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Posts Tagged ‘Feminism’

The Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, apologized for his perceived behavior on Wednesday with a few of his aides. But once bitten, I’m finding it hard to give up on him.

I would ask Great Grandma Ada almost every day, “Did you watch President Cuomo?” With our past-serial-predator Mr T’s disastrous mismanagement of the coronavirus, we liked to pretend that Cuomo was our real president as he faithfully kept New Yorkers up-to-date through one of the biggest public health pandemics in the century. He took on epic proportions, he was handsome and down to earth. I knew very little about his personal life, but then we found out he was single, eureka! Ever the marriage counselor Ada and I had fun fantasizing about the next Mrs Cuomo.

So the feminist in me wants to believe the young women who have lodged sexual harassment allegations against the Governor. But I can’t help feeling like he’s been misunderstood.

First of all, he’s Italian. Bob tells me it’s similar to being Jewish – big extended families, lots of hugging and food all the time. So we have a cultural difference. Would I be happy if an older guy cupped my face and asked for a kiss? That would depend… we all know that guy who could hug just a little too tight and too long. Was this my boss, or my uncle or a friend of Ada’s perhaps? But asking for a kiss in a public place like a wedding does not seem malicious at all. I might turn my cheek for a kiss, or slip right by the face and offer a hug instead. If I felt repelled or cajoled, I’d push him away with a smart remark.

That cupped face picture at the wedding is reminiscent of the 11 year old picture of Al Franken on his comedy USO tour almost cupping (ie not actually touching) a woman’s breasts in her flak jacket for a laugh as she was sleeping. He was caught in the midst of the #MeToo movement and forcibly asked to resign in order to fill his Democratic seat in the Senate. There was NO due process and NO ethics investigation. Don’t forget, his previous job was Comedian! A Progressive pillar was sacrificed, to what end? This is part of his farewell speech to the Senate.

“I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day,” he said, soon after a former Democratic Senate aide accused him of trying to kiss her after his radio show in 2006. “I know there has been a very different picture of me painted over the last few weeks, but I know who I really am.”

https://www.vox.com/2018/5/21/17352230/al-franken-accusations-resignation-democrats-leann-tweeden-kirsten-gillibrand

Maybe seeing is NOT believing. We are being asked to believe what Cuomo’s intentions were… If there’s one piece of Ada’s marriage advice I’ve clung to over the years, it’s that a man doesn’t really know what you’re thinking unless you tell him! We may want him to intuit that we really need a neck rub, but if we don’t actually say this it won’t happen magically. In fact, the clinical term for this is magical thinking. So in the same respect, did Cuomo’s aide just think he wanted a relationship? And is it a crime?

Think back to Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas. I was dumbstruck by that investigation; a judge had been talking about porn and asking his clerk for dates constantly. She didn’t need to intuit what he wanted, he was constantly telling her exactly what he wanted sexually. If only Hill, in 1991, had a smart phone in her pocket to record his harassment. That man is now a judge on the Supreme Court. I had debilitating deja vu when the Kavanaugh committee hearings started. And this is where the trouble lies, at the intersection of youth and gender with political power. It’s the age vs time difference.

Thirty years ago things were different. There was no worldwide pandemic for one, and the Bride was twelve years old. She was learning about HIV in health class, and I was trying to empower her fierce, feminist side. She actually wrote a letter to then Senator Biden, asking him to run for President! Biden has a reputation for being “handsy” himself, but in a good way. Let’s not go overboard with our #MeToo sensitivity. We wanted empathy and compassion back in the White House, and we’ve got it. Should we pillory a highly competent, progressive Governor who thought a little flirting with a staffer was innocent? After all, over the years I’ve known a few married couples with big age differences, one friend married her law professor. The NY Governor was lonely, and if these women felt threatened, they should have told him to knock it off. Then go to HR if it continued.

After all, where else would a guy with a pandemic on his plate even meet a woman in lockdown? Let’s not let the GOP or the Pro-T Patriot Party incite another culture war to their advantage. Let the process play out, take a rest.

