I was.   I was looking but not having much luck in finding anything. 

So often the word “change” is a scary word.  Something to be avoided if at all possible.  Many, if not most, people usually use the word change in reference to bad things happening – such as my new Plant Manager.  However something happened then that proved that change can also be a good thing.

My wife changed jobs. 

Dindy had been looking for a few years for a different position in her chosen career.  Given what we were both making she could afford to be patient and she did like both her work and her employer.  Her patient looking paid off.  She found her dream job. 

It was in her career field, it was a promotion, the work atmosphere was great, the job more challenging and responsible – in short it was the best job she could imagine.  And what was even better, in terms of my situation, she was going to get a substantial raise.  One that would allow us to again start taking vacations to spots further away than the Texas coast or the Oklahoma parks.  One that would allow us to make some needed repairs on the house and even to improve it.  One that would allow us to build up our very low savings account.  One that would allow us to make investments and really start saving and preparing for a possible early retirement. 

Substantial enough where I no longer had to worry about getting a position that matched my current salary.   That was wonderful enough for me in and of itself. 

However the changes were not finished yet. 

In the middle of October 2010 I had taken two days off for a four day weekend.  I did so because I was about to lose a key person for maternity leave and I would have to help fill in and do a substantial amount of her work since we had no substitute who could do all of her functions.  Given that I wanted a few days off before starting on 70 hour weeks. 

I received a call from my work on my first day off, Thursday.  They told me that I needed to come in Friday because my worker was going to be starting maternity leave then instead of the scheduled Monday.  I knew that this might happen, so while disappointed was not surprised.  What did surprise me was the fact that my Plant Manager told me this came about because of my bad management decisions and then also questioned my ethics, implying that I had been hiding some information.   I was not given specifics on the phone.

After hanging up I spent a few moments ranting and raving to myself.   And cussing my Plant Manager.  After calming down a bit I decided that I needed to go talk to him and find out what management “mistakes” I had made and what information had I hidden.  First though I talked to Dindy.  Well, actually I ranted for a bit more.

I had made mistakes before – who hasn’t.  Although in this particular case I could not see that I did make any mistakes.  But I had never – never – never – had my integrity questioned by any Plant Manager (and I had been under three others before the current one) nor at any of my other jobs.  

After I had started to calm down enough where I felt I could go talk calmly with my Plant Manager Dindy then surprised me.  She told me to quit. 

She told me to quit even though I had no job lined up or even one on the horizon.

She told me to quit even though we had not had a good vacation in years.

She told me to quit even though we had not built up our savings or even started on our investments for retirement.

She told me to quit even though we had not done any of the repairs or improvements on the house. 

I was dumbfounded.  Delighted.  And scared.  We talked for quite a while about this.  She told me that she wanted me to enjoy myself again.   She told me that I had been difficult to live with – moody, short tempered, and not laughing as much as I used to – ever since this new Plant Manager had come on board.  She told me she was greatly concerned about my health and happiness.  She told me that my happiness and our happiness together mattered more than the money. 

She told me that she wanted me to look and pick a new career that I would enjoy and not worry about the money. 

After a great deal of assurances from her that she meant this I hung up and went to talk with my Plant Manager.  I did not go intending to quit.  I did go though to find out what he thought I had done wrong and why he was questioning my integrity.  And if I did not agree with the answers, then I would quit.  If we could work it out, then I would stay.

Needless to say I did not agree with his answers.  And so, when he told me I had to make a decision in regards to continuing to carry on the conversation we were having and making things more difficult for me or to just shut up and just deal with it I made a decision that he did not expect.  I quit my job of 15 years on the spot. 

Now I have decided, for various reasons, to take up a new career in medical technology – specifically radiology.  Although it will pay about half of what I used to earn once I attain my degree (in a couple of years) it will be enough.  And it will provide me much more satisfying career than the one I had.    

I have completed my first semester at TCC (all A’s – hoozah!) and as I write this am getting ready to start my first summer semester. 

Dindy’s salary is large enough to keep us going, along with whatever I bring in from a part time job.  Our house still needs repair.  I have a car with about 120,000 miles on it.  We will not be taking any long, exotic vacations.  We will not be retiring early (although we will not have to work beyond attaining our social security either). 

I am though much more relaxed and happier now.  Dindy and my daughters find me to be more fun to be with than I was before.  My life is not centered around my work and how to deal with the problems therein – problems made worse by having the most difficult boss I have ever had in 40 years of working. 

Both Dindy and I account this trade off a total win for ourselves. 

