I must say that I am even more in respect of Mr. Trudeau after reading his autobiography. The first half of the book is about his family, childhood and how all of that shaped him into the man that he is. He speaks of his mother and her struggle with bi-polar disease, how she has become a spokesperson for it and his immense respect and love for her. His father, former PM of Canada and strict in many ways, but also a very loving father. He took time every day to spend quality time with his children. And raised them to never believe themselves ,to be better than others, with some very interesting examples. He speaks of the loss of his brother and the crushing impact it had on the family. He speaks of his wife, Sofie, how they had known each other through his brother, the depth of the love and respect he holds for her and the family they have made.
The respect he shows for all people shows as a part of his core makeup as is evidenced by his words. His belief in women’s rights, the rights of immigrants, the rights of the poor and displaced. The theme that is repeated throughout the book is, We are stronger not in spite of, but because of our diversity. We, as Americans, can learn much from his lessons.
I have probably somewhat unfairly given it only four stars because I was far less enraptured with the second half of the book as he spoke at much length about his rise through the political system. Though I realize its importance, I found it rather tedious at many points. I did appreciate the things he had to say about equality and a more equal distribution of wealth, which most economists state as a necessity for a healthy economy and society. And though the US holds the gauntlet on the extremes on this, it has become an issue in many, if not most countries. He also spoke much about the inclusion of all people in Canada and how they came close to becoming two Canadas and the steps taken that prevented that. He ends the book with an absolutely beautiful First Nation’s poem.
Its worth reading to learn more about this amazing man and its also full of pictures of him! 🙂
I got a bit of a reality check this week. I needed to make an appointment with an OB/Gyn for a procedure my regular physician couldn’t do. I was annoyed with an unprofessional behavior by the receptionist at this doctor’s office and wanted to look into other doctors that might be an option. So, I looked through the directory on my insurance company’s page. What I discovered in this search was quite a bit beyond disturbing. Shy of driving all the way into either Seattle or Kirkland (both over 60 miles from where I live), the office my doctor referred me to is one of only two OB/Gyn clinic/hospital that is not owned by the Catholic church. Even Swedish has recently been bought into by the church, though they are stating that the church is allowing them to remain secular in their treatment (though I am sure that will change rapidly). They are also attempting to buy into UW medicine.
Now granted, I am past my childbearing period of life, so I don’t personally have need of birth control or abortion services. But, I am a woman and that makes this a vital issue to me. I do not believe that my medical care should be governed by a religious doctrine I don’t believe in and has absolutely no merit in science or human rights for that matter. And I also understand that there are far more issues than just birth control and abortion and many fertility treatments, though those two would be enough for me to want to take up the sword and do battle over.
We are in a time when many efforts are underway across the country to curtail and block women’s access to reproductive health options. One of the more common attempts being waged right now is the demand that an abortion clinic have admitting rights to a hospital within a specified radius. Even if such a demand had a merit based in medical science or evidence of a need, which there isn’t, such an admitting right would be denied by any religious owned hospital. I am lucky that there is ONE, count them ONE hospital in a 50 mile radius that is not owned by the Catholic Church. Most of these hospitals have been purchased by this church in the last handful of years. Funny how that works out, doesn’t it?
The Catholic church has made a particular focus on buying up hospitals and clinics in areas that have a tolerant and diverse population that is not about to pass legislation limiting a woman’s access to reproductive services nor a gay’s right to marriage and the rights that go with that. The solution? Buy the clinics where you can impose the Bishop’s Directives on the staff and the treatment. Its a fun little read. Guaranteed to even set the hair on many Christians, nay, even the Catholics on end when they realize how little control they have over their bodies when in the hands of these people (estimated 99% of married Catholic women have used birth control). You can read it here. Ethical-Religious-Directives-Catholic-Health-Care-Services-fifth-edition-2009
And somehow, in allowing these buy ups to happen, we have once again fallen into the pit of forgetting history. There was a time when medicine (such as it was then) was under the jurisdiction and iron thumb of the church. The orphanages as well. So long as you were born of “legitimate” parents.