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We’ve been doing a bit of grandpuppy sitting lately. And today I forgot we had a scheduled Pilates class when the Bride’s Frenchie, Watson, showed up for some stretching too. He’s learning his polite dog skills and usually scratches the door for a potty break. Poor Ms Bean has learned to give up her dog bed and reluctantly give in to playtime. But she still doesn’t understand why Watson gets to eat lunch and she doesn’t!

I only had to get up twice to let the dogs out, so I missed out on our “stomach series.” And my tummy thanks them. Then the feminist in me was triggered when I read a text about another interloper – only this one wore heels and red lipstick. A Tweet wondered why White feminist writers were not calling out the latest Republican NRA devotee to Congress.

Elected this Fall, the freshman House member from Georgia is a known QAnon conspiracy theorist, and full blown pro-Trump insurrectionist. Marjorie Taylor Greene doesn’t wear face paint or Viking furs, she strolls through the Capitol with impunity carrying her concealed weapon around the metal detectors. She has verbally assaulted her colleague, Democrat Cori Bush, causing Bush (who is Black btw) to move her office further away from Greene in the interest of her staff’s safety. What other disrespectful and incendiary things can one congresswoman do?

“Ms. Greene suggested in 2018 that a devastating wildfire that ravaged California was started by “a laser” beamed from space and controlled by a prominent Jewish banking family with connections to powerful Democrats. She endorsed executing Democratic lawmakers, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She served as a prolific writer for a now-defunct conspiracy blog called “American Truth Seekers,” writing posts with headlines including “MUST READ — Democratic Party Involved With Child Sex, Satanism, and The Occult.” And she argued that the 2018 midterm elections — in which the first two Muslim women were elected to the House — were part of “an Islamic invasion of our government.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/29/us/politics/marjorie-taylor-greene-republicans.html

Imagine my surprise on Holocaust Remembrance Day to see “Jewish space laser” trending on Twitter.

But the feminist in me wasn’t surprised. Sarah Palin wrote the playbook for conservative Christian women running for office. The largely male, White Republican party thought oh great, we need the new blood, we need women, let’s just see how far they can go. The old GOP didn’t count on the public electing delusional and destructive Breakers. And yet, here we are. Let’s not forget another gun-toting-loving woman Rep from Colorado, Lauren Boebert.

Boebert also vowed to carry her Glock all around the US Capitol and in the streets of Washington, DC. So far she hasn’t assaulted other members of Congress or said that the murder of schoolchildren in Parkland was a hoax.

Sometimes you can think something abnormal is a “one off,” but after January 6th, we would be deluding ourselves to think the enemy is not already within the gates of power; and Marjorie Taylor Greene is flush with power. Does it make it better if it’s women flaunting the rules, brandishing guns, instead of men?

“… (Greene) issued what amounted to a threat to top Republicans who might be contemplating punishing her, warning that they would pay steep consequences.

“’If Republicans cower to the mob, and let the Democrats and the fake news media take me out,’” Ms. Greene said, “’they’re opening the door to come after every single Republican until there’s none left.’”

Greene’s choice of words here is instructive – letting fake news “take me out,” sounds ominous enough, and then her facile reference to a Holocaust prayer by Pastor Martin Niemoller:

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

From space lasers to paranoid thinking about Democrats opening every door to punish Republicans who only want to overturn an election. Seditionists. Using anti-Semitic tropes while looking totally rational is a skill set we’ve seen before.

If Republicans can’t clean their own house, well maybe they need to watch Watson as we crate train him? Amirite Ms Bean?

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Crybabies

Taking care of babies is my jam. Human babies, animal babies and puppies in particular. I love it when the Love Bug’s four month old French Bulldog starts to wind down, big eyes drooping and legs wobbling. He fights naps so hard! But once you hear that distinctive snore – part purr, part outboard motor – you can cuddle him up, no problem. And later, because Bob and I are just the occasional granddog sitters, we get to give him back.

