26 December 2007

The Right To Choose

I lay on the office room table as instructed, expecting an ultrasound and prenatal physical. Noticing a technician strapping my wrists down sent me into a panic. I could not move. With a loaded needle in hand, the technician told me to be quiet and injected me with some kind of tranquilizer. Still, I fought, screamed, and cried "No", as Dr. Bernard Rosenfeld forced his hand between my legs and murdered the twins that were within me.

How did this happen?

Lets go back a few months.

I was in an abusive marriage trying to get away.

When I told my paternal grandmother, she said, "You made your bed, now you lay in it."

When I told my mom, she said, "Don't worry honey, he will change."

When I called a shelter, they said, "We will never have a bed available to you because you do not have any children, and you are not hispanic."

When I went to a lawyer, he said, "You have to stay with someone else during a year separation before you can get divorced. If you get an apartment, your husband can enter any time he pleases because of the joint property law in Texas.

When I asked one of my best friends if I could stay with her, she said that she "was dating one of my (then) husband's friends who worked with him in the Coast Guard." So she let me know that staying with her was not an option.

When I told my then-husband that I wanted a divorce, he told me that if I left him, he would shoot me, and then turn the gun on himself. I believed him.

So I started 1988 joining my then-husband in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

February 1988, Shaun, a friend and co-worker's of my then-husband who was one of the few who knew of the spousal abuse, phoned and said, "I thought you were going to leave Richard.".

I replied, "I am. I just need to find a time to get away without his knowing.

Shaun replied, "Don't do that. Let me talk to him.

I replied, "I have no where to say yet."

Shaun replied, "You can stay with me.

I replied, "What will people think.

Shaun replied, "Who gives a f*** what people think.

I have absolutely no idea what Shaun said, but next thing I knew, Richard said I could leave under certain conditions...
  1. I had to co-sign a new car loan for Richard
  2. I had to take my name off the lease so he could have a roommate and get money from our apartment
  3. I had to let Richard decide what I could take

Richard then escorted me to the South Carolina boarder where he let me know that I could come back any time.

So I euphorically felt free for the first time in years as I drove to Port Lavaca, Texas, on 28 February 1988.

The next month, I felt like I might be pregnant and went to the Port Lavaca Clinic for a test. The test showed up negative.

My breasts were growing and tender, so I went back for another test. Still, the doctor said I was not pregnant, and had me go to the hospital for an ultrasound. The technician said, "let me check your abdomen first." There we saw twin fetuses. I was pregnant after all.

I went to Dr. Kirby Smith for a prenatal exam. I had Champus insurance, since my then-husband was Coast Guard, but Dr. Smith said that I had to pay the $800 dollars first and then have Champus reimburse me. I did not have $800.

Shaun and friends were pressuring me into an abortion. I told them that I did not want an abortion. I was looking at options like adoption & keeping the twins.

I was concerned though because I knew I would need medical care.

A friend told me about Houston Women's Clinic, and to check it out. They had counceling there, and would do prenatal exams, which I called to confirm. Plus, I checked the doctor out, and he was board certified and had excellent credentials, and it would only cost $300 for the ultrasound and prenatal exam.

It was early May when Shaun drove me 2 hours to Houston Women's Clinic. At the clinic, the councelor did not even talk to me. She talked to Shaun. Then Shaun asked me for my credit card, which I gave him. Next thing I knew, I was taken into a room and told to completely strip, and put on a hospital gown, which I did. After a wait that seemed to take forever, the doctor entered, and really did not say much. As I stood there, he leaned against the cabinet looking me slowly down then up as I told him I wanted an ultrasound.

The doctor replied that he would do an ultrasound, and someone would be in to get me.

When a nurse came in and told me to follow her, I thought we were going to a room for the ultrasound. I was curious when she asked me if I needed to urinate, but I thought she was just being conciderate.

Instead of going for an ultrasound, she took me to a room where they strapped me to a bed, drugged me, raped me, and murdered my twins.

They ignored my "no's", screams, and cries.

Afterwards, they led me out to the waiting room to Shaun. Shaun said, "I did not think you would get an abortion." ...like it was my choice.

When I called back after the stuff they injected me with wore off, to complain & ask why, I was told that the doctor changed his mind about the ultrasound and he did not owe me an explaination, and then the nurse called me a baby and said I cried during the entire rape. O.K., she used the word procedure, but to me, it was a rape.

When I asked for my medical records, the nurse told me that they did not have to give them to me.

So then I proceded to write a letter to the medical board.

That letter never got finished. With the twins, a part of me died also. A part I have never been able to get back. And this doctor is still practicing.

15 August 2007

U.S. Senator Arlen Specter Town Meeting Tomorrow

Please join U.S. Senator Arlen Specter at a town meeting to identify and discuss the most pressing issues facing Pennsylvania and the United States of America, on Thursday, 16 August 2007 at 14:15 (2:15 p.m.), at California University of Pennsylvania, Old Main Chapel, 2nd floor, 250 University Avenue, California, Pennsylvania, 15419.

My husband & I will not be able to attend this meeting as he has to work, so I am guessing the majority of attendees will be senior citizens and college students, just because this meeting is during the average person's working hours here in the U.S.. So though Arlen says he looks forward to seeing everyone there, the truth is, if he wanted everyone there, he would have had the meeting on a weekend or in the evening.

What I find even more interesting is, in general, the people who will be working during this meeting, pay the most taxes. Retired senior citizens and college students, in general, have lots of tax breaks, and just do not have the income to pay a lot of taxes. So what is Arlen trying to pass that will cost a lot of tax dollars?

Now to switch subjects...

I want to talk about fleas.

My husband and I are very attentive towards our cats. We made sure our cats did not have fleas, and neither did our residence. Even the vet would check our cats, gave them a clean bill of health, as far as fleas were concerned.

Yesterday, my husband woke up with his legs eatten by fleas.

Some months ago, our downstairs neighbor moved in with 2 flea infested dogs. I saw the fleas on the dogs, but she would deny they had fleas, stating that it was just the dogs allergies. So I offered to wash the dogs using flea shampoo I had bought. I bugged my neighbor until she agreed to let the dogs get shampooed. I should have known better when I saw dog feces on her rug, and that the dogs had no dog toys, but my heart went out to the dogs, and I wanted to help.

We shampooed the dogs outside using the garden hose.

What I had not counted on, was that her apartment was seriously infested also, and through trying to help her and the dogs, I brought fleas up to my apartment.

So my husband and I gave all 3 cats a flea bath, then I stripped the chair and couch and washed the cushions, and am washing all the clothes and bedding. We sleep on an air mattress, so I do not have to worry about fleas there.

I emptied the living room, vacuumed, then my husband scrubbed Borax into the carpeting to kill any fleas that may be in the carpeting.

So far, we believe the fleas are concentrated in the bedroom, which is where I undress. I am guessing when I sat on my neighbor's couch, fleas may have jumped onto my clothes, or it could have been from her carpeting. It could have also been from the dogs themselves.

I flea comb the cats every day, and have not found any fleas on the cats, but it is better to be safe than sorry. I feel so guilty that through trying to help someone else, I hurt my own family.

And it really makes me angry that my downstair's neighbor lies at every opportunity.

O.K...she is a senior citizen. But why deny having fleas when it is obvious her place is infested? And why deny smoking when she has ashtrays in her living room? And why call me downstairs during a serious thunderstorm to plug in her television which she was able to unplug herself? And why tell her satellite television provider it was not raining during a serious storm when her reception went out? And why put handicapped licence plates on your car (which you got because your now deceased husband was terminally ill) when you are not handicapped yourself? And why call the landlord to complain her overhead light does not work when my husband and I both told her that it just needed a new light bulb, which she refuses to buy herself? And why have my husband go down to her apartment to hook up the water connection to her new refrigerator/freezer when her son-in-law works for Lowe's where she bought the frig?

