Thursday, July 24, 2014


I guess I shouldn't call this "A Teacher's" Reflection any more, since I retired from teaching last March. I even thought about changing the blog name, but I decided not to do that. I'm a former teacher, and nothing much has really changed about my life except that I now have a whole lot of free time.

I'm still pretty much disgusted by the Republicans, who seem to be going out of their way to be disgusting, racist, or just downright stupid these days. (My apologies to the republicans out there who don't subscribe to the new Republican Party of Mean Crazy.)  Let's bash Obama for not deporting all those children right away. (Because he can't legally do so, thanks to Bush's law.)  Let's meet up on the grassy knoll where Kennedy was shot, and rant about our black president while carrying rifles. Let's have Republican judges decide that a typo invalidates major portions of ACA (which even the Supreme Court has said is not a valid point for a ruling, and has already, surprisingly, said ACA is constitutional).  There is so much coming out almost daily that shows just how awful the Republican Party is behaving. It's an embarrassment of riches for comedians and political bloggers.

And not to short the Democrats, there's the news just out that Andrew Cuomo of NY has a decidedly odd view of "independent", as in an independent commission to investigate corruption in the state government. When establishing this commission, Cuomo directly stated that no office or office holder was off limits, and that the commission was to investigate any and all cases of suspect behavior. As it turns out, however, Cuomo has an odd conception of "not off-limit" as well, as the commission found out when it opened an investigation into a company that was involved in the Cuomo campaign. Then they found out that they truly weren't independent, and certain people and groups were definitely off limit. Shame on Andy. (Who never truly felt much like a Democrat to me, but that's what he calls himself.)

Oh, and not to forget one of the most 'love to hate' members of Congress, good ole John A. Boehner,  is apparently seriously trying to sue the President, and this because (I really love this part) Obama used an executive order to do exactly what the House Repubs had been badgering him to do all along. I don't get that. Grounds to sue are that he did what you wanted? Who knew?

Another "Are you kidding?!' moment has occurred, as well. Michele Bachmann (sp) has intimated that she "might run for President" again. I couldn't stop laughing. Like she did so well the last time? And she hasn't proven, almost daily since then, that she has zero capabilities to actually be President?  She and Palin are woefully two great examples of why women shouldn't be President (if you're looking for that sort of thing.) To me, they are just two examples of women who have no inner strength, no inner peace, no inner morality. They both will say and do anything to gain the spotlight. As a woman, that's just sad to me. 

I am not really a Hillary fan. I won't mind her running for president, because she doesn't make a bad example of women. I don't know of anyone else, however, that will run for that office that I like any better. Elizabeth Warren, I do like, but I don't want her to run for President. Facing Hillary, she can't win, which would diminish her position in the Senate. And we need her in the Senate. So, Hillary is the default candidate for me. I can already be quite certain that whoever the Republican candidate is, I won't like him, and won't want to see this country further destroyed by the Republican Party.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hobby Lobby doesn't have religious beiiefs

So, Hobby Lobby claims its religious beliefs are being violated by the requirement to cover all forms of female birth control, and sues to establish that right. But, in direct contradiction of their stated "religious beliefs" Hobby Lobby includes the same pharmaceutical companies that make the birth control methods they oppose, in the 401K it offers to its employees, and contributes to as well. And, of course, its biggest trading partner is China, which has state-sponsored, mandatory abortions. And child labor. And human rights violations all over the place. So, if the owners of Hobby Lobby truly have deeply respected religious beliefs on this topic, when are they going to stop trading with China? And when are they going to insist that the 401K fund be purged of all pharm. companies? Because, if they don't do that, then their lawsuit wasn't about religion at all. It was just another slap at women's' freedom.

The only good news I've heard about this whole mess is that this decision just made a big hole in the "corporate veil", which was created to specifically separate the business of the corporation from the lives of the owners of said corporation. That veil has always meant that for most corporations, at least, if they go belly-up, no one could go after the personal finances of the owners. But, that was before the Supremes decided that corporations were people, not only just people, but people with personal religious beliefs. I hope people sue every corporation out there, and go after the owner's finances, since the SC has just made them one and the same.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Enough, Already!