Human babies, otoh, take a bit more work. Bob always had a way to soothe our crying babies. With the baby Bride, he would bundle her in the car seat for a ride and turn on Beethoven. The Baby Rocker required a different approach, Bob would blast Led Zepplin!

“Don’t be a crybaby” is buried deep in my amygdala. It must be a primal holdover, after all if you’re fleeing a predator you don’t want a baby to signal your whereabouts. The tribe depended on your ability to keep your baby healthy and happy! There is no sound more distressing to me than a crying baby; unless it’s a whining, crying adult.

I just finished my morning coffee with an article in the Washington Post titled “Trumpist masculinity reaches its high water mark with the riot,” by Monica Hesse. It caught my eye because its subject was the Nashville bartender who was recently arrested for jumping over a balustrade like a ninja with zip ties, aka the Zip Tie Guy. He’s a handsome, white, ex-honky tonk employee, a 30 year old who was seen in previous footage with his mother! They were caught leaving their hotel with coffee last Wednesday, before storming the Capitol that afternoon.

“A whole taxonomy of Trumpist right-wing manhood could be developed from the Internet investigations, wanted posters and arrest affidavits now trickling out in the wake of last week’s riot at the Capitol. En masse, the photos show a conglomeration of weird beards, ammo and camo, and a very specific brand of looks-like-somebody-got-a-Bass-Pro-gift-card-for-Christmas raging White masculinity.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/capitol-riot-zip-tie-guy-men-trump-masculinity/2021/01/12/486a516e-5447-11eb-a08b-f1381ef3d207_story.html

It seems the Cville khakis and white shirts have been replaced by strange costumes. Between Viking chic and lumberjack plaid, toxic masculinity was on full display. Like any good feminist, I taught my son that it’s alright to cry, even though every other cultural interaction he ever had told him the opposite. And likewise, I told my daughter NOT to cry in public. Not very gender neutral, I know.

But the GOP has become a party of crybabies.

When Mr T told his followers last week not to show “weakness” it hit me. He was a high school cadet playing dress-up at a military academy before the Vietnam War. Mr T developed “bone spurs” then and today he watches TV or plays golf; never getting his hands dirty. What we are witnessing this morning is incredulous. Enraged Republican legislators bemoaning the installation of metal detectors at the Capitol. Why should they have their bags searched and not be able to carry their sidearm into chambers? The audacity of Congress to want to protect legislators of both parties!

And why should they be fined for refusing to wear masks while hunkered down during the insurrection last week? Isn’t it their God-given, natural right to infect anybody they so please?

The sheer cloying white selfishness, entitlement, and privilege is appalling.

And they called us snowflakes! But hark! A second impeachment is about to happen, just as we are being told that these home-grown terrorists are planning another seditious attempt at insurrection. Closing down their absurd conspiracy websites and banning Mr T from his social platforms is just the first step. Weeding white supremacists out of the police and military is essential. In just one week we shall have a new President; a Scranton guy who has the capacity for empathy and compassion.

I just hope Biden has the determination of a bulldog!

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“The fact still remains, I am not going to apologize for something I didn’t say.”

Okay, Lying about what you said is never a good way to start an apology. Tea Party member, veterinarian and righteously dishonest Republican from (where else) FLORIDA, Ted Yoho, has given us all a lesson on the non-apology apology. Unfortunately for him, he accosted AOC on the steps of Congress in front of a reporter.

Generalizing, or not saying the name of the person you offended, is cowardly. “I’m sorry if my words offended someone?!?!” Just like turning away from the person you are calling a “fucking bitch,” but saying it just loud enough for her to hear it.

Contingency – Don’t make your apology contingent by using a conjunction. Slightly different from the last non-apology because at least it is directed towards someone, but just as heinous. “I’m sorry IF my words offended you”

Deflecting, don’t even try to apply a reason for your hateful speech, our couch it with your better angel. Don’t couple an apology with something else, like your “passion.” That’s the old “I beat her because I love her so much.”

