Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Is a candidate’s point of view on abortion rights enough for me to vote, or not vote, for him or her?

I was looking through my Facebook comments this morning and read one comment directed toward Tom Campbell, my choice for California governor in 2010. This person wrote, “Tom, I’m disappointed to hear you condone abortion.”

My pro-choice beliefs are where I draw the line with the Republican party. I have been pro-choice forever, but I also believe there is a higher power at work who will ultimately let each of us know if our individual abortion beliefs are enough to keep us out of Heaven.

Still, I have more in common with the Republican party (or libertarian, if only it were a major force politically, because that is really where I am at) so that’s not enough to drive me over to the other side!

I have had to use this option twice, the first time with an ectopic pregnancy, the second when I had pelvic inflammatory disease bad enough that I was hospitalized for 10 days, treated with some nasty antibiotics that are known to cause major birth defects. Did I take each decision lightly? No. Do I think about those lost children 30 years later? Yes. And yes, I think of them as children, not as tissue, though had I been asked, I would have donated the contents of my uterus for stem cell research.

Just because I am pro-choice doesn’t mean that I take abortion lightly. Far from it. There are times I wish that government could be more intrusive when it comes to women who use abortion in lieu of birth control, and make that decision as lightly as a decision as to what to eat for lunch. I have no problem whatsoever with involuntary sterilization for repeat offenders, let’s say for a woman who has three or more abortions in a 12-month period, or women who have more than two children whose births were paid for by public funds, or men who have multiple baby mamas and kids they do not pay for.

But, we live in the United States and one could argue this is something that China would do, and we like to think we are far more civilized than China.

Let me also say I am against any sort of abortion later than 12 weeks into a pregnancy. I suppose there are rare instances where a pregnancy needs to be terminated to save a woman’s life, but that should not be the first treatment offered, for example, a woman with preeclampsia at 18 weeks has an abortion instead of a trial of medication and bedrest. If I were currently back at bedside nursing, I would not take care of this patient if another nurse was available. You can bet I’d be working most of my shift in silent prayer, asking for His forgiveness, if I had to provide care for her.

Is a political candidate’s view on abortion enough for me to vote or not vote for him or her? For me the answer is no—there are far more pressing things an elected official should be worrying about. And with our form of government, I don’t believe any one person would be able to ramrod his or her opinion about abortion into the law of the land in this day and age.

With the availability of so many birth control methods today, there is little reason for a woman to not be using some method of contraception (not to mention HIV hasn’t gone anywhere and condoms are still the second-best method to minimize risk [the first method being abstention], so I am not letting males off the hook as far as pregnancy prevention is concerned). Yes, birth control can and does fail, but using something is certainly better than using nothing at all.

I also have no problem with government funds being used for abortions, with a caveat that I hinted to above. Repeat offenders need to have an IUD placed or their tubes tied or an endometrial ablation that will render them unable to carry a baby. Period. No more trusting these women to seek birth control or act responsibly. Two babies on welfare and a subsequent abortion=sterilization. Two or three abortions in a calendar year=involuntary birth control, including sterilization. (I admit it’s harder to chase down baby daddies and give ‘em a clip and snip, which would be far more economical.)

I appreciate Tom Campbell’s view on a woman’s ability to choose. I suspect he feels it’s not a decision to be used lightly, and I suspect he’d prefer pregnancy prevention to pregnancy termination. Is it the only reason I will vote for him? Not at all. And if he were against a woman’s right to choose, I’d still vote for him, knowing there are checks and balances in government and that right now the political climate overall and the law of the land leans toward a woman’s right to choose.

Right now politicians need to concentrate on things that affect everyone currently living in this nation—curbing government spending, securing borders, repairing infrastructure, and giving our troops the support they need to be successful in whatever mission the federal government sends them into. Once every single problem that we have in this country is solved (haha!), politicians can revisit stuff like this.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Mayfield saga continues

I used to love watching NASCAR races, especially back when it was still called “Winston Cup” and my favorite driver Bill Elliott was still competing full-time. Now, I’m kind of meh on it because I think the sport has lost its way with the emphasis on “youth” and “marketable drivers.”

But I admit I’m enjoying watching the Jeremy Mayfield saga unfold. It's much more compelling than the stupid "Chase for the Cup" crap they cooked up a few years back. yawn. Mayfield's providing plenty of amusement to a waning fan like me.

I wrote about it back in June here:


Today CA$HCAR (my name for the sanctioning body today) has asked a judge for a full examination of Mayfield, to determine if he has a substance abuse problem or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Recall that he was “diagnosed” with ADHD in March during a 30-minute doctor visit.