I knew she lied. I overlooked it. But when it hurts my family, that is another matter.

My husband woke up yesterday with his calves flea bitten. It will not happen again.

Lesson learned.

13 August 2007

Does anyone else find it too coincidenantal that Karl Rove resigns soon after the results of the Iowa Republican straw poll?

I seriously would not be surprised is Mr. Rove left the White House today to go work on Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.
Mitt Romney won Saturday, 11th of August. Karl Rove resigns from the White House on Monday, 13th of August. For most of us, the Iowa straw poll does not mean anything. So why have it in the first place? To waste more taxpayer money? That is possible. Our government loves wasting our money. Giving 30 billion dollars to Israel, and spending over a billion dollars on a U.S. embassy in Iraq is evidence of our government wasting money that could better be spent on education, health care, our soldiers, flood & hurricane survivors.
But Karl Rove resigning the first week day after the Iowa Republican straw poll was more than coincidence. Of course, I am just theorizing here. For me, the timing is far too suspicious.

If you would like to read about the Iowa Republican straw polls, you can find that at Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/wtMostRead/idUSN1026027920070812.

If you would like to read about Karl Rove resigning, you can find that at CNN http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/08/13/rove.resign/index.html.

23 July 2007

Lets Get To Know Our Presidential Candidates for 2008

First of all, I would like to thank those who emailed me in regards to my blog about Presidential Candidates 2008.

To the Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters who emailed me, I agree it would be nice to have a "first man" for once instead of a "first lady", but I would not vote for a presidential candidate based on gender for the same reason I would not vote for a presidential candidate based on ethnicity. Every person is an individual, and should be judged as such.

To the Barack Obama supporters who emailed me, I agree we need someone in office with common sense. From growing up in different parts of the country and the world, I have noticed that different people have conflicting definitions of "common sense". For example, when I was living in Texas, I found a wallet on the side of NASA Rd 1 in Seabrook while walking, so I went back to the payphone at my apartment complex since it was the closest phone around (this was in the early '90s) and phoned the police. I was asked to bring the wallet into the station, so I walked to the station, picking up more pieces of the wallet along the way. Now, there were people who thought I was stupid for picking up pieces of some guy's wallet from the side of the road, though the wallet contained family photos and personal information, and common sense told me it was the right action to take, where for others, "common sense" would have said "finders keepers, losers weepers", or to "just ignore it" like I was told by a neighbor of mine. My neighbor actually got upset with me for taking the wallet to the police.

Another example was when I was in Houston, Texas, witnessing a young woman get dragged into an elevator trying to fight the guy off. I wanted to help. The guy I was with stopped me telling me that she was just a hooker, and to look the other way. To him, that was common sense. Not to me. So I walked over to the police station and told an officer what I saw. A couple police officers went to check it out and the girl told them that she was just rehearsing for some acting job. Still, my "common sense", which is not the same as everyone's, told me to do something to help someone who may be in danger. There were a half dozen people who saw this girl get dragged into the elevator...I was the only one of the who took any action other than "looking the other way" or ignoring it. That was what "common sense" told them to do. Actually, the guy I was with told me I had no "common sense" because I went to the police, which put my own life in danger.

So I agree that Barack Obama has "common sense", but who's definition?

The problem I have with Barack is that he does not take responsibility. When I was a kid, and invited a friend over, I was responsible for anything my friend did in our home. By the same token, Barack is the one who hires his staff. He is responsible then for anything his employees send out to the media. Yet, Barack likes to deny responsibility. We already have a President and Vice-President like that. I do not want to vote someone into office like our current administration.

There is a Voter's Research Hotline at 1-888-VOTE-SMART where you can ask any question, any time, which is manned by Project Vote Smart. Here is their website: http://www.vote-smart.org/program_hotline.php

2008 Presidential Candidates in alphabetical order, along with their status & political party:

Status.............. Name..................... Party
Announced Laura Davis Aaron Democrat
Potential.... Steve Adams Independent
Announced Donald Kenneth Allen Independent
Potential.... Gene Amondson Prohibition
Announced Warren Roderick Ashe Democrat
Announced George H. Ballard Democrat
Announced Terry Lee Barkdull Unknown
Announced Daniel James Barnett Republican
Potential.... Bob Barr Libertarian
Withdrawn Evan Bayh Democrat
Announced Carl Durantye Belle Independent
Announced Joseph R. Biden Democrat
Withdrawn William Hobert Blakley Republican
Potential.... Michael R. Bloomberg Independent
Announced John Douglas Blyth Independent
Announced John Taylor Bowles Other
Announced J. Boydston Constitution
Announced Ryan Joseph Brady Democrat
Announced Dewey R. Broughman Republican
Potential.... Elaine Brown Green Party
Announced Samuel D. Brownback Republican
Announced Edward Allan Buck Republican
Announced Emperor Caesar Democrat
Announced Raymond Joseph Caplette Democrat
Announced Jerry Leon Carroll Other
Announced Anthony Lungo Carter Republican
Potential.... Patrick Cazneau Unknown
Withdrawn Gene Chapman Constitution
Announced Jeanne Chebib Unknown
Potential.... Wesley K. Clark Democrat
Announced Hillary Rodham Clinton Democrat
Announced Eamon Patrick Clune Republican
Announced Hugh Cort Republican
Announced John H. Cox Republican
Announced Randolph Wilson Crow Democrat
Announced Claire Elisabeth Fields Cruise Independent
Announced Orion Karl Daley Independent
Announced Jack L Dietz Democrat
Announced Christopher J. Dodd Democrat
Announced Susan Gail Ducey Republican
Announced John Reid Edwards Democrat
Announced Max Englerius Other
Announced Philip Epstein Democrat
Announced Clarita Fazzari Independent
Announced Lowell Jackson Fellure Republican
Announced Bennie Lee Ferguson Independent
Announced Richard Francis Flynn Democrat
Announced Michael Keith Forrester Democrat
Announced Robert L.eonard Forthan Republican
Announced Danny M. Francis Democrat
Announced Anthony Keith Gallagher Republican
Announced Ida Cecilia Garza Independent
Announced Daniel A. Gilbert Republican
Withdrawn James S. Gilmore Republican
Potential.... Newton Leroy Gingrich Republican
Announced Rudolph W. Giuliani Republican
Potential.... Albert Gore Democrat
Announced Mark Blair Graham Unknown
Announced Maurice Robert Gravel Democrat
Announced Raymond Ferrill Green Republican
Announced Jon A. Greenspon No Party Affiliation
Announced Jackson Kirk Grimes United Fascist Union
Potential.... Charles T. Hagel Republican
Announced Albert Hamburg Democrat
Announced Curtis Hayward Independent
Announced Samuel B. Hoff Independent
Announced Joe Honeychurch Republican
Announced Mildred T. Howard Republican
Announced Michael D. Huckabee Republican
Announced William Charles Hughes Democrat
Announced Duncan L. Hunter Republican
Announced Daniel J. Imperato Independent
Announced Michael Paul Jingozian Libertarian
Announced Arnold Matthew Jones Independent
Announced Keith Russell Judd Independent
Announced Timothy Charles Kalemkarian Republican
Announced John Joseph Kennedy Democrat
Withdrawn John Forbes Kerry Democrat
Announced David Allen Koch None
Announced Philip A. Kok Republican
Announced Yaphet Kotto Republican
Announced Karl Everett Krueger Democrat
Announced Steve W. Kubby Libertarian
Announced Dennis J. Kucinich Democrat
Potential.... Karen Kwiatkowski Libertarian
Announced Dal Anthony LaMagna Democrat
Announced Monroe Lee Democrat
Announced Joseph Felix Leonaitis Independent
Announced Alden Link Republican
Announced Elvena E. Lloyd-Duffie Republican
Announced Yehanna Joan Mary Malone Republican
Announced Mike Benjamin Martisko Other
Announced Joseph Martyniuk Independent
Announced John Christopher Mason Democrat
Announced John Sidney McCain Republican
Announced James Hatton McCall Independent
Announced Frank Edward McEnulty None
Announced Orleans Victor Mcfoy Democrat
Announced Sherry Ann Meadows Democrat
Announced Lee L. Mercer Democrat
Announced Kent Philip Mesplay Green Party
Announced James Creighton Mitchell Republican
Announced Omar Jones Monahan None
Announced Brian Joseph Moran Other
Announced Robert Edward Edward Moreau Republican
Announced Michael Moriarty Independent
Announced Abdul (Kareem) Muhammad Republican
Potential.... Ralph Nader Independent
Announced Sandra Queen Noble None
Announced Barack Hussein Obama Democrat
Announced Frederick Eugene Ogin Republican
Potential.... George E. Pataki Republican
Announced Ronald Ernest Paul Republican
Announced Jeffrey Charles Petkevicius Independent
Announced George D. J. Phillies Libertarian
Announced Deshon Porter Independent
Potential.... James John Prattas Democrat
Announced William Nathaniel Raven Republican
Announced Bill Richardson Democrat
Announced Willard Mitt Romney Republican
Announced Paul Russell Rosenberger Unknown
Potential.... Gary Rostad Democrat
Potential.... Mary J. Ruwart Libertarian
Announced Cameron Sadovsky Independent
Announced Marshall Samuel Sanders Republican
Announced Launeil Neil Sanders Republican
Announced Ole' Savior Democrat/Farmer/Labor
Announced Barbara Ann Scaff Democrat
Announced Joseph Charles Schriner None
Announced Jonathon Albert Sharkey Independent
Announced Scott J. Sheldon Democrat
Announced Jack Shepard Republican
Announced Freddy Irwin Sitnick Republican
Announced Christine Smith Libertarian
Announced Richard Michael Smith Republican
Announced Michael Charles Smith Republican
Announced Johns Wallace Stevenson Republican
Announced Michael Sugerman Independent
Announced Charles Joseph Leo Symonds Independent
Announced Tom Gerald Tancredo Republican
Announced Jeffrey Chapman Thomas Democrat
Announced Tommy G. Thompson Republican
Potential.... Fred Dalton Thompson Republican
Potential.... Michael Tienken Independent
Announced Linda Tompkins Independent
Announced Bruce Calvin Trask Reform
Announced Corrogan R. Vaughn Republican
Withdrawn Tom Vilsack Democrat
Announced Hugh Wallace Independent
Potential.... Mark R. Warner Democrat
Announced Lanakila Washington Humanistic
Announced Thomas Wells Unknown
Announced Ruth Bryant White Independent
Announced Kelcey Brian Wilson Other
Announced Robert B. Winn Independent
Announced Marc Wolin Republican
Announced Vernon Edgar Wuensche Republican