Making up an excuse. Offering an excuse is just plain pathetic. Never offer an excuse for your bad behavior: “I was having a bad day” or “I drank too much,” or especially, “You made me do it!” Children make up excuses for their bad behavior.

No quid pro quo – Hmm, where have we heard that before? This implies that the person you’ve just insulted or accosted, in some way deserved it. Well you were yelling at me! You think I’m deplorable, so I can call you whatever I want. Pretty sure Yoho can’t read minds though.

Don’t make your apology a bid for sympathy – so what if you have a mother, most of us do! OH, wait you’re a Christian? That’s great! I was taught to turn the other cheek in Catholic school, what kind of Tea Bag Christian are you?

Here is this morning’s view from my desk. I’d wager a bet that most women have heard some or all of the above during our lifetimes. Don’t forget to vote by mail if you can!

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I’m beginning to feel my age. Texting has changed our language, no longer can we write a complete sentence, we can barely complete a word. That baby isn’t adorable, he’s “adorb!” But what trips me up from time to time is the abundance of new acronyms! OTOH = on the other hand; IDK = I don’t know; YOLO = you only live once; WTF = what the ….heck?” It’s almost as if young people are creating their own cryptograms as a get-around for our generation.

Recently, I had to look up one of these – WFH! Short for Working from home,” a very popular post these days! It is usually accompanied by a smiley face emoji with a wink. I immediately laughed at this particular acronym because as a woman of a certain age, I’ve always worked from home. Even when I was driving to a job as a pre-school teacher, I would come home to cooking, cleaning and the usual things it takes to run a household.

When I settled into writing for a newspaper, I always wrote in a corner of my dining room. When I was done, I’d email my copy in and walk into the kitchen and start dinner. Even Great Grandma Ada had her counseling office right next to her kitchen!

But today, our generation has raised some strong, post-feminist women who believe in an EQUAL partnership with their spouse. They make flow charts about who changes the sheets and does the laundry, who cooks and who cleans up the kitchen, who makes the list and shops. And all the quiet work of scheduling doctor’s appointments for the kids, or tracking their currently non-existent playdates and sports events.

In Nashville today, we have nearly 5,000 confirmed cases of Covid19,  – “IOW” – in other words, lots and lots of people are WFH.

Working from home means we see cats crawling across keyboards, dogs still bark at the mailman, one guy accidentally picks up his knee and we get to see his boxer shorts, we hear babies crying! During our virtual will planning session with our lawyer, her baby was inconsolable and I wondered, “Where’s your husband?”

So if you were wondering how the division of home labor stacks up, gender-wise, during our Corona Crisis, I’ve got just the podcast for you! NPR’s Terri Gross interviewed the author of “Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time,” Brigid Schulte. She tells us that even today, women, enlightened, smart, woke women are bearing the brunt of the housework. https://www.npr.org/2020/05/21/860091230/pandemic-makes-evident-grotesque-gender-inequality-in-household-work

“We’ve got this grand mythology (breadwinner vs homemaker model) that that’s really what a family should be,” she says. “We still think that one person should go out to work and be responsible for all of the work and earning and supporting the family. … And there should be … somebody always available at home to do the care and carework.”

But Schulte says that families aren’t monolithic and shouldn’t be treated as such. She says the pandemic has created an opportunity to start a dialogue about the distribution of household tasks.”

Schulte says that she had been carrying alot of radioactive anger around, feeling overwhelmed in her marriage. But she brought up the Notorious RBG, who once had a call from school to pick up her child, and she told the school secretary to call her husband, it was his turn! She said to treat your marriage and family almost like a business, you wouldn’t want your business to fail, right?