“And in general, the only provision for illegitimate babies was the parish poorhouses or, from 1722, the workhouses where they frequently died of neglect. Mortality rates were extremely high: over 74% of children born in London died before they were five. In workhouses the death rate increased to over 90%.”
Oh, but that was ancient history, you say. (actually not all that ancient, but the really ancient history is far more violent). But the church has changed and is now a source of goodness and charity and compassion you say? Remember Mother Teresa, you say? Alas, she has been shown to be as much of a sham as the rest of the church’s doings. Seems she collected millions and millions in charitable donations to allow the patients in her charge to die in suffering and squalor. But, she lived as they did, you say. No, she did not. When she needed medical care, she got the best there
Then we have the church’s white slavery of young girls. The Magdalene Laundries. Again, not so ancient history. Maybe this is what they have in mind when they are taking over the women’s clinics, hospitals and other medical establishments. They are getting tired of doing their own dirty laundry.
“The Good Shepherd Sisters, a Roman Catholic religious institute for women, is one of the orders being charged with the enslavement and abuse of thousands of women in what are called “Magdalene Laundries.” Last one closing in 1996”
Now, I don’t care what a person believes. But, I do care when they bully their way into my access to proper medical care and impose their archaic and ignorant beliefs on what treatments I may or may not be allowed to receive. I take huge issue with their buying up hospitals for what I believe to be the sole purpose of barring me and other women and men for that matter from accessing the care we have a right to. Care our insurance gives us the coverage for.
No, I am not of child bearing years and that part does not affect me personally. But, it does affect my daughter, my friends and their children. Not only does their doctrine prohibit abortion and contraception, it also prohibits IVF and any fertility treatment that doesn’t include sexual intercourse. Which really baffles me coming from a church whose priests and nuns take a vow of celibacy. Not that the priests actually hold to that, unless you disallow it as sex if it involves raping young children.
But, I also live in a state that should I become terminally ill, I have the legal right to have a doctor issue me a lethal dose of medication if I want to end my suffering. Their “doctrine” will not allow that doctor to grant me my legal rights that were voted in. Plus, they have the right to decide if the plug is pulled. Their doctrine does not allow for research with stem cells, fetal tissues. Their doctrine does not allow for science. Their doctrine does not allow for progress. Their doctrine will take us back to leeches and bloodletting (and yes, I know there are some instances where those are used in modern medicine now).
All this coming from a church who claims a “moral high ground” and says their concern is to save lives. A church who when they held the hospitals and orphanages in their control, threw out orphans into the street if their parents weren’t married. Imprisoned young women in sweatshop slavery if they got pregnant. Ran hospitals for the dying where they didn’t even offer them pain relieving medicine or any comforts. Why????? Because they believe suffering brings one closer to “God”. Ya know? I really don’t want to be close to something that wants me to suffer like that first and I really don’t understand why anyone would.
I am the mother of a gay son. A son who is one of the most amazing blessings I have had in my life. A son who deserves to be treated with the same respect, the same dignity, the same relevance as anyone else. There is no doubt in my mind that it is only a matter of time until they refuse him and his friends to be at their partner’s dying bedside because it is against their beliefs. Sooner if one of the Rabid Republicans takes office this election. Add to that their refusing to offer medical aid to the LGBT community. If they will turn away children born out of wedlock, they will turn away gays. They have already begun to petition for this “right”.
Women fought for the right to vote, the right to have control over our bodies, the right to make choices. Gays have also fought for such rights. People of color, of different religions, no religion have fought for the right to live free and independent lives. To have reasonable choices available.
When a hospital enters the private sector, accepts patients of different faiths, accepts their insurance payments, the government grants and monies allotted by the government, they are obligated to set aside their religious beliefs. They must serve the people according to their patient’s beliefs. Or they must withdraw from the hospitals that serve us.
We have the right to be treated within the law, within our wishes and understanding of our bodies. We have the right to be treated with science, not superstition. We have fought for those rights and earned them. Alas, the rights aren’t worth the paper they are written on when there are those that can bar the doors.
How can these religious/secular hospital mergers affect patients?