It is interesting that we are told that we live in a materialistic society.  To a great extent that is true.  Further, one of the charges that is often leveled against atheists by believers is that we are materialists and value only the material things of the world. 

This is further evidence, if more is needed, that many theists really do not understand atheism at all.  Humans are humans whether atheist, theist, or pantheist.  We share the same needs and desires, many of the most important of which – personal connections and satisfaction – go far beyond just the material.

Dindy’s support for me is just one example of this truth.  And one that I am and will be forever grateful for.

Thank you Beautiful. 


The Choices We Make in High School April 12, 2010

Posted by Bill in Current Events, Family Values, Gay Lesbian Issues, Schools, Uncategorized.
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There has been a great deal of wholly justified outrage at the “separate but equal” prom the parents and students of Itawamba Agricultural High School in Itawamba, Mississippi, held to avoid having to attend the prom with lesbian teenager Constance McMillen. Facebook pages and websites have sprung up to voice support for Constance and to castigate the citizens, students, administration, teachers and schoolboard of Itawamba. When some mean spirited students posted pictures of the private prom on a Facebook page called “Constance, Quit Yer Cryin’ “, McMillen’s supporters overtook the page, flooding it with messages of support for Constance and setting up their own page to support her.

To recap, when  Constance McMillen sought to attend her senior prom, wearing a tux and accompanied by her girlfriend, the high school  canceled the prom.  The judge who issued a preliminary ruling that McMillen’s rights had been violated failed to require the school to reinstate the prom because he was told that parents were already planning to hold a private prom. What the parents neglected to tell the judge, however, was that they actually were planning two proms– one for Constance and once for everybody else in the senior class– with the exception of some students with learning disabilities who evidently did not meet the standards to attend the secret prom.

The rhetoric has reached such a high pitch that Constance purportedly issued a message asking people to stop emailing students from the high school and begging everybody just to chill. She added that she had a lot of friends at the high school who supported her and who did not deserve the hatred being showered upon them. My first thought upon hearing this was that Constance is showing a whole lot more maturity and sensitivity than most of the people involved in this sorry saga. My second thought was to wonder about the choice her friends made, because at some point they CHOSE to exclude someone who was supposedly their friend from one of the most important events in a high schooler’s life. They CHOSE not to go to the prom to which Constance was invited. They CHOSE to go to the secret prom.

What thought processes were going through their minds, I wonder? Everyone wants their prom to be very, very special. The students who were faced with the decision of which prom to attend probably had a lot of things going through their minds– whether to go to a prom with almost all the other members of their class or to go to one attended by only 7 people? Whether to face the heckling and hatred of their other classmates if they went to the fake prom or whether to follow the crowd and deliberately hurt Constance and the learning disabled students who attended the fake prom?

Knowing how strong peer pressure is, I don’t suppose I can get too angry at Constance’s friends who went to the secret prom rather than standing by their friend against such blatant persecution. Constance doesn’t have a choice about being who she is, however, but the students with whom she goes to high school had a choice about which prom to attend. I can’t help but wonder, twenty years from now when Constance’s friends are looking at their high school prom pictures, will they wish they had made a different choice?

Let’s Face It: Abortion Is a Hard Sell February 20, 2010

Posted by Bill in abortion, Family Values, health, Religious Right, Right wing, Television.
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Let me start this blog with a disclaimer: I strongly support the right of all women to have access to safe and legal abortion. I consider myself to be a feminist, and I abhor almost everything Focus on the Family stands for. However,  my personal opinion is the Women’s Media Center, the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority and other groups did more harm than good with their protest against a Super Bowl ad featuring college football star Tim Tebow and his mother. Without apparently having viewed the ad in advance, Jemhu Greene, president of the Women’s Media Center, said:

“An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year–an event designed to bring Americans together.”

The protest letter from the Women’s Media Center suggested that CBS should have turned down the ad because of the sponsor, Focus on the Family:

“By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will damage its reputation, alienate viewers, and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers.”

NOW Action Vice President Erin Matson, in a blog on their website shrilled:

“Make no mistake about this ad: it’s offensive to women. Yes, it features Heisman trophy winner Tim Tebow and his mother, who had been advised to have an abortion after a serious illness. Standing alone, it sends the message that all women who give birth are heroes; it sends a message that abortion is always a mistake; and it is insulting to the one in three women in this country who have abortions.”