Mayfield conveniently forgot to tell CA$HCAR that he’d been diagnosed with ADHD and was on Adderall for it. I’ve also told you how easy it is for drivers to update their medical records, which travel with the series. You just go into the infield care center and tell someone and it’s added to your record. Takes five minutes.

Well, Mayfield forgot to do that, at least until he had a positive test for amphetamines. He then said “oops forgot to tell y’all about the Adderall, and I took a Claritin D, too.”

From what I know about drug testing, yes, Adderall will give you a positive in a screening test, as will the “d” in Claritin D. However, there are additional tests that will tell you just what the amphetamine is, and apparently Mayfield’s tests say methamphetamine specifically. He has also failed a second random test.

I honestly don’t think CA$HCAR has any sort of vendetta for Mayfield. He’s not a star in any sense of the word, but he was a regional good old boy never meaning no harm. Just there, you know. He’s never been a driver I’ve liked at all, but that is more of a personal thing, not that I know him, but because of his dumping his wife who’d stuck by his sorry ass while he was working his way through the stock car racing ranks, supporting him monetarily and physically.

But Mayfield’s dumb as hell. He could have avoided this whole thing by saying “Yep I have a problem, put me into the substance abuse program.” It was his first offense, and the whole thing would have been done and forgotten by now.

But Mayfield fought the positive test tooth and nail. He’s now pretty much bankrupt himself, blackballed himself from the sport, and is acting like a paranoid hillbilly on meth with his countersuits and protestations of innocence.

If he’s got Adderall I don’t believe he needs it. I think that he found himself less full of energy, running his own team as driver-owner, and at the age of 40, needed a little umph. So all you gotta do is take one of those little online “are you ADHD” screening tests, know what to say to your doctor, and viola! You have a prescription for Adderall. In a non-ADHD brain, Adderall is simply legal cocaine. Or legal methamphetamine. No need to cook up a batch in the shop anymore!

Thus far CA$HCAR has three witness affidavits stating that Mayfield has been observed using meth.

His goose is cooked. He should have just taken the treatment option even if he felt he didn’t need it.

And I hate to say this, I think CA$HCAR is doing the right thing, no matter how ugly it gets.

NASCAR asks judge for full examination of Mayfield

Right now Mayfield is his own worst enemy

Sunday, September 20, 2009

more anger directed at my father ... at my age,no less!

I hate that the crap left by my father is still running through my head and causes me grief and pain. I try to think of something, anything, he said to me as a kid or young adult that did indeed come to pass. My dad Robert was a master manipulator and I let him do it, I did what he asked because he was so good at saying that everything he did, he did for his family, so we could live comfortably and not worry about finances.

While he was alive I seldom asked him for anything. My brother and sister were real good at asking for stuff, and getting it handed to them. My father provided a house for my sister and her daughter, and on a regular basis, my brother would ask my father for money, either for business (he had a satellite installation business and drove long-haul trucks for awhile) or his hobby, racing cars. My dad handed over thousands of dollars to my brother, $10,000 at a time usually.

When my daughter needed to attend a special school, I did not ask my father for a dime of the annual $13K tuition (she was at that school for three years). Nor did he offer any assistance. He was too busy buying my stepsisters cars and trips and designer clothes and family vacations to Hawaii and Mexico, luxuries my siblings and mother never had because we were “sacrificing for the future.” He'd even paid for two years at that same school for his youngest stepdaughter, the one he ended up adopting.

He promised there would be money for college for his eldest granddaughter (actually all of his granddaughters). That didn’t come to pass either.

My dad lead me to believe that his estate would be somewhat pro-rated, that he was keeping track of what the other two cost him. From the late 1970s he held the promise of acreage over my head; he subdivided property and at one point, actually told me to go ahead and install a driveway, trees and a watering system on a 5-acre lot. We spent about 6 months planting, digging, and grading a home site, only to have my father say “My brother says we cannot afford to give you that lot, but I will give you a lot when the ranch (in my family’s possession since before I was born) is subdivided.” I shrugged it off, figuring my father had no reason to lie to me, and made plans for another home site. My father said that he would sign over the lot once his accountant told him he could do so, and he’d sign over his half of about 100 hilly acres so I could keep my horses.

Again we grated a home site and a driveway, looked into fencing and housing for horses, and acquired house plans. Again my father said “My brother says he cannot afford to sell you his half of that 100 acres at a discounted price. Pick another lot and as soon as my accountant tells me how I can maximize tax benefits, I will sign the lot over to you.”

I had house plans drawn up for that third promised lot.

Three promises, three promises unfulfilled. Why did I keep believing him?

When he died, his widow knew which lot my father had promised me. She conveniently “forgot” or claimed no such promise had ever been made. The lot was next to my father’s palatial home, and we joked I’d be able to take care of his dogs while he and Norma were off enjoying their retirement.