When secular (non-religious) community hospitals merge with religiously-sponsored hospitals and agree to adopt religious restrictions, patients can suddenly discover they have lost access to vital reproductive health care services and may encounter interference with the ability to make decisions about end-of-life care.
Under the directives, the reality for women who find themselves at a Catholic hospital means they have:
No access to abortion—even in cases of rape or incest (Directive 45)
No access to in-vitro fertilization (Directives 37, 38, 39)
No access to contraception (Directive 52)
No treatment for ectopic pregnancy (Directive 48)
None of the benefits of embryonic stem-cell research (Directive 51)
No respect for their advance medical directives (Directive 24)
The sole exception to the ban on contraception falls under Directive 36, which only allows the provision of emergency contraception (EC) in cases of sexual assault when it can be proven that pregnancy has not occurred. This creates an unnecessary restriction, as EC does not interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg. Evidence also suggests that many Catholic hospitals rarely provide EC even under the circumstances approved by the directives. A 2006 study found that 35 percent of Catholic hospitals did not provide EC under any circumstances, while 47 percent refused to provide referrals to hospitals that did. Of those that provided referrals, only 47 percent of these led to a hospital that actually provided EC.
“I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue [New York] and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” he said. “It’s, like, incredible.” Donald Trump – January, 2016
This is NOT an anti-Trump post, though there is no doubt how I feel about the man. He is an obnoxious racist, sexist, arrogant megalomaniac who lacks any diplomatic savvy, respect or decorum. And it is NOT an anti-gun spiel. I’m not anti gun. I just believe in rational restrictions on them.
This is about something different. Something that it took his latest tyrade comment to bring to light. Allow his comment to sink in for just a bit. Really sink in. He could stand on 5th Avenue and shoot someone and not lose voters. There is no disclaimer about self defense, no reason given. Just that he could shoot any unnamed person on a city street and not lose voters. Is it beginning to sink in yet? Take Trump’s face out of the picture and replace it with any other politician, then put the words back in. “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue [New York] and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters, It’s, like, incredible.”
The thing that frightens me is that I believe he is far too accurate in his statement for my comfort. Not because of “him”, but because this country that has prided itself on independence, freedom, originality, would BLINDLY follow ANY leader, potential leader. Tossing aside their beliefs, their morals, their common sense. That so many could applaud and cheer a man after making such a statement.
Now, please don’t tell me it was in jest. Maybe it was. But, there was truth in his words. And it is the truth that should make us step back and take a good long look at what we have become as a people. That we have gone from a people that honors and touts virtuous behavior, being a champion for good and equality in the world, being the innovative front runners, being educational and science pioneers. We didn’t achieve these things in our past by blindly following the Reality Show flavor of the month. We did so by NOT following a self proclaimed messiah.
Oh, we have had small factions surface with blind devotees. Scientologists, Jonestown, etc. And they should serve as a reminder to us of what comes of following such people. First, the death of the spirit, then the death of freedom, then just death.
Now, as much as many would like to hang this around Trump’s neck, the reality is that he has simply brought to light a phenomenon that has been taking place in our society for quite some time. And he is not alone in claiming the reprehensible of the presidential nominees. We have one that has actually bragged that he tried to attack his own mother with a hammer, that he knifed a fellow student in school. A few that would set Christianity as the national religion. In this land of Jews and Christians and Muslims and Buddhists and Pagans and Atheists and everything else. In this melting pot, they would make a single dish.
When you add to that the extremes at both ends of the spectrum, the militant combativeness of one side, the don’t say anything that might be uncomfortable to anyone’s ears on the other, it is not surprising that we are seeing the rise of extreme characters in the forums. I have even heard that there are university campuses where free speech zones are in small isolated areas, professors are being forced to not teach areas of a subject because a student has a problem with the subject. Colleges and universities should be a place for debating difficult subjects and not liking a historical event doesn’t negate that it happened. And then we have the other end which takes up armed occupations of federal lands and believes the meaning of religious freedom is the ability to impose your religious beliefs on everyone else.