Well I saw the ad, and I sure didn’t see any of those things. The truth is, if I hadn’t been aware of the furor ahead of time, I wouldn’t have realized it was an anti-abortion ad. The word abortion is never mentioned. Pam Tebow talks about Tim being her miracle baby and says his birth was difficult. She says that she almost lost him several times and added, “With all our family’s been through, we have to be tough.” Tim then comes on and tackles her and she scolds him. “Timmy, I’m trying to tell our story here.” A message comes on the screen telling people to go to the Focus on the Family website for more about the Tim Tebow story, and  Tim asks, “You still worry about me, Mom?” She replies, “Well yeah. You’re not nearly as tough as I am.” The interplay between Tim and his mother is rather sweet. My guess is that the dreaded, so-called anti-abortion message skipped over the heads of most people watching unless they already knew about it.

By protesting so heavily against the ad, the women’s groups only came across as shrill and as seeming to be against the very things they claim to support: freedom of speech and freedom of choice. The posts on Now’s Blog for Equality in which they screeched against the ad pretty much bear this out. One comment said:

“This woman chose life. Why would you be against that? She had the right to make her own personal choice, a choice which opposed the advice of doctors. Isn’t that a success story, that a woman had the right to choose? By your outcry, you send the message that abortion is the only choice you support. Please, don’t do this, it hurts the cause.”

A big problem with the pro-choice movement is that abortion is a hard sell. The anti-abortion groups can show inspirational messages such as the Tim Tebow spot; they can show cute babies and children frolicking, they can plaster billboards with a chubby cheeked toddler saying, “My mother chose life,” and there’s not a real good way to argue against that. The pro-choice people can’t exactly show a picture of a child in a wheelchair with the counter message of, “my mother didn’t have the choice to abort me,” now can they?

Let’s face it folks. Abortion is NOT a good thing. We want less of them. Not more. However the message that came through was that these groups only support abortion and that they are against choice. What the pro-choice groups really need to get across is that NOBODY likes abortion. Presumably NOW doesn’t like it. Ditto the Feminist Majority.  They could have used this ad as a stepping point to show what they do support. They could have said something like,

“Pam Tebow had a choice. We support that. We also support universal access to quality medical care such as what Pam Tebow evidently had. We support easy access to birth control and comprehensive sex education. We support programs that give girls and young women the skills they need not to be victims, not to give in to pressure from their boyfriends to have sex and how to protect themselves against rape and incest. We support programs that give all women access to prenatal care and programs that fight against alcohol abuse and drug addiction in women of child-bearing age as these are things that can affect the health of unborn children. We support programs that teach boys about responsibility so they can learn how to be fathers and not just sperm donors, and we support programs that ensure that no child has to go to bed with an empty stomach.

“We support programs that will move us forward to a day when no woman needs to choose abortion. But we are not there yet and until that day comes, we support safe and legal abortion. We support women. We support families. We support choice.”

The women’s groups had a great opportunity with the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad, and they blew it. Rather than attracting anyone to their cause, they alienated a whole bunch of people and ensured that others who probably wouldn’t have even noticed the ad amidst all the other ads on Super Bowl Sunday paid a great deal of attention to it. They enabled Focus on the Family to take the high road, and that is the last place that this  group deserves to be.

Keep Stupak’s Dirty Politican Hands Out of My Uterus December 2, 2009

Posted by Bill in abortion, Family Values, health, health care reform, Politics, Religious Right, Right wing.
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There are people in this country for whom there is only one issue that matters- abortion. To these people, everything is seen in light of abortion and it colors their view of every other thing that happens. Now these groups are threatening to derail Health Care Reform by using the proposed Stupak Amendment to accomplish what they have been unable to do through legislation and the courts, restrict the access of women in this country to safe, legal abortions.

The Stupak Amendment will actually take away coverage that millions of women already have. Not only does it forbid any coverage for abortion in the public option, it prohibits anyone receiving a federal subsidy from purchasing a health insurance plan that includes abortion. Now you may think that this only affects those who receive the federal subsidy, however the Stupak Amendment  also prohibits private health insurance plans from offering through the exchange a plan that includes abortion coverage to both subsidized and unsubsidized individuals. About 87% of private insurance plans now include abortion coverage. If they plan to participate in the Health Care Exchange proposed by the bill, they will have to drop that coverage.

Stupak supporters whine that they don’t want their tax money to go to support abortions. Folks, my tax money goes every day to support things I don’t approve of. For years my tax money has gone to fighting a completely unjustified war in Iraq. My tax money went to the government bail outs. It currently is going to support dozens of faith-based organizations. When we complete our income taxes every year the IRS doesn’t include a checklist so we can go down the list and pick the uses to which our tax dollars can be put. As citizens of the US, our tax money goes to support whatever Congress wants to spend it on. The anti-abortion wing nuts cannot accept that the majority of people in this country do not agree with them on the abortion issue, so like children who pack up their little toys and go home when they don’t get their way, they are trying to undercut health care reform by threatening to pack up their votes and go home if they don’t get their way about abortion.