I wonder if my anger/hatred should be 100 percent directed at my father or his greedy widow. Perhaps they deserve it, 50-50. Her daughters now have the ability to go to their mother and ask for money at any time.

I do not have that luxury. I’m living from check to check, scared shitless, trying to get my kid through college. Much of the real estate owned by my father was sold by his widow and she took a full 50 percent of the proceeds. She receives all income from the investment properties. She bellyaches how she has to pay for everything as far as maintenance is concerned, and thinks the estate should have to pay. How can I pay for anything when I have no income from the properties at all? I’m supposed to pay out-of-pocket so she can have an income?

I had to give my horses away because I had no place to keep them. I’d like to think that my father would not have allowed that to happen, he knew how much they meant to me. His wife of course did not share his feelings, and she didn’t give a damn about what happened to my horses. I miss those horses every day, wish I had a place where I could have a horse in the first place.

When the widow dies, I will receive 1/6 of my father’s estate. I am forever tied to her daughters, including the youngest one who cared so much to be adopted that when she married, I (her "sister") wasn’t invited to the shindig.

I’ve said this before—I know it’s unhealthy to pray for karma to come back on someone, but I do. I want that woman to know that now I hate my father, that any pleasant memory I have of him ends up going by the wayside, thinking of the lies he told me to keep me in line all those years. Psychotherapy is probably a good idea, but I can’t afford that at all right now.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Random half-thoughts

Half-thought #1

I promised I’d write a bit more about Tuesday’s presidential message to school kids, and why I had a problem with it. Actually I had several problems with it …

The first issue is trust. I totally did not trust this current presidential administration to stay on topic—which was supposed to be “stay in school.” If that was the message, why was part of the original lesson plan to write a letter to the president and tell him what you will do to help him. Excuse me, but the president works for us. He’s there to help us, to serve this nation and do what’s right for this country, including upholding our Constitution. I’d have been angry if this had been an assignment from a Republican administration. Politics have no place in the classroom. I remember as a child that teachers stayed from very heated subjects—and remember, I was in elementary school in the 1960s. Teachers didn’t talk about how bad (or good) Vietnam was, about why we were there, or which president put us there. They’d say the U.S. was at war to defeat communism and left it at that. I remember in 1968, in seventh grade, how we had mock elections in my civics class and the discussion was utterly student-driven. No doubt kids got their talking points from parents, but teachers did not reveal their party affiliations in any way, shape or form.

The second issue is that of timing. This message could have happened anytime in the school year. Why on the first day of school for many districts? Was this so parents would not be able to object to the lesson?

The third issue is audience. No need to preach to primary-aged kids about staying in school—if they have parents with only half a brain cell, those parents have to be smart enough to know that kids need to finish high school at the minimum. Better to give that talk to junior high and high school students, and be honest enough to say that college is not for everyone, but there certainly are trade schools and vocational education that will meet nearly everyone’s needs.

One of my friends told me about something that happened to her high school-aged kid the first week of school. This kid had a homeroom/core teacher who had two boxes of pencils, and asked students to take a pencil from one of the boxes. When her kid took a pencil from one of the boxes, the teacher said “Ewwww, you don’t want to take a pencil from the Republican box!”

Her child has been moved from that teacher to another, and she reported what that teacher said to the principal. I hope she doesn’t stop and also reports it to the district superintendent. No place for that in our schools today, period!

Half-thought #2

I wish that Representative Joe Wilson hadn’t felt the need to apologize for thinking out loud during the president’s delivery of his latest propaganda. Perhaps that wasn’t the time or place to say, “You lie,” but the truth hurts, doesn’t it Nerobama?

I bet over 50 percent of U.S. citizens who can legally vote agree with those words.

Half-thought #3: The “N” word

There are two words in the English language that I have a real problem with: the word cunt and the word nigger. And I hate the “n” word whether it’s uttered by a white person, black person, brown person, or whatever color pops up. Of course if a non-black person uses that word it’s racist, but it’s perfectly okay for black people to call each other nigger or some rap music-inspired version of it.

On Tuesday I was waiting for the light rail by a park that is frequented by lots of homeless people, drug addicts and people who would have been better off at a place like Agnews used to be. I’m always a bit nervous sitting there, waiting for the right train, so I am hypervigilant almost to the point of paranoia.

A pair of buses pulled up into their spaces, and passengers began to board. Suddenly a very obese black man with no shirt on came running as best he could across the street, hollering for the bus to wait. No problem, there was a line.