8 of the political parties:

As you can see, there are more choices than just Republican or Democrat. The choices give me hope in case I do not like the Republican or Democratic candidate that wins their party's primary elections.

20 July 2007

Presidential Election 2008

If you would have asked me a couple years ago who my favorite Republican & Democratic presidential candidates were, I would have probably answered John McCain & Hillary Rodham Clinton. That was a couple years ago. A lot has changed since then. I have watched more debates, as well as more television interviews. Even more importantly to me, I have watched how different candidates have voted on issues. After all, actions do speak much louder than words.

I am registered "no party", and still have not decided for which primary I will register.

Candidates on the Republican side (in alphabetical order):
  1. Sam Brownback
  2. Newt Gingrich
  3. Rudy Giuliani
  4. Chuck Hagel
  5. Mike Huckabee
  6. Duncan Hunter
  7. John McCain
  8. George Pataki
  9. Ron Paul
  10. Mitt Romney
  11. Tom Tancredo
  12. Tommy Thompson
  13. Fred Thompson

Candidates on the Democratic side (in alphabetical order):

  1. Joe Biden
  2. Hillary Rodham Clinton
  3. Chris Dodd
  4. John Edwards
  5. Al Gore
  6. Mike Gravel
  7. Dennis Kucinich
  8. Barack Obama
  9. Bill Richardson
The reason I wrote Republican candidates before Democratic candidates was simply for 2 reasons:
  1. the republican list was longer
  2. the current executive branch is Republican

If the primary presidential election was today:

If I was registered Republican, I would vote for Ron Paul simply because to me, he seems like he has the most sense, does not appear to be a Bush "yes" man, does not give me the impression that he will run this country on paranoia like his predecessor.

I also liked Ron Paul in the debate against Rudy Giulliani. After that televised debate, you could not pay me to vote for Giulliani. It is bad enough that Giulliani sucked as the mayor of New York and was about to be voted out of office on 11 September 2001, and then somehow, Giulliani's political career was saved at the expense of thousands of casualties.

The way Ron Paul voted is also a huge plus to me. You can see for yourself on this website: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/capitol-briefing/2007/02/iraq_debate_by_the_numbers.html

Now, on to the other side of the isle if the election was today:

If I was registered Democrat, I would vote for...shoot...this one is more difficult for me. Let's start with who would not receive my vote:

I would not vote for anyone who voted for the war. This can be seen on the senate website at http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=107&session=2&vote=00237

There were 77 yeas and 23 nays.

Those that voted for the war were:

Allard (R-CO)
Allen (R-VA)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bayh (D-IN)
Bennett (R-UT)
Biden (D-DE)
Bond (R-MO)
Breaux (D-LA)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burns (R-MT)
Campbell (R-CO)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carnahan (D-MO)
Carper (D-DE)
Cleland (D-GA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
Daschle (D-SD)
DeWine (R-OH)
Dodd (D-CT)
Domenici (R-NM)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Edwards (D-NC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Fitzgerald (R-IL)
Frist (R-TN)
Gramm (R-TX)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Helms (R-NC)
Hollings (D-SC)
Hutchinson (R-AR)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Lott (R-MS)
Lugar (R-IN)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Miller (D-GA)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Nickles (R-OK)
Reid (D-NV)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Santorum (R-PA)
Schumer (D-NY)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-NH)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Thomas (R-WY)
Thompson (R-TN)
Thurmond (R-SC)
Torricelli (D-NJ)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)

The only ones who voted against the war were:

Akaka (D-HI)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Byrd (D-WV)
Chafee (R-RI)
Conrad (D-ND)
Corzine (D-NJ)
Dayton (D-MN)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Graham (D-FL)
Inouye (D-HI)
Jeffords (I-VT)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murray (D-WA)
Reed (D-RI)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Wellstone (D-MN)
Wyden (D-OR)

Notice all the presidential candidates who voted for the war, and not a single presidential candidate is on the "against the war" list. Now, to be far, not all presidential candidates were Senators in 2002, and only Senators in 2002 had the option of voting for or against going to war against Iraq.

So thank goodness the primary election is not today, as I am still undecided.

19 July 2007

4th Branch of the U.S. Government

In school, I learned that there were 3 branches of the U.S. government:
  • Legislative
  • Judicial
  • Executive

But I have learned since graduating that school did not always feed me the most accurate information. They did not teach me about the 4th branch of government, which I learned from the Internet and television.