It kind of feels like most of the country has regressed to childhood tantrums between the bullies and the cry babies. Common sense has just been tossed out the window. The lines have been drawn deeply between us and not a one will allow for any blurring of those lines so that we might open a thoughtful discussion, even a loud and shouting one that can lead to some constructive movement. We needn’t give up who we are, what we believe in, to live together. It isn’t necessary for our neighbors to share in our beliefs. In truth, if we but open our minds and hearts a little, we might see the color they bring to our world. Their form of worship, or lack of, only poses a threat to yours if you create one. And as you would fight should they try and deprive you of your right to live according to your mores and interests, so should you refrain from imposing yours upon them.
Saviors are a false delusion. In most instances, they become a very dangerous delusion that lead us into destruction. History is riddled with volumes of examples of such people. And, as I stated earlier, as much as I would like to hang the villain tag around Trump’s neck, the truth is that it could be anyone that has elicited such a following. Even if they begin with good intents. The kind of devotion they create births a messiah delusion that will soon infect them as much as it infects its followers. And absolute power corrupts absolutely. Every time.
And we don’t need a messiah. We don’t need someone that we will follow blindly, no matter what they do or have done. Our “leaders” should be our voices condensed. They should speak the voice of the people, all the people. We need to stop listening to their message of fear and hate and remember that we are a people diverse, yet united. We need to remember that our motto is E Pluribus Unum, Out of the Many, One. We are an independent and freedom loving people. We are not followers. No leader of ours should EVER be followed blindly. No leader of ours should ever be above question. Our citizens should never follow blindly.
There is a reason the eagle is our national symbol. He follows no one blindly.
I haven’t quite started this new year off well. Weeks late on a first post and a couple weeks behind on my weekly photo shots. Ah well, better late than never.
In closing the book on the old year, it feels good to move forward and hope for the best. For many, for the world, 2015 had been a very rough year. People being shot for drawing pictures some found offensive, people being shot for no good reason. Rivers of hate speech flowing from every corner of the earth, from the pulpits, the media, the high level politicians. Cries of persecution from the persecutors, The only right that seems to be protected is the right to hate, to denigrate to second class citizen any who don’t share the beliefs of the bullies.
One would think that by this time we had figured out how to learn from history, but it appears to not be the case. We point fingers at one group, yet fail to see those same behaviors in ourselves. Too blinded by the hate frenzy to see the very human face of the person we will throw under the bus. Adding fuel to the already blazing inferno, we are in an electronic propaganda war where we are fed snippets that are either partial truths or outright lies.
And this, I believe, is the biggest part of the problem. We no longer connect. We no longer touch. We are too busy looking at our computers, our TV screens, our tablets to see the humans before us, around us, that are us. We do almost everything from an electronic device. We get our news from Facebook and Twitter and even the news outlets have gone to a captioned image format. And, as is the case and purpose of headlines, we are fed bites to incite, inflame, stir.
That has always been the case with the news and many other introductory arenas. What is different now is that it seems that is all that is consumed before moving on. There used to be discussions, in the coffee houses, at dinner, at breakfast, at parties and gatherings. The story was read beyond the headline, the person was questioned beyond the introduction. Conversation was a vital ingredient. Understanding the issue was a vital ingredient. The headline was simply to get your attention. You were supposed to read further, to seek understanding, knowledge, insight.
I miss long conversations with friends around a table. I miss long conversations on the phone with a dear friend. As dated as it makes me, I miss a written correspondence from a friend. And I miss the e-mail lists where there were discussions on issues, happenings,
People say it is just a sign of the changes of the times. However, not all changes are good. And though technology is, for the most part, a good thing, even a good thing misused can become a bad thing. We read our smart phones and get our news from twitter, have our emotions jarred by memes on Facebook and get our smiles from kitten videos. If we can’t say it in less than 140 characters, we know no one will trouble themselves to read it. I actually listened to a man at my writing group the other night say that he kept the chapters in his book to only a few pages because publishers say that is the extent of a reader’s attention span. Really??? I sincerely hope that is not true.
There have been a number of recent articles on what we have lost with the loss of letter writing.