I saw a funny YouTube of a woman pleading to God NOT to make her teach math. I remember when the Bride first started homeschooling, I told her her husband is a natural teacher. In higher education it’s called being an “academic.” In fact, he gets awards for his research and teaching skills. Harmony prevailed when they figured out he could do some home-schooling when he wasn’t in the hospital, and she continues to enjoy cooking and baking bread. Sourdough bread.

When she’s not saving lives in her ER. Or teaching a Yoga Zoom class.

I have a feeling since our pandemic quarantine, lots of men around the world are waking up to the tireless domestic work it takes to run a household. The patience it takes to teach and nurture a child. Our L’il Pumpkin learned how to ride a two-wheeler during our lockdown. The Love Bug built a diorama of a fox for her last day of Zoom class.

Now’s the time to have that critical conversation with your loved one. Don’t keep picking up their socks and putting them in the hamper. Don’t hold grudges. If you’re both WFH, pick a day to do housework – Bob always vacuums, I always cook. He weeds the garden and has started doing the laundry, I do the bathrooms. We both sew masks. Don’t let underlying resentment eat away at your marriage.

OTOH we’ve started doing Pilates together, two mats on the floor and a Zoom class every Tuesday and Saturday. And it’s a wonderful thing.

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A “ride or die” friend is someone you would pledge your undying loyalty to until the bitter end. Like Thelma and Louise, you’d go over a cliff with them if that’s what it takes. From the Urban Dictionary:

“Ride or Die was originally a biker term meaning if you couldn’t ride you’d rather die. It has now changed to mean anyone (wife, boyfriend, best friend), that you will “ride” ANY problems out with them or “die” trying. The “ride” doesn’t always have to be a negative either. “

This is the rubric our president has been using lately in appointing cabinet members.

While all eyes were focusing on Nevada, and the mainstream media is still trying to figure out Bernie Sanders, our Dictator-in-Chief has unleashed his vindictive wrath on anyone who appears to have not pledged their loyalty to him. The Senate gave him a pass and he is NOT chastened; in fact, Mr T loves firing people so much – staffers he deems Never Trumpers, or competent people who tell him the truth like acting Intelligence Director Joe Maguire, or anyone who so much as looks at him fish-eyed – that he has supposedly compiled a Hit List!

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE???

I myself never made a Hit List, but some kids do this kind of thing in middle school. They are usually kids who have been bullied or marginalized in some way. In the worst case scenarios, their parents own guns. Also, dictators make lists of their enemies.

When I woke up to hear that Mr T said, in India, that two women of the SCOTUS, the Notorious RBG and Sonia Sotomayor, should recuse themselves from future cases that may involve HIM, I nearly died. And just like any good toddler, or psychopath, he turned the tables, blaming Sotomayor for her statements about government interference. Please picture Trump, or any late night comedian, saying this in their most whiny, pitiful voice:

“I just thought it was so inappropriate, such a terrible statement for a Supreme Court justice,” he (Trump) said. “She’s trying to shame people with perhaps a different view into voting her way, and that’s so inappropriate . . . I’ve seen papers on it — people cannot believe that she said it.”  

I cannot believe that he said THAT! Also, I can’t actually believe anything he says. There is that.

I remember when Rumson Boro Councillors would get up and walk out of a meeting because they held some stock in a company that was being discussed, or maybe they had a son who was working for that company, they would rightly RECUSE themselves. Not because they held a different point of view. Not because they belonged to a different political party…

Somehow we’ve been trying to normalize Trump’s behavior, but we must stop. He is not only trying to surround himself with a ride or die White House of blind loyalists, he’s got the wife of one SCOTUS actively helping him with his list of disloyal staffers… that bears repeating, Justice Clarence Thomas’ lobbyist wife:

“These lists, created by a network of conservative activists called Groundswell that include Republican Senate staffer Barbara Ledeen and Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, have made their way to Trump and shaped his views re: who he can trust and who should be canned. For instance, a memo on Liu, reportedly reviewed by Trump shortly before her nomination was withdrawn, laid out 14 reasons why she was unfit for the Treasury job Steven Mnuchin had selected her for and included the fact that she: hadn’t acted on criminal referrals of some of Brett Kavanaugh’s accusers…”  https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/02/donald-trump-government-hit-list