On TV, there is a show, Traveler, which is based on the premise of a secret 4th branch of government in the U.S.:

Our vice-president, Dick Cheney, claimed he was not part of the executive branch, which could only have meant he is a branch onto his self...hence, the 4th branch:

I Googled "fourth branch of government" and found confirmation. There are 2,240,000 websites listed on Google about our 4th branch of government.
There are even lyrics about our 4th branch of government:

The 4th Branch
by Immortal Technique

The new age is upon us
And yet the past refuses to rest in its shallow grave
For those who hide behind the false image of the son of man
shall stand before God!!! It has begun
The beginning of the end
Yeah... yeah, yeah

[Verse 1]
The voice of racism preaching the gospel is devilish
A fake church called the prophet Muhammad a terrorist
Forgetting God is not a religion, but a spiritual bond
And Jesus is the most quoted prophet in the Qu'ran
They bombed innocent people, tryin' to murder Saddam
When you gave him those chemical weapons to go to war with Iran
This is the information that they hold back from Peter Jennings
Cause Condoleeza Rice is just a new age Sally Hemmings
I break it down with critical language and spiritual anguish
The Judas I hang with, the guilt of betraying Christ
You murdered and stole his religion, and painting him white
Translated in psychologically tainted philosophy
Conservative political right wing, ideology
Glued together sloppily, the blasphemy of a nation
Got my back to the wall, cause I'm facin' assassination
Guantanamo Bay, federal incarceration
How could this be, the land of the free, home of the brave?
Indigenous holocaust, and the home of the slaves
Corporate America, dancin' offbeat to the rhythm
You really think this country, never sponsored terrorism?
Human rights violations, we continue the saga
El Savador and the contras in Nicaragua
And on top of that, you still wanna take me to prison
Just cause I won't trade humanity for patriotism

It's like MK-ULTRA, controlling your brain
Suggestive thinking, causing your perspective to change
They wanna rearrange the whole point of view of the ghetto
The fourth branch of the government, want us to settle
A bandana full of glittering, generality
Fighting for freedom and fighting terror, but what's reality?
Read about the history of the place that we live in
And stop letting corporate news tell lies to your children

[Verse 2]
Flow like the blood of Abraham through the Jews and the Arabs
Broken apart like a woman's heart, abused in a marriage
The brink of holy war, bottled up, like a miscarriage
Embedded correspondents don't tell the source of the tension
And they refuse to even mention, European intervention
Or the massacres in Jenin, the innocent screams
U.S. manufactured missles, and M-16's
Weapon contracts and corrupted American dreams
Media censorship, blocking out the video screens
A continent of oil kingdoms, bought for a bargain
Democracy is just a word, when the people are starvin'
The average citizen, made to be, blind to the reason
A desert full of genocide, where the bodies are freezin'
And the world doesn't believe that you fightin' for freedom
Cause you fucked the Middle East, and gave birth to a demon
It's open season with the CIA, bugging my crib
Trapped in a ghetto region like a Palestinian kid
Where nobody gives a fuck whether you die or you live
I'm tryin' to give the truth, and I know the price is my life
But when I'm gone they'll sing a song about Immortal Technique
Who beheaded the President, and the princes and sheiks
You don't give a fuck about us, I can see through your facade
Like a fallen angel standing in the presence of God
Bitch niggaz scared of the truth, when it looks at you hard

It's like MK-ULTRA, controlling your brain
Suggestive thinking, causing your perspective to change
They wanna rearrange the whole point of view in the ghetto
The fourth branch of the government, want us to settle
A bandana full of glittering, generality
Fighting for freedom and fighting terror, but what's reality?
Martial law is coming soon to the hood, to kill you
While you hanging your flag out your project window

The fourth branch of the government AKA the media
Seems to now have a retirement plan for ex-military officials
As if their opinion was at all unbiased
A machine shouldn't speak for men
So shut the fuck up you mindless drone!
And you know it's serious
When these same media outfits are spending millions of dollars on a PR campaign
To try to convince you they're fair and balanced
When they're some of the most ignorant, and racist people
Giving that type of mentality a safe haven
We act like we share in the spoils of war that they do
We die in wars, we don't get the contracts to make money off 'em afterwards!
We don't get weapons contracts, nigga!
We don't get cheap labor for our companies, nigga!
We are cheap labor, nigga!
Turn off the news and read, nigga!
Read... read... read...
(the video below is of the song printed above)

In school, I learned Pluto was our 9th planet. I now know that Pluto is one of 44 dwarf planets in our solar system.
In school, I learned that 1+1=2. I know know that 1+1=infinity. (You are more than welcome to look this one up as I know some of you are thinking I have no idea what I am talking about here...think about it though...how many parents did you have? 1 parent plus 1 parent equals infinity of offspring. That is just one example.)
In school, I learned that there were only 3 branches of the U.S. government. I know now that there is a 4th branch of government. Who or what that branch is exactly, and what that branch's purpose, is still a mystery to me.

18 July 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

Monday was my 43rd birthday. It was really nice of Pop Ullom to send me a $25 check and birthday card for my birthday, and it was really nice of my parents to send me a $50 check and birthday card for my birthday. It was kind of weird though...my dad wrote in the card "Have a very nice birthday best try not to get as old as us :-) Love Mom & Dad". What does "best try not to get as old as us" suppose to mean?

I have been feeling really drained & depressed, not even wanted to get on the Internet. Let me start from the beginning...

First of all, my birthday has never really been a time for celebration except for when I was 8 years old (in the picture above) & my dad was still alive. See, I grew up with the "Count curse". I was told for as long as I remember that for 6 generations, when the oldest child, who was always a son, was 7 years old, the father would die. My dad was expecting me to be a boy because of the "curse", so when I was born female, there were people in my dad's family who openly doubted I was my father's daughter.

My dad was completely prepared to die when I was 7 years old. He took out life insurance, had a will drawn up, and even had a professional family photo taken when I was 6 years old.

We did not celebrate my birthdays and it was treated like a curse also. But then I turned 8 years old and my dad was still alive. So my parents threw a birthday party for me/dad still being alive/my sister being born and coming home from the hospital party.

That was the first and last birthday of mine my family ever celebrated. I remember when I was turning 9, I heard my mom bring it up to my dad, but my dad said that I had a birthday party the year before and did not need another birthday party.

I turned 13 in Calabria, Italy. Day before my birthday, a couple of guys from the U.S. Coast Guard base riding their mopeds, got side swiped by a car and had to be flown to Germany for emergency surgery. "Cookie" was really sweet though. "Cookie" was the cook on base, and he baked me a cake, and brought it out to me for my birthday.

Then a week before my 20th birthday, I was woken up at 6 a.m. by the rapist I was then married to and one of his friends, told "happy birthday, you are going to have your first orgasm". I yelled "no", and tried to fight back, but leverage was against me, and there were 2 of them.

The wonderful guy I am married to now, & I, want to have children. Time is not on our side. And each birthday I have now makes it less likely we will have the family we want.

That is stress enough...now to add to it...

30 June 2005, I was stopped at a red light. A company van from Blume's rear ended me. He never bothered to try stopping. So I got whiplash, and spent a lot of money on medical bills. My insurance only paid up to $5,000.00, then the rest was transferred to my health insurance and me. My health insurance then filed an adium, then whatever money I was reimbursed for medical expenses, they would be paid first.

I am still seeing doctors for my neck, and still have problems from it.

There is only a 2 year statute of limitations, and National Penn Insurance (Blume's car insurance company) told me I had to pay the bills first, then they would reimburse me. So I gathered the bills I had relating to the car accident, and sent it in overnight mail. This was in June.