I found this in the Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/culture/charlottehigginsblog/2012/oct/23/lost-art-letter-writing)
“A good handwritten letter is a creative act, and not just because it is a visual and tactile pleasure. It is a deliberate act of exposure, a form of vulnerability, because handwriting opens a window on the soul in a way that cyber communication can never do. You savor their arrival and later take care to place them in a box for safe keeping.These things, letters we can hold and read over and over again, conversations that inspire, delight, fuel us.”
Words are the keys to our hearts. They are the cement that bonds people together as they speak and learn and share and understand. They are a stew pot whose ingredients alone are a bland or harsh side dish, but when combined, form a sustaining meal that will nourish the soul.
You look at the political arena, the News Media, the Pulpit and from their words believe that we are all galaxies apart. Aliens living in a segregated landscape that is separated by a vast divide, impossible to cross. And because we don’t look up from that picture, we buy into it. We turn from people whose beliefs differ from ours, whose political stand differ from ours. The reality is that in most cases, if we can step away from those issues that divide and simply extend our hand in friendship, sit down and have a cup of coffee, share stories, and find common ground, we may find in most cases, we aren’t so different. We may find that we have missed that simple connection of laughing with a new friend. And blur that edge that a few have set between us to divide us. It is far more difficult (though not impossible) to hate someone you know than it is to hate a stranger.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. But, I can hope for a New Year’s solution. That we add a bit of the old back into the new. That along with our smart phones and Facebooks and electronic gizmos, that we have a long phone call, take a walk in the woods, catch up with old friends, meet some new ones, some of whom don’t share our beliefs. Find a divide and cross it. Our real country motto is, Out of many, one. We destroy hate when we blur the lines. We blur the lines when we reach out to each other and touch. When we touch, the divide goes away and those that would teach hate lose their power.
I knew this book was going to be a difficult read when I picked it up. The surprising thing was that I picked it up at the small local library. Makes me wonder if they knew who Hitch was before adding it to their shelves. Maybe they did and that would seriously elevate them in my opinion.
The title, “Mortality”, pretty much tells you what the book is about. And given that it is written by Hitchens will tell anyone who knows anything about him that he handled this as he handled everything else he wrote or spoke about. With brutal honesty.
Through the short book, Hitchens takes us on the journey that was to be the rest of his life, the tests, the radiation, the sickness, the effects and tolls it takes on his body. Christopher Hitchens was diagnose with Esophageal cancer in 2010. To one of the most erudite speakers of modern times, I can’t imagine a worse place he could have been inflicted.
The book is hearbreaking in its honesty, as Hitchen’s not only recounts ancedotes from office visits, the treatements, the doctors, caregivers. He also shares the vileness that people can reach even when a person is down by sharing some of the hate mail he received, the betrayals of people baiting his misfortune to fuel their agenda, i.e. ending an interview with comments about just rewards from God,
Though I am not surprised, I am grateful to Hitchens for writing such a painfully honest book about dying, about the fraility of the human body and the very human scream that “I wasn’t finished yet!”
We lost a wordsmith of the highest degree when we lost Hitchens and a debater that knew few, if any rivals. And we lost a man who cared very deeply about his fellow human beings, his world and leaving it a better place than when he entered.
We haven’t heard the last from him though. He left many writings that haven’t been published. And his wife’s afterward tells you that she will begin to work on giving us all he wanted to share with the world.
Mortality is a brilliant book that will inflame you, touch you, bring a tear to your eye and a fire in your heart. Whether you believe, or don’t believe, as Christoper did, and even more if you do not, it will give you a glimpse into the true humanity of the man many know simply as “Hitch.”
Sometimes ridiculous just hits levels that cause you to give yourself whiplash from how sharply you jerk your head to the side in disbelief. The latest such case is the one about the new Starbucks Holiday cup. And it is being condemned by the religious community at large all the way up to presidential candidates as the latest assault on the “War on Christmas”. And what is so very shocking about this inflammatory cup, one may ask. Its simply red with the Starbucks logo on it in green. Well, what else is there that is causing such a controversy? Nothing. Yes, but what is the source of the reason for the controversy? NOTHING. Literally, NOTHING.
It seems if you choose to opt out of choosing sides, of trying to decide what images will or won’t inflame someone, or some group out there, and go with a plain, undecorated (aside from the company logo) red cup, you have declared War on Christmas and a War on Christianity.