Yesterday I had to look up “Rape in the 3rd Degree.” https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/PEN/130.25

Is our justice system blind? When the wife of a sexual harasser (remember Anita Hill), is helping the man who’s been accused of sexual abuse or misconduct or RAPE by at least 25 women, (I’m talking about Trump not Harvey Weinstein) well maybe our country is suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. Here’s a LIST for you: https://www.businessinsider.com/women-accused-trump-sexual-misconduct-list-2017-12

Our country is at a tipping point. If we don’t #VoteBlueNoMatterWho we’ll be the ones going off that cliff. We’ll be playing a dulcimer on the deck of the Titanic.

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I’m all for second chances. You need to warmup your arm before you serve a tennis ball. Or try making that cake again when the first one won’t come out of the pan. But we need to have a talk with Ohio; a fertilized egg that has jumped the gun and implanted itself in a fallopian tube is a done deal. It can kill its host and cause all sorts of problems. So let’s be perfectly clear, there is NO such procedure known to medicine as “re-implanting an ectopic pregnancy.” NONE.

“Ohio lawmakers have introduced legislation that would jail doctors for “abortion murder” unless they reimplant ectopic pregnancies in the uterus. Unfortunately, there no such procedure in medical science. Ectopic pregnancies, where the embryo is implanted in the fallopian tube, can be fatal for mothers. Legislators have been told in the past that this fantasy operation cannot be done. Ohio obstetrician and gynecologist Dr David Hackney wrote on Twitter: “I don’t believe I’m typing this again but, that’s impossible. We’ll all be going to jail.” The bill proposes punishing women and girls as young as 13 with “abortion murder” if they have an abortion, and creates a new law called “aggravated abortion murder” which would be enforced with the death penalty.” https://www.thedailybeast.com/ohio-bill-says-doctors-must-reimplant-ectopic-pregnancy-or-be-jailed-for-abortion-murder?

There have been times when I’ve felt like we’re approaching the Handmaid’s Tale, but seeing this pop up on Twitter made me question if we’re not already there – living in a dystopian future where extreme religious right legislation has codified a woman’s body.

Once legislators decide a fertilized egg is a “Person” – which it is NOT btw – well, then the government gets to decide your future. You’re a 16 year old girl and your step father raped you? Too bad, you either go to prison for trying to get on with your life, for wanting a second chance, or you have a baby and give it up for adoption.

Or maybe worse yet, you end up giving the baby to your mom and step dad to raise. Of course today, you could always keep the baby and live with a friend or relative, finish high school, get a job…. But let’s not forget our government cares less about child care for working families and single moms than it does about a cluster of cells.

Not everyone has an Aunt Bee child care story like Elizabeth Warren, and she was a law professor with a husband at the time.

The language politicians use around women is prescient, so listen very carefully. Mr T talks about women in a very gendered, “marked” way. He calls Nancy Pelosi “nervous Nancy” and added to his crude comments on a bus with Billy Bush, he specifically calls out their sex, usually followed by saying how much he “loves” women, implying they need his protection.

“Justifying his decision to oust her (Marie Yavanovitch), the president told Fox & Friends last Friday he heard “bad things” about “the ambassador, the woman… This was not an angel, this woman, okay? And there were a lot of things that she did that I didn’t like.”

Mr Trump added that his staff felt they had to be kind because “she’s a woman – we have to be nice.” Professor Marianne LaFrance, a psychologist at Yale University, says this remark is a prime example of gendered language.

“That referencing says she’s not an individual, she’s not a professional, she’s first and foremost a woman,” Prof LaFrance says.” https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50563106

You have to be “nice” because she’s a woman? Mr T wasn’t happy with Ms Yavanovitch because she was actually doing her job for the American people, fighting corruption in Ukraine, making Rudy’s shady political dealing difficult. That portrait thing was just another lie.