I called John Null of National Penn Insurance who was handling the claim on Friday, and he said that the bills were too expensive, and he was going to have to decide which ones he would reimburse me for and which ones would not be reimbursed. He said this would take a few months, but that I would not be reimbursed for all my medical expenses related to the accident. So even though I was completely following the law, and the van hit me, I would still have to pay much of the expenses relating to the accident according to Mr. Null.

And he is completely ignoring the lost wage expense and travel to and from the doctors expense.

Our system is really messed up.

Then to top this all off like I did not have enough stress...

I called Capital One Auto finance to see what my pay off amount was since we only have 2 months left on our loan. When I said, "when I pay this off, you will report to the credit reporting agencies that the car is paid off, and that we paid on time every month, right?" The woman on the other end said "no", we don't have to. So I asked to talk to the supervisor, and he said that because we filed bankruptcy a few years ago, they can continue to put in our credit report every month that we filed bankruptcy, but they do not have to put in that we made out car payments on time every month, or that we paid the car off.

The only reason we filed bankruptcy to begin with was because my husband was laid off work on Halloween 2002. I saw on the Oprah Winfrey show about credit, and contacting credit card agencies to request suspending rates for different reasons. So I called MBNA to let them know my husband (fiance at the time) was laid off work, which was a huge mistake. As soon as I did that, the credit card companies raised the interest rates to 28% claiming we were suddenly high risk. I had no idea they could do that, but apparently, they can, and they did.

I continued to pay the credit cards, but could not catch up at those rates. Then a mortgage broker told us that we should file bankruptcy because it would take us 40 years to pay off the credit cards, and we would never be able to buy a house. So reluctantly, we filed bankruptcy because of the credit cards.

The weird thing is...when my husband got the job he has now, his old job that laid him off wanted him back. They said they made a mistake in laying him off.

So that leaves us to where we are today...

  • Companies can report whatever they like to credit reporting agencies, and our government seems to let them get away with it.

  • People can rear end us and get away with it, and we get left holding much of the expense.

Things for me could be worse though...I could be a military veteran in the United States.

17 June 2007

The Right to Vote

Happy Father's Day!!!

I just transferred some of the genealogy blogs from this site to a blog I started some years ago called "Count On It"...I decided to make "Count On It" my genealogy blog. It is at http://CountOnIt.blogspot.com.

Now, let me go back a few weeks to the state primary election here in Pennsylvania. Our governor put on the primary ballot a proposal to raise state income tax. Personally, I feel we already pay more than enough income tax, while our lawmakers use the money to vacation...so my husband and I went to vote against this proposal. My husband was registered "independant" and I was registered "no party", so we drove to the our polling place in Perryopolis, Pennsylvania, where we were told that because we were not registered either Republican or Democrat, we were no allowed to vote.

I insisted that I had the right to vote for the income tax proposal. This centurian woman behind the table, in her "do not talk back to me tone" told me that she took a class and they said that only registered Democrats & registered Republicans were allowed to vote. So I replied that she needs to get on the phone with the election board and check because no one was taking away my right to vote on the tax proposal.

So one of the younger senior citizens made the phone call, and came back saying that we had the right to vote for the proposal. But the centurian holding the book still did not let us sign in the registration book at this time that we voted. So my husband and I went to vote, and the senior citizen who was suppose to help those who did not know how to vote, was actually telling us which box to mark...which is suppose to be completely illegal. And, the booths were completely open, and I noticed a woman looking over my shoulder as to how I was voting.

Then to top it off, after my husband & I voted, I said I still needed to sign the registration book. The centurian sternly told me that I did not vote, and I do not sign the book. So I told her to get back on the phone and check. She obviously was not happy about this. But it turned out I was right. So she let us sign, but all the signatures were done in pencil instead of pen.

We did not vote until 5:30 p.m., which makes me wonder how many other registered voters were turned away just because they were not Democrats or Republicans.

In Pennsylvania, we have several political parties according to http://www.politics1.com/pa.htm:


  • America First Party of Pennsylvania

  • Communist Party of Pennsylvania

  • Constitution Party of Pennsylvania

  • Pennsylvania Democratic Party

  • Green Party of Pennsylvania

  • Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania

  • Reform Party of Pennsylvania

  • Pennsylvania Republican Party

  • Social Democratic Party of Pennsylvania

  • Socialist Party of Pennsylvania

And http://www.politics1.com/parties.htm tells about different parties. Notice, it is not just Democrat & Republican, and denying a person the right to vote on an income tax proposal because that person is not registered Democrat or registered Republican is undemocratic.

So how in the world can we ethically tell other countries to practice democracy, when we do not practice democracy ourselves? I guess the government is like my dad, when my dad used to say, "Do as I say, not as I do."

10 May 2007

Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Having been a military wife myself, I know first hand that it is not the easiest life to live. So I want to let military spouses know they are appreciated on Military Spouse Appreciation Day, which is May 11th.

There is a particular military spouse I would like to acknowledge: my mom.

Being married now to a non-military man, I know I come first in his life. I know that no matter what happens, he will be there for me, that he will always "have my back".

In military life, the enlisted person puts his/her job first, and "has the back" of the people with which he/she serves. The spouse is expected to "hold down the fort" while the military person is doing his/her duty.

With moving every 2 to 4 years, it is difficult for the military spouse to have a career, as their lives are centered around the military career.

Military spouses make a lot of personal sacrifies, but rarely receive any medals for their valor.

So here is a medal for military spouses:

03 May 2007

Blackwater Falls, West Virginia

I just created this slideshow of pictures my husband and I took last year of Blackwater Falls. These pictures were taken in June, on our way back home from vacation in Canaan Valley, West Virginia. We stopped at Blackwater Falls, and took the short hike to these beautiful views that you see on the pictures.

24 April 2007

Child Abuse

A friend of mine on care2 sent me the poem of Sarah which got me thinking about child abuse, then remembering my own experiences.

When I was in Hastings, Michigan for my great-aunt Elva's funeral, my dad complained to me about Ferrysburg, stating that he did not like that place because someone there had reported my parents for child abuse and he said they tried to take us away, but the Coast Guard intervened on my dad's behalf. I did not know before that this was the 2nd time. Appearantly, according to my dad, "they" tried to take us away when I was a toddler living in Detroit, Michigan.

Was I abused?

I am the adult child of an alcoholic and a military brat.

The Coast Guard had a saying..."If we wanted you to have a family, we would have issued you one." The Coast Guard taught how to kill, not how to be a good spouse or a good parent.

And as for the alcohol, that just created a Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde. I loved my dad when he was Dr. Jeckyl. Mr. Hyde was a terror.

Appearantly, according to my paternal grandmother, it was something that ran in our family. Her father was an alcoholic. She also told me that when my dad's father and she was married, my dad's dad hit her. She told her mom, and her mom told her "you made your bed, now you lay in it", so she waited until he was asleep and beat him with some kind of wood. She said he never hit her again after that.

My dad's father died of heart disease when my dad was 7 years old, and my dad was responsible for financially supporting his family delivering papers in the morning and working at a store after school, so I know my dad's life as a child was not easy either.

When I was about 14, we had just come back to the states from Italy, and I was doing dishes with my paternal grandmother. I remember telling her that I never wanted to have kids because I did not want to be like my dad. She replied that just because my dad was an alcoholic would not mean I would be one. That was when she told me about her dad, and stated that she was not an alcoholic, which was true. Yet the cycle continued. Not with me. Some how, I did not get the "alcohol gene", but my grandmother was not an alcoholic either, yet it skipped a generation to my dad. That concerns me, since I really want to have children, fearing I will have a child who will inherit my father's alcoholism.

I am very fortunate that I had other adults in my life who cared about me, and I am very grateful for these people.