Originally, I was just going to laugh this whole thing off. However after giving it some thought, I realized that this has presented probably the most glaring example of how ridiculous this whole accusation has become. And reading some of the comments people left on the news item clearly shows that I was not the only one that found it placed very firmly beyond the extreme line.
The truth is that it seems almost like the opposite of the Draw Mohammed thing. Draw any depiction of him in any form and you can be put to death. Well, if you fail to offer the appropriate supplications to the glitter god of Christianity, you will be picketed, persecuted, publicly shamed. (Though they all still seem to be using the internet, google and all those other very convenient tools created by the apostates and heretics)
Granted, we have not yet progressed to the point of putting people to death for their beliefs, though the talk of such things gets louder and from a greater number of pulpits. I suppose time will tell on this.
Now, I can’t profess to know what the execs at Starbucks were thinking when they came out with the plain red cup. If I was to follow my logic, it would be that they chose this as a way of avoiding the firestorm that any symbol/s they might choose to grace their cups with. And I have to imagine that they were probably found sitting around that same conference table after the shitstorm began scratching their heads and saying, “How they hell did they get to War on Christmas from a plain red cup?”
Note to Christians. Failure to bow before your “god” is NOT a war on your holiday or your religion. It is simply a person choosing not to subscribe to your belief. Acknowledgement that there are many that do not share your belief and honoring them with a blank slate to create their own is NOT a war on “your” tradition. They gave you a blank cup. You can draw anything on it that you want. Or nothing. Your religious beliefs are not being restricted and persecuted because you cannot force the entire country to bend to them.
This whole thing would be funnier than hell if it wasn’t so common and being pushed at such high levels. We even have presidential candidates that have said if they are elected, Everyone will say “Merry Christmas”. I wish people would really sit down and let that sink in for a bit. EVERYONE will say “Merry Christmas”. How different is this than the countries that control and prosecute non-Muslims? Maybe we aren’t throwing them in jail or executing them. Or at least not yet. It is only a difference by degree, and that degree is becoming closer and closer all the time. That is a truly scary notion.
This season doesn’t just belong to one religion, one belief. It belongs to almost all beliefs. The blank slate of the red cup at Starbucks gives everyone the canvas to celebrate what it means to them. I don’t know if that is what their intent is. Or if it was a stepping back. Or if it was just plain cheaper. But, I do not believe it was a war on the season. Its just a red and green cup for the season that will hold a hot beverage to warm you on a cold day. Granted, its an overpriced hot beverage. But, its simply a hot cup. That’s red with a green logo. There are far greater things in this world that need our energies. A red cup does not.
And to end, just a little sampling of some of the celebrations for the closing of the year.
Yes, we really do seem to be trying to find our way back to the “Good Ole Days”. Or maybe things just really haven’t changed as much as many of us thought that they had.
Subject of this piece has to do with the Cosby story. American icon of feel good family life. We all grew up with him, we all laughed with him. We all thought he was the embodiment of good common sense and the kind of man you could always feel safe around. And so when the first story surfaced accusing him, the initial reaction was, oh no! Not Bill Cosby! And I must admit that I need to hang my head a bit in shame on it as well. I questioned the legitimacy of it. I wondered if it was just someone trying to make some money or get her 15 minutes of fame. I watched her on some news station and didn’t think she looked or sounded believable. For her, to her, I am sorry. For all of the victims, I am sorry.
And no, I am not going to state that Cosby is absolutely guilty. For one, it is not my place to do so. That should be up to the courts, the victims. I am sure there is this chance that he could be innocent. Though I think that the chance is about equal to Christopher Hitchens being a closeted Christian. However, I don’t have all the evidence. But, I have enough to convince my mind. And the latest released transcripts of the previous accusations.
At any rate, I leave to the courts to take that one on. My grievance is at the media handling of this whole thing. And yes, I understand in the beginning, they can claim misgivings and uncertainty at the claims. I can even grant that they must use the words accused of, reported, etc. What I cannot accept is the fact that not one of them that I have seen has had the guts to actually spit out that “R” word.