It’s a note of irony that one of the reasons Americans give for opposing health care legislation is they don’t want the government to have control over their medical care. Yet, by allowing the Stupak amendment to pass, they will be giving control of their medical care over to United States Conference of Catholic Bishops who care more about fetuses than they do about living, breathing human beings. They don’t want the government making decisions about their medical care, but they are willing to let Bart Stupak make those decisions.

Let Obama and Congress know that you do not want health care reform to come at the cost of the rights you already have. Oppose the Stupak Amendment.

Those Darned Gays Ruined My Marriage November 23, 2009

Posted by Bill in Current Events, Family Values, Gay marriage, Politics.
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Thanks to homosexuals, I am no longer married to my husband of nearly thirty years. Nor is my daughter actually married to her husband of two years. In fact, she never was married, and Bill and I haven’t been married since 2005.

It all started with those blasted homosexuals who had the audacity to demand the same rights as everyone else in the US– to get married to a single partner of their choice in a mutual relationship in which both parties are of legal marriageable age. Why homosexuals want this right is simply beyond me– being allowed to go visit some sick person on their deathbed isn’t a piece of cake, after all, and anyone who has ever been without health insurance in this country KNOWS that we do a fantastic job of providing health care for those without it.

But for some silly reason homosexuals want to have the same rights as married people so they’ve been demanding the right to get married and have actually been successful in some hotbeds of liberalism such as Iowa and Vermont. Thank the god I don’t believe in that I live in the great state of Texas that doesn’t allow such tomfoolery.

In fact, Texans saw this push for gay marriage for what it was– an attempt to sneak the gay agenda in the back door and to force EVERYONE to marry someone with the same plumbing between the legs. Now Texans KNOW what is right, and one of the things we know is that if perverts are allowed to marry each other, then it’s going to ruin the marriages of all right thinking people.

So in 2005, Texans passes an amendment to make darned sure that any gays wouldn’t go doing some end runs to try to get their sicko practices through the back door so to speak. We banned gay marriage and said that not only would we not do it in Texas, but we wouldn’t recognize it if some queers got married in another state and then tried to come here and say they were married. Uh-uh, no sir. We don’t care what those liberals in Iowa do, they ain’t gonna do it here in Texas.

Except now Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for attorney general says that Texas went a little overboard and in our zeal to ban gay marriage, Texans managed to ban all marriages in the state.  The problem, Radnofsky says, is this tiny little clause in Subsection B of the amendment which states, “This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”


Texas cannot recognize any legal status identical to or similar to marriage? Um. I’m not a lawyer, nor do I even play one on TV, but I can see some fancy schmancy attorney getting up before a judge and saying, “Judge, if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck and since Texas says we can’t have anything that looks, talks or acts like a duck in this state, we can’t have ducks here.”

So there you have it folks. The red necks were right after all– if we start allowing gays to get married it WILL ruin the institution of marriage. They certainly ruined mine.

Is Letterman a Hypocrite? November 22, 2009

Posted by Bill in Family Values, Television.
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The radio DJ on my morning drive to work was railing long and loud about David Letterman’s recent revelations about his affairs with staffers. According to the DJ, Letterman is a hypocrite for making fun of people like Clinton and Sanford when he was guilty of the same type of behavior. The DJ was so het up about this that I turned him off and went to my audio book, but it did make me think a bit about the question of whether or not Letterman was actually guilty of hypocrisy on the same level as those politicians and religious leaders who proclaim support for family values out of one side of their mouths while carrying on affairs with various other parts of their bodies.

Letterman is a comedian. He’s paid to make people laugh, and he frequently does so at the expense of people who are in the news. However, he is not an elected official. He does not attempt to gain constituents on the basis of his support for family values, nor is he responsible for passing legislation on the basis of what are perceived to be family values. It is highly unlikely that anybody is going to look to Letterman for advice on family values– seeing that he only recently married his girlfriend of more than twenty years. Has he ever preached fidelity? To my knowledge, he has not.

Granted, we can consider Letterman to be a sleazebag on the basis of his revelations. But a hypocrite? No. I still think that label is reserved for those who don’t practice what they preach.