  • I will always remember the babysitter in Ferrysburg, Michigan, who gave me the little doll.
  • I will always remember the other babysitter in Ferrysburg, Michigan, who gave me the lifesize doll with the huge box of baby clothes, even though my mom did take the box of clothes away from me when my sister was born and dress my sister in the doll clothes.
  • I will always remember Mr. Bob Coobaugh (sp?) in Ferrysburg, Michigan, who used to weld my bike back together for me.
  • I will always remember Mrs. Ida May Thomas in Ferrysburg, Michigan, who taught Bible school from her trailer, and taught me how to crochet, played Scrabble with me, and paid attention to me.
  • I will always remember Paula's mom in Ferrysburg, Michigan, who used to give me taffy.
  • I will always remember Mr. Charles Shultz in Cape May, New Jersey, who gave me $50 for sweeping his storage so I could go to Walt Disney World with the rest of my Baptist Youth Fellowship group. He also made sure I ate every night, even though I was self concious of eating food that did not belong to me. I only had the $50 dollars I earned from Mr. Shultz to pay for admission into the park, which left only a few dollars for food or anything else I needed during the 3 days in Kissimee, Florida (this was when I was 12 years old), so I was very concious of my budget & everything else.

I realize the list can go on for quite a while. I want to thank all the people who cared about me along the path of growing up. Thank you.

10 April 2007

Who runs our country?

It would be great to believe that we the people decide who runs our country, but then I see news reports where there are some people who believe that having raised more money than someone else for primary election use means more people in your political party want you to be president.

Then we hear from a Republican candidate who admits registering as a Democrat just to vote for someone he believes cannot win.

To donate money to a candidate, a person does not even have to register to vote, let alone register for a party. So don't you think there are corporations, people from different countries, people from different political party lines donating money to affect the outcome of a primary presidential race? Think about it.

When did becoming president have to do with having the most money? Actually, it has been this way since the beginning of the U.S.

Many of us learned in school that the reason George Washington became General, and from that our first President of the U.S., because he had the money to outfit the troops.

Now Corporations run our country and our lives.

Think about it...

To rent an apartment, buy a house, get a job...these are all affected by our credit scores. Our credit scores are determined by companies and corporations. And to even see what our own credit score is, we have to pay the 3 companies that control our lives with personal information other companies and corporations tell them about us. It does not have to be accurate. If it is inaccurate, a person has to jump through hoops to try to correct it, and the companies & corporations are believed before the individual.

And most of the individuals who work in these companies who control our lives are not even here in the U.S. When calling, I usually find myself talking to someone in a call center in another country like India.

So I am not afraid of countries like Iran or Iraq having a nuclear bomb. The real danger is where these countries have our personal information and identities. After all, we know that here in the U.S., our identities are our social securities numbers, not our names.

In Houston, Texas, I was dating a guy who's ex-employer used my ex-boyfriend's social security number to set up cable in the ex-employer's home. When my ex-boyfriend found out, he was obviously upset and told the cable company that he never lived there, and he had proof. The cable company told my ex-boyfriend that it was his responsibility to repay the ex-employer's bill since he let his ex-employer have his social security number (yes, they really said that because I was there and heard her...even though to get a job here in the U.S., it is required that a person give the employer their social security number), and it was up to my ex-boyfriend to then sue his ex-employer for the money.

Even the war in Iraq is hindered by corporations. Our military cannot accomplish their mission because much of our tax money is going to pay mercenaries who get in the way, and are not accountable to the U.S. military rules of engagement. Think about it...would you rather join a military that has rules, regulations, and little pay, or a corporation where you have no rules, no regulations, and at least 10 times more money? So who is really in charge in Iraq?

Even our health care is dictated by companies and corporations. It is our employers who decide our health insurance, and what to cover. Yet, our politicians have government health insurance. It is our tax money that pays for their health insurance. So how is it they would not accept a government plan for all Americans because they said it was socialism? Why is it our represenatives in government can be socialists with health care? Where is the logic?

Why is it our tax money can support corporations like Haliburton to buy politicians like Cheney, but it cannot support hard working American individuals to get health care?

And then, while we wait on the insurance companies to pay our doctor and hospital bills, the doctors and hospitals turn our accounts into credit reporting agencies as delinquent, and our credit scores plummet, which makes it much more difficult to rent an apartment, to buy a house, to buy a vehicle, to land a job.

So who really runs our country?

Most people do not know who donates money to primary presidential elections. Do you really believe that all the money being donated though is from an individual who wants that candidate to win the main presidential race? And will that candidate be like Cheney and let corporations run our land?...at a cost of course. Our cost.

05 April 2007

When did the U.S. become about the Corporations instead of about the People?

I heard on both the 6 p.m. and the 11 p.m. news and different network stations yesterday that gas prices are predicted to rise to $4.00 a gallon this summer. This is outrageous.

  • On the 11th of December, 2006, we paid $2.359 per gallon of gas.

  • On the 25th of January, 2007, we paid $2.439 per gallon of gas.

  • On the 13th of March, 2007, we paid $2.549 per gallon of gas.

  • On the 22nd of March, 2007, we paid $2.589 per gallon of gas.

  • On the 28th of March, 2007, we paid $2.649 per gallon of gas.

We do not drive a big SUV. Instead, we drive a small Hundai Elantra that has almost 100,000 miles on it. These miles were mostly aquired going to and from work. Where we live, there is no public transportation, since Perryopolis is classified as a rural area. When we moved here, we looked for apartments closer to where my husband works, but they were mostly for senior citizens, or they did not accept our 3 precious cats. Since we are not senior citizens yet, we found an apartment about 15 miles away.

That means we have to drive to work.

Now, it is ironic to me that driving to and from work is not tax deductible according to our H&R TaxCut software, but executives can deduct the cost of playing golf. Does this sound right to you?

And yet the price of gas continues to rise. Why?

According to USA Today at http://www.usatoday.com/money/companies/earnings/2006-01-30-exxonmobil_x.htm

ExxonMobil amasses record $36B 2005 profit

And according to Business Week at http://www.businessweek.com/investor/content/feb2007/pi20070201_663405.htm

Exxon Mobil (XOM)
Reiterates 5 STARS (strong buy)
Analyst: Tina Vital
The company posts fourth quarter operating EPS of $1.69, vs. $1.65
one year earlier, reflecting lower natural gas price realizations
and narrowed refining margins, and beating our estimate by 17 cents. Results exclude a tax benefit of 7 cents. Oil and gas production declined 0.9% but was above our expectations; we forecast 3% growth for 2007. We are increasing our 2007 operating EPS estimate by 55 cents to $7.12 and our forecast for 2008 by 78 cents to $7.59. Blending our discounted cash-flow and relative valuations, we are raising our 12-month target price by $5 to $89, an expected enterprise
value of 7.4 times our 2007 EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes,
depreciation and amortization) estimate -- a premium to peers.

So while we are held hostage by the price of gas, oil companies here in the U.S. are making record profits. We are suppose to have laws against this kind of extortion, yet, why would our politicians care since our president is an oil man himself. Of course he is going to side with the oil companies.

It really bothers me when I hear foreigners say that the U.S. is a good place to make money, but not a good place to live, so they make money here, and then go back to their home to live. Well, this is my home. I care. I live here.

When I was in Greece in the summer/fall of 1997, I saw on the news 4 of our Republican senators proclaim that President Clinton who was trying to negotiate peace between Greece and Turkey had no power to negotiate any kind of deal, and that the House of Representatives in the U.S. held all the power. I heard Senator Frist declare this, and I thought "how treasonous". The senators were there to help negotiate the sale of weapons, so it was in there interest that Greece and Turkey remain at war.

Now, it is ok for a Senator to proclaim on Greek television that the president of the U.S. has no power, but a person is un-American for questioning 9/11 or the war in Iraq. Where is the logic?