Stop calling our candidates a “woman politician,” do we call men that “man politician?” Stop making up medical procedures for women that do not exist.                                     Stop calling for “personhood bills.” Stop the nonsense.

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Today is election day! Here’s something everyone can agree should happen, whether you’re red, blue or purple – it’s time to pass the EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT!

Wouldn’t it be lovely if the state that brought us so many founding fathers/presidents, the state who’s motto is “Virginia is for Lovers,” stood up for all of us and passed this long-suffering amendment to the Constitution? We only need ONE MORE STATE to ratify the ERA! Why do we still need this you may ask:

“Because women don’t currently have equal protection under the United States Constitution. By some estimates, 80 percent of Americans mistakenly believe that women and men are guaranteed equal rights, but the only right the Constitution explicitly extends to both men and women is the right to vote.

The E.R.A., a proposed amendment to the Constitution, would guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex. It would also require states to intervene in cases of gender violence, such as domestic violence and sexual harassment; it would guard against pregnancy and motherhood discrimination; and it would federally guarantee equal pay.”

nytimes.com/2019/02/22/us/equal-rights-amendment-what-is-it.html

What? We know domestic abuse is a contributing factor in our country’s gun violence epidemic. Abusers could not escape over state lines. This is also why some work places may only grant very limited “Maternity” leave, and not “Family” leave. This why women, for the most part, make 80 cents to a man’s dollar. And I’ve already reported the case of Trans-women discrimination being considered by SCOTUS right now! https://www.businessinsider.com/gender-wage-pay-gap-charts-2017-3

Even though over half a century ago women were granted the Equal Pay Act, we are far from fulfilling that goal. At least we can still vote thanks to our Suffragette ancestors 100 years ago, when Tennessee was the last state to ratify that amendment, and we’re still bragging about it today!

So, what do you say Virginia? Earn a bit of bragging rights too. The rest of the South looks up to you, and you know it’s the right and proper thing to do! Here is the Bride in the Blue Ridge with her Flower Girl V, who was just visiting us yesterday!

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In the next few days, two famous women will be released from US prisons. One is a celebrity we all know and love for her acting chops, who did the right thing. Felicity Huffman was only trying to leverage her daughter’s chances at getting into a good college, and was the first parent to plead guilty in a bizarre scheme of “pay to play” in order to enhance SAT scores. It would seem Huffman has a conscience and admitted the error of her ways. The other woman, Maria Butina, is a Russian asset.

Without much fanfare, Butina will find herself in a Miami deportment center this weekend en route to Moscow.

According to the FBI, in 2015 Butina emailed a US Republican lobbyist Paul Erickson, who she reportedly dated and lived with, a project proposal called “diplomacy”. It centred around using NRA links to influence the US Republican Party’s foreign policy and their traditionally hostile stance toward Russia.”  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50180445

And we all thought Russia was just searching for Hillary’s emails and manipulating Facebook ads to influence the 2016 election. Butina is like a modern day Mata Hari – only instead of facing a firing squad for her role as a double agent during the First World War, Butina was sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to just ONE count of conspiracy. Her handler was reportedly Alexander Torshin – “…an influential former member of the Russian senate and deputy chairman of the Russian Central Bank.”

One might think they were laundering money through the NRA.

Butina grew up in Siberia and loved playing with guns. Her chief concern was herself however, telling the court she regrets “…ruining my own life.” When she steps off a plane in Russia I wonder what will happen to her? Will she be a returning hero, or will she be sent back to Siberia?

I heard Martha Stewart said that Huffman looked “frumpy” in her prison garb. That immediately ticked me off, I mean really? Martha, Martha, Martha! I would think that once you’ve done time in a women’s prison you’d have a smidgen of empathy for other celebrities suffering the same fate. After all, there are no hair and make-up experts tending to you, no aestheticians or mani-pedis happening behind those walls. I will never again buy her “Living” magazine, no matter how much I think I could craft a beautiful table setting.