I tell you, I am sick to death of fighting for a woman's right to decide on what to do with her own body. No one ever questions a man's right to make those kind of decisions. Never. But I'm 61, almost 62, and we have been having these same kinds of attacks on us for my entire life. And, truly, ENOUGH!

Our Supreme Court isn't content, it seems, to just declare corporations are people, but now it has to jump in and decide that companies can impose their own religious beliefs on their female employees, and deny them birth control coverage if they feel like it. (Why doesn't anyone ever object to, say, Viagra coverage?) So, the SC has now taken this country back to a past that has never existed anywhere but in the minds of the justices and their misguided fans.

No, the founding fathers did not all believe in a Christian religion. George Washington famously avoided the use of the word "God" almost entirely; Thomas Paine was a Deist, Jefferson thought religion was a terrible idea. The founding fathers, to a man, made sure that the kind of state-imposed piety they'd lived under was not possible in the US, or so they thought.

Worse, this whole Hobby Lobby wasn't really about religious liberty ~ it was about men taking control of womens' bodies, again. Religion was just a shoddy excuse for it.

I am a Catholic, just to clarify my position on this. I converted to Catholicism over 30 years ago. I didn't do it for their strictures on sex, marriage, or abortion. I joined the Church because it was the only place I've ever found that made me feel close to God.  I spent a year or so before committing, talking over the Church's dogma with a young deacon, who finally left to become a priest. (I hope it is as fulfilling for him as he hoped it would be.) We debated the death penalty versus just wars (If killing someone is wrong, even in a just war, then how can the Church support killing someone for a crime?), and birth control (If abortions are so wrong, why shouldn't the Church support birth control measures to make abortions less necessary) and so on.  At the end of my year with Deacon John, he left to become a priest, and I left to become a Catholic ~ with reservations. I am still a Catholic with reservations, and will be, probably for the rest of my life. I am not, however, evangelical, conservative, narrow-minded, and arrogant, which sadly seems to sum up the character of the most out-spoken "Christian" advocates.

I thought it was very telling that not a single female justice sided with Alito and the boys on this ruling. (It's just nice to be able to say "female justice", especially in the context of "more than one"). And then, today, those $#%& SC bullies made liars of themselves, and demanded that Obama couldn't even ask a quasi-religious group to fill out a form explaining why they objected, as the SC had just previously said could be done. So this group, finding it too hard to fill out a form, decided to sue for relief. That should have been thrown out of court, not elevated to the SC.

Oh, and in another brilliant(ly stupid) move, the SC also has decided that declaring buffer zones around the few abortion clinics still open is a violation of the protestors' free speech rights. I didn't realize the justices were so concerned with the rights of a rabid, hate-filled lunatic's right to make death threats to women trying to enter a clinic. To scream at them that they're going to hell, that they're killing a baby, that they are worthless. Wow. How could we possibly not want to let everyone do that, all the time? (Please notice, of course, that the buffer zone around the SC is several hundred feet in fact.)

Some group just sent me a petition to sign asking to impeach the SC Five. I signed it, but I guess I don't truly believe that will ever happen.  It should, because this Court has gone far beyond what it is legally allowed to do, but fat chance.

Possibly the only way to stop this seemingly inexorable march to insanity is to take back the House and keep the Senate this year. We have to elect people who believe in America as it is and has been, not in what some fantasist has declared the "real America". We need to elect men and women who have the decency, character, and desire to do good, not to do nothing, as our current crop seems so dedicated to doing. Or is that not doing? Whatever.

We need to get rid of the climate-deniers, the "my Christianity" or else idiots, the just plain ignorant, and, of course, the venal and the power-for-power's sake people. Not to mention that young men declaring they stand for family values, while having been arrested and convicted of breaking into police and county worker's cars, hot wiring them and masturbating while the sparks fly. Or the losing candidate who claims he couldn't have lost because the guy who won is dead, and it's either a doppelganger or robot that's really the guy who won.

That truly covers most of the Republicans, but it also includes a fair number of Democrats. Maybe it's time for a new party ~ the Progressive Party.