If the price of gas is raising because of the shortage of oil, then why are oil companies making record breaking profits?

We are an intelligent nation. Let's remember to ask questions. Why are prices sky rocketing, when oil companies are making record breaking profits? Why are we paying Halliburton trillions of dollars? Why do we have mercinaries in Iraq and Afghanistan undermining our military? Who is really profitting from this war in Iraq? It is not the American people. It is not the Iraqis. So are we there so a few executives can become billionaires? Is it worth the thousands of lives that have been taken from us? Or are we just cattle to be called to slaughter whenever our corporations demand it?

03 April 2007

World Religions in Education

First of all, I would like to say:

Happy Passover!!!

Happy Holy Tuesday!!!

Happy Declaration of the Second Republic "Power Taken by the Military" in Guinea!!!

Last night, my husband switched over to CNN at about 7 p.m. to catch the news. A piece about a new law in England caught my interest. It seems, according to CNN, that England has decided to quite teaching about the Holocaust for fear of offending people. A year ago, I would not have understood this, but after my experience with a forum about the holocaust at http://www.care2.com/c2c/groups/disc.html?gpp=671&pst=776268
I understand.

There are laws in Europe that make it illegal to deny The Holocaust, and God forbid we question anything. In the group, I announced I would play devil's advocate because of the law that made it illegal to deny the Holocaust.

Next thing I knew, I was sent hate messages and told by care2 that the group needed a warning or to be made private or to delete the thread. I chose to post the warning in the heading of the group. I was also told by someone that it was insulting for me to even bring up the topic of holocausts.

So with this reaction, is it any wonder England would pass a law forbidding the subject of the Holocaust?

It reminds me of the incident at Pittsburgh airport where a rabbi threatened to sue the airport because the airport had a Christmas tree and not a Star of David. So the airport took down the Christmas tree since it felt unable to represent every religion in the world.

Looking for stories on the subject, I found this I would like to share. It is by W. Owen Cole:

World Religions in Education

Shap Journal 2000 – 2001


It ain't necessarily so

W Owen Cole

Historians and traditionalists, which is what Religious Education teachers often are, frequently behave in different ways when faced with identical facts. The religious studies person is primarily concerned with the meaning of an event, not with whether it actually happened. Within the Christian tradition we may be used to this and have come to accept it, but have we? Recently, I was asked to moderate some MA essays about the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. Not one of the writers made the point that the evidence is almost totally unreliable; most of it comes from Christian sources, the New Testament, the rest is probably based on hearsay. No contemporary British court of law would give it a hearing. The students, and most of the tutors were Christians, so they were credulous to an extent that an historian is not allowed to be. Of course, the religious studies approach is to consider what the death and resurrection of Jesus mean. There are circumstances in which the RE teacher may have to be concerned with what actually happened. I select four examples from English history.

St Alban

Not, one would think a controversial character, but the actual date of his martyrdom, if discovered, might set back the Christian presence in Britain by one hundred years, from about 304 to just before 212. Usually his death is placed in the period of Diocletian's final great persecution, but the Caesar Constantine seems to have avoided the order being carried out. If, as records suggest, Alban was tried before a Caesar it mightwell have been a son of the Emperor Severus whoaccompanied him to Britain and became emperor whenhe died here. Is Alban part of the story of the Romanswhich we teach? Incidentally, when you teach the Romans what place do we give to Jesus, the member of the Roman Empire whohad the greatest influence upon world history, taking along view, of any member of the Empire? Or Paul, the best known Roman citizen? More is known about him than almost any of the emperors. Is it proper to be silent about them?

The Crusades

Most famously this is the story of Richard the Lionheart. You may not teach that allegedly he was gay but knowing this, does it affect your thinking about him or them? Is the all too common picture of gays as effeminate challenged? But also, the English hero had little time for these islands, visiting only twice, and briefly, to be crowned and raise money for the Third Crusade. (He did not love England as much as theEnglish have traditionally loved him). Crusaders raised much of the money they needed for the expedition from the Jews who were bankers, being allowed to do few other things, such as own landed estates. For aficionados of Robin Hood, if it all happened in the days of Richard, friars had not yet been invented! (pace, Harry Ramsden). In 1190 a crusader from York borrowed money fromthe Jews to finance his venture. He stirred up the citizens of York against the Jews who sheltered in Clifford's Tower where they were burned to death. He, meanwhile, went to the Minster where the bonds of the transaction were stored, and destroyed the evidence by burning it in the nave of the Minster. A hundred years later, 'the King's Jews', as they were known, having no wealth left, and so being of no value, were expelled from England. Among the last was a group put on a boat fora continental destination. Their boat grounded on the mud flats near the mouth of the Thames. The captain advised his cargo to stretch their legs. When the tide turned and the Jews tried to re-embark, they were repelled and left to drown, as he reminded them how God had helped them at the Red Sea! Officially, there were no Jews in England until Oliver Cromwell readmitted them in 1655. How did Shakespeare and his audience know that Shylock was a typical Jew? The story of Jewish massacres and the Jews' eventual expulsion, an episode of English history which I did not know about until 1990, reminds us that holocaust was not an isolated episode in Jewish history. The first British legislation aimed at controlling immigration was passedin 1905 when the British were anxious not to be overwhelmed by Jews seeking shelter from persecution in eastern Europe. Some of those who sought sanctuary in the thirties were turned away, often to face death. In the second world war period, Jewish and other refugees were sometimes put into concentration camps in fear that they might be spies. The story of British Jewry should serve as a reminder that the tolerant image which our governments seek to create and perpetuate is not necessarily true.


For many years I taught about Clarkson and
Wilberforce and England's part in suppressing the slave trade. Only comparatively recently have I discovered how active they had been in promoting the industry. Even more recent is my awareness that black African rulers shared with Europeans in the process of enslavement, a fact which some blacks have yet to come to terms with. Liverpool, Bristol, and the Industrial Revolution were built, not a little, on the foundations of slavery. As an interesting aside it might be noted thatnowhere in the New Testament is slavery condemned! Perhaps it does advocate humane slavery, as I heard someone argue recently. What is humane slavery? Incidentally, much as I enjoy the music of Nat King Cole, he reminds me continually, that at least one member of my clan owned slaves and made them take his name!

The legacy of Empire

The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre so vividly depicted inthe film Gandhi and the assault on participants in the Salt March alerted many people for the first time to a side of imperialism with which they were not familiar. Recent television programmes about the contribution of Commonwealth citizens to the British opposition to Germany in two world wars have brought about a realisation that two and a half million volunteers from what was India, and others from the Caribbean, came to the aid of what they were taught was the mother country. They were with the British Expeditionary Force,they faced the hazard of Dunkirk, they were at El Alamein and, most famously, in Burma. Yet how often are they seen even in news footage of these events? Churchill, apparently, did not like them. Montgomery preferred not to notice them, unlike his predecessor Auchinleck who spoke several Indian languages. Some years ago a plaque to the contribution of the Indians was unveiled by our present queen in St Paul's Cathedral, but in 1995 few Indians were to be seen in the national commemorative parades and the serviceswere purely Christian. Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs, who had volunteered to fight for the Empire and had won 28 VCs, were not allowed publicly to pray for Britain or the Commonwealth. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, as we might say, it might be remembered that non-conformists were often not well represented in Middlemarch and other nineteenth century novels, and that they were only invited to take part in the King's Coronation as recently as 1902. Roman Catholics, as opposed to pre-Reformation Catholics have yet to be offered a place. Times have changed. They will be next time, but is the UK yet multifaith enough to include other religions, not merely as guests but as full participants? A multifaith, multiracial Britain - it ain't necessarily so, yet. A healthy nation is one which can face up to its pastand then, like Pilgrim, let the weight fall off hisshoulders. First, however, it must be acknowledged that the toleration and decency on which we pride ourselvesis very recent. History cannot be eliminated but perhaps it can be redeemed. The RE teacher can do no more and no less than look for truth and on the way, perhaps win the respect of Hindus, Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs or not,who may sometimes regard confession as a sign of weakness. Meanwhile, it is up to them to reconsider their religious traditions in the light of a timely more accurate and realistic rewriting of history.