So a Russian operative can plot to takeover our democracy, and she gets 18 months in prison and then is deported. A Hollywood star can swindle and bribe her daughter’s way into college, and she gets released after 11 days in prison (out of a 14 day sentence). And then there’s the old news –  a lifestyle “expert” and magazine mogul got caught lying to investigators in an insider trading scandal and she served 5 months in prison followed by 5 months confined to her Connecticut estate.

Then Martha sold her empire for 355 Million US dollars in 2015 telling the media a coverup is so much worse than the original crime. Now for some odd reason she’s associated with Snoop Dog. I hope he will school her about criticizing other female felons while they are whipping up a batch of brownies. Their friendship is the one shining light in this reality show world.

We were recently toasting marshmallows for our own private HGTV episode.

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“In my desperation to be a good mother I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot.” Felicity Huffman

I know, I know. GM is out on strike and we just might start a new war with Iran, but I’m still obsessing over Felicity Huffman’s college admission scandal.

Every single parent can relate to this; single moms I met in the Jersey City projects, where I was teaching Head Start ages ago, wanted the best education for their children. Education is supposed to lift you out of poverty.

But those young moms could not pay to endow a chair (the legal equivalent of a bribe) at an elite school. Today they live with luck; will an arbitrary lottery number mean their child gets to go to a charter school? And then, if they make the grades and stay out of trouble, will they even be able to afford a state college without sinking themselves into debt?

And what about suburban desperate housewives? Every single one of us knows of someone, or maybe IS that someone, who twisted the rules a little for their child. I knew moms who had their sons diagnosed with ADHD just so they could have their SAT time lengthened. I heard about moms who didn’t live in our tony district, so they submitted the grandmother’s address. I knew moms who hired college counselors just because everyone else was doing it!

We would pay for SAT prep courses and then pray for the best. Of course most of that was a “legal” attempt at gaming the system. The difference being, in suburban school districts like Rumson-Fair Haven, parents had the money to grease the wheels of the college admission process. In Jersey City, parents could barely survive on food stamps. What does this say about a public school system that is funded with property taxes? What does this say about our country?

WE ARE ALL GUILTY of wanting the very best education for our children! But comparing Felicity Huffman’s sentence of a $30,000 fine, 2 weeks in jail and parole to Tanya McDowell’s 5 year sentence for falsifying her address to get her son into a better school district and taking a plea deal on drug charges is misleading. Sure one mom is white with an infinity pool and one mom is brown living in a homeless shelter, but both of them were guilty and desperate to give their child a “fair” shot at success.

McDowell served 3 years of her sentence and said she would do it again if she had the chance because her son started Kindergarten in his grandmother’s district, and he is now on the Honor Roll.  https://www.oxygen.com/crime-time/tanya-mcdowell-homeless-mom-stealing-education-jail-felicity-huffman-college-scandal

Huffman, on the other hand, may have learned her lesson. She seems remorseful and pleaded guilty. Her daughter will now be identified with this scandal for the rest of her life, whether she actually attends college or not. Bob agrees with John legend, who posted on Twitter that women should NOT go to jail for these non-violent offenses. In a twist of the social media world, men seem to be more feminist and empathic than women who declare themselves feminist!

The questions raised this week about racism and social justice are not new. We are running private-for-profit prisons in order to maintain the illusion that our rule of law is fair. We pay more to incarcerate our citizens than we do for pre-schools and elementary education where more brown boys are labeled “special ed,” or end up suspended for disciplinary problems. Our system is broken, and calling out Felicity Huffman or comparing her with Tanya McDowell misses the point.

Over the summer, I downloaded a first level reader book about owls on my iPad for the Love Bug and caught her reading it to her brother. On her 7th birthday last month I explained the “age of reason” to her, about knowing right from wrong. Her brother starts Kindergarten next year and wants to learn how to play the drums! Our children are modeling our behavior – good, bad and indifferent.

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