The Differences And The Abortion Debate October 17, 2009

Posted by Bill in abortion, Current Events, Family Values, health.
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 The Pro Life movement likes to claim that there is no difference between a fetus and a baby. They are fond of saying that life begins at conception.

That is true.

They say that the life of a fetus is as fully human as a new born baby, a teen, a middle aged person, or an old man, that there is no difference between a fetus and any of the other cases.

That is not true.

There are two basic differences that the Pro Life people either overlook or ignore. The first is that the woman and her fetus cannot live independently of the mother. The fetus is a physical part of mother, something very different from a newborn baby. While there may be and should be emotional attachments between mother and baby there is no longer the physical attachment. And that is a significant difference.

A sister, aunt, or stranger can take just as good if not better care of the baby. However they cannot do the same for a fetus. No matter how much outside help a pregnant woman may receive she is the one by far bearing the greatest impact in regards to health, both physical and emotional(as I can readily attest from the personal experience trying to support Dindy during her two pregnancies). That is why birth is such a clear demarcation point. The baby can be reared by someone else.

A mother who is unable to care for her baby – for health reasons, financial, emotional, or any other reason can give the baby up for adoption and have someone else take care of it. The fetus cannot be given up in such a manner, which means that any health risks, financial risks or any other issue must be born by the women until the fetus develops enough.

Which brings us to the second difference. Personhood. Is an eight seek old fetus a person in the same way that a baby is? Does it have conscious awareness of itself, of its environment? No it does not.

A fetus has the potential to grow develop into a human. But every child has the potential to become the President, but does that mean we treat each like the President? To equate a potential and elevate it over an actual person, the mother, is wrong.   I believe that this is why the great majority of people when faced with a choice between the life of the mother or the life of the fetus choose the mother.

However I do believe that we should recognize that as the fetus grows and develops it is starting to develop to that point of independent existence. Especially as it starts to develop an awareness of its surroundings and develop an ability to feel pain. That is why I support a sliding scale version of abortion rights.

During the first trimester it is totally at the discretion of the women. She should be able to have an abortion no questions asked. The second trimester would have more restrictions – emotional and physical well being – and the final trimester an abortion would be performed only if necessary to save the life of the mother. I am open to the exact cutoffs but strongly support this concept.

As for rights, they apply to individuals. Can a fetus be defined as a full individual given that it is totally a part of the woman’s body? Notice I say part of a woman’s body, not dependent on. That makes this issue different than that of the elderly or handicapped. Further the idea of a sliding scale (I seem to be stuck on that phrase for some reason) of rights is not new. Do 2 year olds have the same rights that an adult do? If so, then forget parenting because it would be impossible.

While I have sympathy for the Pro Life position they are greatly oversimplifying the reality. They, and we on the Pro-choice side, would be greatly better off promoting policies and practices that reduce unwanted pregnancies – mainly birth control.

Hypocrisy Thy Name is Family Values September 15, 2009

Posted by Bill in Family Values, Politics.
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It appears that those who opposed the gay marriage initiative in California were right. Gay marriage IS harmful to the institute of marriage. How else to explain the downfall of California Assemblyman Mike Duvall, who not only led the fight against gay marriage in California but repeatedly earned a 100% score from the Capitol Research Institute for his votes on family values issues?

Duvall resigned from office after he was caught bragging about his sexual conquests near a live mike. Duvall now claims he didn’t actually engage in any inappropriate sexual behavior but was merely telling stories. Yeah. Right.

Now obviously Duvall would never have engaged in such behavior if it weren’t for the legalization of gay marriage in California. After all, he has been a champion of family values for many years, and it’s simply too much to believe to think that his behavior is yet one more in a long line of examples of politicians whose personal behavior has fallen short of their political rhetoric (Mark Sanford, Larry Craig, John Ensign).

Am I a bad person for getting more than a giggle out of seeing yet another darling of the Family Values Movement forced to resign because of inappropriate sexual activity? I seldom trust politicians anyway, figuring that they generally will say whatever they think will get them re-elected. But somehow, it is extra sweet when someone who makes a career out of promoting policies that are supposed to be good for the family, ends up being plastered across the front page of the paper for hypocrisy.

It never seems to do any good, however, as those who think that family values means poking their nose into the private business of others continually ignore the frailties of their leaders. Look at the parade of politicians who have espoused the family values line, only to fall when it is found that their own values involve things like picking up gay men in restrooms or bragging about spanking much younger women. Actions speak louder than words, and as long as the darlings of the family values movement continue to show that they are more concerned about re-election than about the actual values to which they pay lip service, I am going to get a good giggle out of them.