02 April 2007

Ethics Here in the U.S. Have Gone Nuts

Yesterday, while my husband and I were at Target, where I bought our cats a couple really adorable decorative collars, my husband told me that Circuit City was laying off thousands of workers just because they get too much money. They are getting layed off, then they can reapply for their job after 10 weeks at a discounted hourly rate. So I looked the story up and here it is on Yahoo news:

Circuit City to cut more than 3,500 jobs

Now, here is the part of the story that really gets to me:
The news of the layoffs came as a surprise to Rachelle Gouled, who earned
about $7.75 an hour working on the sales floor at a Circuit City in Roseville,

$7.75 and hour, and Congress has been talking about raising the minimum wage, and there was concern for small businesses...Circuit City is not a small business. Obviously, it is the large Corporation that does not want the minimum wage to become a living wage, as evidence here.
$7.75 times 40 hours a week is only $310.00 a week. And that is gross. Take out federal, state, local, occupation privilege taxes and the employee takes home less than $300.00 a week. Now, there are 52 weeks in a year. $310.00 times 52 weeks is only $16,120.00 gross yearly pay if they work a full 40 hours every week in the year without a vacation.

And this is too much money for a corporation to pay a hard-working deserving employee?

Yet, CEOs who work only 10 months and are fired for incompetence receive a parting gift of $25 million dollars. Now where is the logic?

Fortune magazine says this:


Voters are outraged. Big investors are
demanding change. Even some CEOs admit there's a crisis. But rewards that defy all economic logic don't simply spring from greed. Corporate America's executive-compensation system is broken.

A look at CEO earnings (for 1 year)

  • Lee Raymond
    $405 Million
    That's the 2005 comp, lump-sum pension, and current value of various stock grants with which Exxon's chief rides into retirement.

  • Bob Nardelli
    $250 Million
    The total value of the package Home Depot has paid him so far. He's collected about 30%. The rest varies with the stock price.

  • William McGuire
    $1 Billion
    UnitedHealth's CEO holds a ton of options. Alleged accounting flaws have hit the stock. But his potential reward (above) remains rich.

  • Hank McKinnell
    $99 Million
    Pfizer's CEO took heat for a hefty pension built up over many years (present value: $83 million). He earned $16 million in 2005.

  • Franklin Raines
    $90 Million
    Fannie Mae's boss made that from 1998 to 2003. But auditors now say the earnings his comp was based on were overstated by $11 billion.

  • Phil Purcell
    $66 Million

So how is it an executive can make millions when they obvioulsy do not perform their jobs well, yet people who do perform their jobs well who make less than 20 thousand dollars a year get fired for making too much money?

Yet, look at our vice-president. He is associated with Halliburtion, which is making billions of dollars from our tax money to help line the Vice-President's pockets with millions of dollars...so much that last year, our vice-president received a 1.2 million dollar tax refund.

So obviously, while our politicians are lining their personal pockets with the tragedy that has befallen the U.S., can we really expect change before we vote the greedy, self-serving S.O.B.s out of office?

The insanity needs to stop!

01 March 2007

Email I received today from one of my Senators

Dear Ms. Count-Wayt:

Thank you for contacting my office regarding the treatment of prisoners detained by the United States in connection with the global war on terrorism. I appreciate hearing from you.

The United States has no higher priority than the war against terrorism. In the course of this struggle, we must make every effort to detain those who engage in acts of terrorism and to obtain information from detainees that will enable us to prevent future attacks. At the same time, it is imperative we wage the war in a way that upholds the values the United States has always advanced, making clear by our actions and our example that we stand for freedom and fairness.

In the June 2006 Supreme Court decision, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld , the Court held that military commissions used in prosecuting enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay must be authorized by Congress and must obey the legal obligations of the Geneva Conventions' Common Article III and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The decision explicitly urged Congress to legislate a solution by properly establishing military commissions to try alien unlawful enemy combatants.

Following the Hamdan decision, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee worked with President Bush to craft legislation to establish military tribunals. I generally supported the legislation drafted by these Senators and the administration; however, I had serious reservations about a provision in the bill which eliminated detainees' right to habeas corpus. Habeas corpus is the right of those in custody to challenge their detainment in court. During my tenure as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 109th Congress, I held a hearing on September 25, 2006, to specifically address habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees. During the Senate's consideration of the legislation, I offered an amendment which would have guaranteed habeas corpus for detainees. Unfortunately, the amendment failed on a narrow 48-51 vote.

On September 28, 2006 the Senate passed the Military Commissions Act by a vote of 65-34. Although my amendment was rejected, I voted in favor of the bill because I believe, without this legislation, the ability of our government to effectively fight the global war on terrorism would be hindered. I believe this legislation is severable, meaning the legislation was composed in a fashion where a court could rule on the constitutionality of individual provisions without rendering the entire legislation unconstitutional. Therefore, I am confident the courts will address the legislation's constitutionality by ruling on the provision limiting habeas corpus.

Although I believe courts will ultimately strike down the habeas corpus provisions of the Military Commissions Act as unconstitutional, as a cautionary measure, I have introduced S.185, the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act. This legislation would ensure detainees have the ability to challenge their detention in federal courts. While the 109th Congress did not yield sufficient time to consider this legislation, I look to move forward on this legislation in the early days of the 110th Congress.

I supported the Military Commissions Act because, aside from the problematic habeas corpus language, the bill enacts good policy. It amplifies Congress's previous legislation prohibiting torture. Additionally, the bill provides that military commissions must be established in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice and Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions. Finally, it establishes specific guidelines for the use of hearsay evidence and coerced testimony and the handling of classified information.

As a member of the United States Senate, I have a consistent record of voting to ensure we adhere to the same values we fight to protect. On October 5, 2005, I voted in favor of an amendment introduced by Senator John McCain to the Fiscal Year 2006 Department of Defense Appropriations Act prohibiting "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment" of detainees. This amendment passed on a 90-9 vote in the Senate and was signed into law by President Bush on December 30, 2005. During consideration of the Fiscal Year 2005 Defense Authorization Act, I supported an amendment offered by Senator Leahy that stated it is policy of the United States to treat prisoners in its control humanely. Furthermore, I cosponsored an amendment offered by Senator Durbin reaffirming prisoners of war and enemy combatants must not be tortured or treated inhumanely. In light of the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq , I cosponsored the Senate resolution that condemned the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib and called for a full and complete investigation to ensure justice is served.

On June 25, 2003, I wrote to National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice expressing my concern over the mistreatment of enemy combatants in the custody of the United States . Our reputation has been significantly marred by the abuse of some detainees. The images and stories appearing in both the American, and perhaps more significantly, the Arab and international media have the potential to damage America 's standing as the unquestioned champion of human rights and the rule of law.

I believe the United States should make it clear that all interrogations of enemy combatants are conducted in a manner consistent with our obligations under the "Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment." This treaty, ratified by the United States , provides the most widely accepted definition of torture and other forms of unlawful mistreatment.

Thank you again for contacting me. The concerns of my constituents are of great importance to me, and I rely on you and other Pennsylvanians to inform me of your views. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office or visit my website at http://specter.senate.gov .


Arlen Specter