In the meantime, a black woman came from the end of the block screaming every racial epithet used on black people. She was screaming for the bus driver to not let “that motherfucking nigger-ass onto that bus!” She was screaming so incoherently I have no idea what he did to offend her. As she got closer to the bus the man jumped down from the steps (he now had a shirt on) and he took off walking (this guy was seriously obese, a la Fat Albert). The gal stepped halfway on the bus screaming at the bus driver to call “fucking 911 on that nigger’s ass.” Apparently the bus driver didn’t do as she asked, and she jumped off the bus, screaming racial epithets at the Latina bus driver. The gal starts running after the guy, and I realize I am between them. What if either or both had a gun? Then I thought how much it sucked that I thought that, probably because both people were black and the gal was so obviously out of control.

Fortunately a cop had the misfortune to drive by and she flagged him over, screaming incoherently yet again, the epithets flying. The cop flipped a U-turn and went after the fat guy, who had walked to the end of the block, not once breaking out into a run. Who knows what happened, because my train came and I was happy to climb aboard.

I hate to make blanket statements about a group of people, especially because I know so many good friends whose skin color happens to be black, and I know those people do not use that word in any way, shape or form. But the double-standard in its usage pisses me off. It’s a nasty word, a negative word. Use it and the world around you thinks a whole lot less of you, and may be scared of you. To me, it’s offensive regardless of the skin color of the person using the word.

Half-thought #4

The San Francisco County District Attorney Kamala Harris announced that her office would not be seeking the death penalty against Edwin Ramos, an illegal alien career criminal gang banger with his very own anchor baby, who murdered a SF man and two of his sons in broad daylight in June 2008. The worst that can happen to him is life in prison without the possibility of parole (haha right that's easy to change!) if he is convicted. Remember we are talking about an San Francisco jury—those people are who elected Kamala Harris in the first place! Even though one of the Bologna sons survived the attack and is now an eye witness, that may not be enough to put Ramos away!

To contrast, the San Joaquin County DA announced that it will seek the death penalty against Melissa Huckaby who is accused of killing eight year old Sandra Cantu and stuffing her body into a suitcase. At least that is being put on the table for the jury to decide.

Both cases have special circumstances attached which makes the murders death-penalty eligible. Thing is, Ramos will be a hero in prison, a gang leader, someone for the little gangstas to look up to. At least if he were on death row his contact with other people would be limited. If he ends up in prison he'll be a big man ...

I don't know if a San Joaquin County jury would be able to give the death penalty to Melissa Huckaby. I still think that one's going to get a change of venue. Here in Santa Clara County would make it possible for me to attend that trial; the superior court building is just 10 light rail stops away from where I live.

Enough for now. I think sleep can come now ...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Where do God-given gifts go?

Seems as if I’ve not been doing any writing; most of my stuff is on the Trials and Tribulations blog or Facebook.

August of course was a month for loss. I’m not going to say anything about Ted Kennedy ‘cause my mom said if I can’t say something nice, don’t say anything. She also said “Don’t speak ill of the dead.” So to quote Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

I am more torn up about the loss of Dominick Dunne.

I’m not going to write a mini-bio of his life; Google it yourself. I admire Dominick for his gift with the written word, his ability to include his readers right into whatever event is was covering or commenting upon. His work was readable yet intelligent; opinionated but relatable by every man (and woman). Everyone knows what a passionate victims' rights advocate he became after the travesty of justice involved in the conviction of the crazy who murdered his beautiful daughter, Dominique.

With the loss of Dominick, I wondered what happens to those extraordinary abilities God gives to some people. Are those gifts simply lost? Do they float around waiting to be reincarnated into some child somewhere who may or may not ever nurture those abilities?

About a week after his death, I started having a very vivid dream about what happens to those abilities. Three days later, I started writing an outline and character profiles. I am leaning toward the story itself being a bit of a gothic horror story/cautionary tale, if you will. I also signed up for November’s National Novel Writing Month. I’m not sure if it’s cheating, working on the character profiles, or having an outline, or even having decided it’s a gothic horror story instead of chick lit, which also worked for the story.

Did Dominick hear me? Did God hear me? So many of my friends tell me I write well; when I was in elementary school my teachers encouraged me to write fiction. Did I have those abilities all along or did someone kick me in the butt?

I’m also working on a friend’s story, a children's story—the plot is 100% her idea but she has problems writing characters … or even a story for that matter. It’s tough to keep a story to someone else’s vision, even if you know that person’s vision may not be giving the story very good service or readability. This thing that is in my head—it’s so completely thought out, it could not have possibly come from me alone.

I plan to aggravate my bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome in November if I haven’t already done it.

P.S. To keep my thoughts a bit political, I would be keeping my kid home from school on Tuesday. I promise to take time on September 8 to share my feelings about that little bit of propaganda coming from Washington, D.C.

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